Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ounces of Hangover Prevention




I recently found this 1934 ad, above, for Martini & Rossi Vermouth. What captured my attention was the neat little cocktail setup with those frosted cocktail glasses (which, by the way, were available at Bergdorf's). I'm not used to seeing Martinis and Manhattans served in thick, stemless glasses like those in the ad, and I have to say that they're not what I would use when serving cocktails. I can only imagine that the cocktail would become warm if the glass was held for any length of time.

One nice thing about the glasses, though, was that they were the proper size for a cocktail. Back during the 1930s and 40s, cocktail glasses were small and light enough that you could hold the stem using just a few fingers. Not anymore. Cocktail and martini glasses today are enormous, as big as Alfie's head, in fact! And they require a whole hand grip, too. The problem with these large glasses is that they hold too much cocktail. The urge is to fill these big glasses with enough cocktail so as not to appear chintzy. Only problem is that by the time you finish your drink, you've had the equivalent of two cocktails- not a good thing if you're serving drinks before dinner.

Ideally, a cocktail glass should hold between 4.5 and 5 ounces of liquid. While it's worth seeking out vintage cocktail glasses for both their jazzy designs and their economical sizes, there are, fortunately, some new collections that include correctly sized glasses too. William Yeoward's glassware is never super-sized, but that might be because he's British. His new American Bar collection is quite handsome and affordable too. But if you insist on drinking from those monster 12 oz. glasses, fine. Just don't blame me in the morning.






William Yeoward's Greta glassware includes a 5 oz. martini glass.






William Yeoward's Vesta glasses are the appropriate sizes for the beverages they were designed to hold, including martinis and champagne. (These are not, by the way, part of the new American Bar collection.)







C. 1930 Mappin & Webb set of cocktail glasses, available through Foundwell.



20 comments:

  1. This is so interesting as it never occurred to my that we had "super sized" cocktail and wine glasses when everything else on our table got bigger and more plentiful.

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  2. Fascinating post. Doesn't that 30's Martini ad look modern, though?- when you think that the First World War finished only fifteen years or so earlier...

    Agree with you about the sizes of glasses. Harry's Bar (Venice) serves Martinis in tiny frozed frosted tumblers: it's pretty understated. I've started to use small tasting glasses to serve wine in- a reaction to those huge balloon drinking glasses you see everywhere.

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    1. Anonymous11:32 AM

      I like your idea of downsizing wine glasses!
      I suppose you have adopted it for the white wine though. The size of the red wine balloon is required by the red wine itself, for 'breathing'. What do you think?

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    2. Yes, I tend to use the smaller tasting glasses for white wine, sherry even liqueurs- I'm sure you know the ones' I'm talking about. There's something rather pleasing about their shape and size. But don't wine buffs also use these glasses for tasting reds? I've decided that those huge balllon things are really rather vulgar (LOL)- and very 80's -in a bad way. I would love to know where Harry's get their tiny little Martini glasses from. They're made from frosted glass and they keep them in serried rows in their fridge behind the bar. I seem to remember that they use small wine glasses, too. Love Harry's. Great Harry's Bar cookbook you can buy too- highly recommended.

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  3. You are so right about glasses being too big. It is not only cumbersome for guests, and inebriating; it also robs one of the sense of occasion. Smaller glasses allow for refills, and the attendant flourishes of shaker and bottles, the tinkle of glass and silver implements, the renewal of froth for certain drinks; in essence, the theatre of cocktails. On a more mundane level, the host losses the chance to clean the glass or replace it with a fresh one, leaving the room filled with people holding grubby, fingerprinted glasses - the equivalent of holding a party in a bus station...

    Seems a trend - porcelain was going that way too, supersized, making a normal serving look puny. No small wonder people overeat, or are distressed when a virtual serving platter's worth of food is placed before them.

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  4. Everyone had made very good points. And remember too that back during the 1930s and 40s, many people only had a bump before dinner, not drinking wine with their meals. Now, of course, we all drink wine with dinner, so if one has had a super-sized cocktail before dinner, things can turn ugly.

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    1. I really enjoyed your article. And I adore this blog!

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  5. Jennifer excellent post. I do love Yeoward's Vesta line, that tall Martini stem is beautiful.

    2012 Artist Series featuring the gifted Decorative Painter Theresa Cheek

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  6. You have spoken with such wisdom+our large glasses are just too big. Thank you xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  7. I love William Yeoward's designs. Always beautiful and elegant.

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  8. Your article is amazing! Keep up the good job. Congrats!

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  9. I am no good at holding a martini glass - perhaps because of their gargantuan size. I often ask for a martini in a low-ball just to manage- unless its a classic martini in which case I take it in a proper glass a little dirty.

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    1. I love a good dirty Martini! Hope you're doing well in AZ!

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  10. The same thing applies to dinner plates, too! Compare a modern dinner plate to a vintage dinner plate - you'll be shocked at how much larger the are now.

    I don't mind a large wine glass; I buy the big balloon glasses because I use them "all-purpose" sometimes for things like lemonade, tea, water, etc. But those ginormous martini glasses - eek! They're almost big enough to be terrariums!

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  11. I prefer the styling and size of vintage glassware. I recently bought a set of vintage coupes for my husband to drink his champagne because he does not like flutes.

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  12. I gave up cocktails long ago and prefer red wine (if my liver is going to go, at least my heart can go to someone else), but so agree with you about the glasses on steroids. From my husband's great uncle, we inherited 24, yes 24, sherry glasses. They are dainty in comparison to today's world. We use them to pour shots of scotch or bourbon, port or cordials. They are durable for a party. Easy to hold. And if one breaks...other soldiers are they to carry on!

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  13. Thomas3:08 PM

    Funny timing ! I just saw a "Thin Man" movie w/ Wm Powell and Myrna Loy-They do a lot of drinking and I noticed the same thing- from martini glasses to champagne saucers, they were by todays standards,Happy Meal size- Took me forever to find small (less than 11 oz) martinis that weren't as thick as a mason jar-

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  14. I am new to your blog, but I look forward to reading it. I very much enjoyed your talk this morning for the Landmarks Society in Hickory, NC.

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  15. I am continuously amazed, and disappointed, at how large today's martini glasses are. As big as gold fish bowls! I get snockered with just one of them, and barely even remember the second (which I beg for, by the way, against my (lack of) better judgement). One is impressed at how small the original glasses were in the day. So, THAT is how they did a three martini lunch! Reggie

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  16. Love this post and all things 'cocktail'. You make a good point, my DOFs are enormous!

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