The 14 Best Coupe Glasses To Elevate Your Drinks and Cocktails
On June 14, 2017, the French champagne maker Moët & Chandon and Dutch event planner Luuk Broos broke a world record by creating the world's largest champagne tower. They used over 50,000 alluring coupe glasses arranged in 66 rows and standing almost 24 feet in height. Part of a publicity stunt by Spanish P.R. agency Equipo Singular, the Guinness World Record–breaking installation probably didn't consider Marie Antoinette's role in the epic achievement. Here, Nest Casa investigates the provenance of this pretty piece of stemware.
What Is a Coupe Glass?
Part of the family of glasses designed for the utmost enjoyment of alcoholic, grape-based beverages, a coupe glass is a vessel for drinking champagne and other sparkling wines (such as prosecco or cava). It is a shallow-bowl saucer with a wide mouth, quite unlike its counterpart, the flute. The coupe is designed to hold roughly six to eight ounces of liquid. Due to its cup shape, it sits lower than the flute (usually five and a half to six inches tall instead of seven to nine inches).
Both glass styles were designed with long stems to keep the warmth of the drinker's hand from warming the beverage. A flute's tall, narrowing shape with a curved body that slopes inward at the rim is specifically designed to show off the bubbles. The shape regulates the carbon dioxide that releases at the highest point of the glass. A coupe achieves this, too, but its wide brim showcases the bubbles differently.
Contrary to popular belief, you can enjoy champagne in a regular white wine glass, which allows the liquid to further open its taste. A purist maintains that the formal stance of a coupe or flute is necessary to respect the prestige of champagne. Furthering the debate, a third style, the tulip champagne glass, was introduced in the 1950s and can be seen as a combo of the other two. In the 1960s, a taller, double-stem option was devised to slow the heat further transferred from the holder’s hands. A small gap of air placed between the inner and outer walls of the glass stem prevents heat from traveling to the cup.
History of the Coupe Glass
According to popular French lore, the coupe's delicate, broad shape was modeled on the left breast of Queen Marie-Antoinette, the child bride of King Louis the XVI of France. However delightfully cheeky this story is, it's most likely as inaccurate as attributing "Let them eat cake!" to the coquettish young queen, who would end up in the guillotine. The glass was designed in England a century before, in 1663, for sparkling, grape-based libations. It would become popular amongst the fashionable French for centuries.
One who never converted to the coupe style was Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon. While the debate is out as to whether he actually 'discovered' champagne while tasting a fermenting batch of wine that had started to bubble, there’s no doubt that he was responsible for some innovative wine-making techniques. To him, the flute emphasized the bubbly nature of champagne; the monk preferred to stay mesmerized by the bubble's dance, performed inside the tall stemware. (Dom Pérignon, was first introduced in the 1920s by Moët & Chandon. It is a top cuvée champagne rather than a brand.)
The coupe remained fashionable in France until the 1970s. In the United States, the coupe flourished from the 1930s to the 1980s. This rise in popularity coincided with the Prohibition era, when cheaply made booze was enhanced by adding supplemental ingredients such as bitters, tonics, and fruit-based cordials. As it would seem, these new champagne-based cocktails looked elegant in coupe glasses. Thus, it’s no secret that coupes serve a purpose for shaken and strained mixed drinks.
How to Source Coupe Glasses
Finding the right coupe glass to add to your home barware collection has never been easier. Here at Nest Casa, we are prone to suggest the Manhattan coupe glass from Saint-Louis crystal. But great options to fit any budget can be found via traditional retailers, flea markets, and online emporiums. Nest Casa Founder Sara Colombo—a veritable hostess in her own right—has pulled together choices, whatever your desire and preference. From crystal to longer stems to every-day and colored styles, the perfect coupe glass awaits your next toast.