What is a Coupe Glass? A Guide to this Classic Cocktail Glass Shape

Do you enjoy traditional cocktails? In that case, you may be familiar with the coupe glass. A coupe glass is a style of shallow-bowled stemmed champagne glass used to serve sparkling wine and other beverages.

woman wearing a white dress holding a coupe with champagne in sun light

Its broad, shallow design is ideal for pouring shaken or stirred cocktails that are served without ice after being chilled.

The coupe glass, which was first created for champagne, has gained popularity for serving a wide range of cocktails. It is a standard in many cocktail bars and home bars due to its distinctive shape and elegant design.

However, what distinguishes a coupe glass from other styles of glasses and why is it particularly ideal for particular kinds of cocktails? Everything you need to know about the coupe glass—including its history, applications, and more—will be covered in this article.

What is a Coupe Glass?

If you’re a cocktail enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of a coupe glass. It is a stemmed glass with a shallow, wide bowl that is used for serving cocktails and other drinks.

The coupe glass is also known as a champagne coupe or a champagne saucer. It has a rich history and practical uses that make it a favorite among bartenders and cocktail lovers.

History of the Coupe Glass

The coupe glass has been around for centuries and has a fascinating history. It was first created in the 1700s in England as a drinking vessel for champagne.

The bowl of the coupe glass was designed to hold the bubbles of the champagne and enhance its flavor.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the coupe glass became popular in America during the Prohibition era. It was used to serve cocktails in speakeasies and was often featured in Hollywood movies of the time.

The coupe glass fell out of favor in the mid-20th century when it was discovered that the wide bowl caused the bubbles in champagne to dissipate quickly. However, it has made a comeback in recent years and is now a popular choice for serving cocktails.

Practical Uses of the Coupe Glass

The coupe glass is a versatile glass that can be used for a variety of cocktails and drinks. Its wide bowl makes it perfect for serving cocktails that are shaken or stirred and served without ice, also known as “up” drinks.

Customer hand picking empty champagne coupe glasses from product rack

The stem of the coupe glass also prevents your hand from warming up the drink too quickly.

Some popular cocktails that are served in a coupe glass include the classic Martini, the Sidecar, the French 75, and the Aviation. The coupe glass is also used for serving champagne, although it is not the preferred glass for this drink.

In addition to its practical uses, the coupe glass is also a stylish addition to any bar or cocktail party. Its elegant shape and stem make it a favorite among bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts.

Coupe Glass vs. Champagne Flute

When it comes to serving champagne, two popular glass types are the Coupe Glass and Champagne Flute. Both glasses have their unique features and are suitable for different occasions.

Coupe Glass

The Coupe Glass has a wide, shallow bowl and a short stem. It was originally designed in the 1700s and was popular in the 1920s. The glass has a vintage, elegant look and is often used for serving cocktails and champagne.

The wide bowl of the Coupe Glass allows the champagne to breathe and release its aromas. However, the glass’s wide surface area also means that the bubbles in the champagne dissipate quickly. This can result in the champagne going flat faster than in a Champagne Flute.

Coupe Glasses are perfect for serving older champagnes that have a more complex flavor profile. The wide bowl allows the champagne to aerate and release its flavors fully. Additionally, the glass’s shape makes it easier to drink and enjoy the champagne’s aroma.

Champagne Flute

The Champagne Flute has a long, narrow bowl and a tall stem. It was designed in the early 1700s and has become the most popular champagne glass type.

The glass’s shape helps preserve the champagne’s bubbles for a longer time, making it perfect for serving younger champagnes.

the waiter pours champagne in glasses

The narrow bowl of the Champagne Flute concentrates the champagne’s aroma, making it easier to smell and enjoy. Additionally, the glass’s shape makes it easier to hold and drink, as it prevents the champagne from spilling.

Champagne Flutes are perfect for serving younger champagnes that have a lighter, fresher taste. The narrow bowl helps preserve the champagne’s bubbles, enhancing the drinking experience.

Champagne Saucer

The Champagne Saucer, also known as the “Coupe,” is a shallow, wide-mouthed glass. It was popular in the early 1900s and was the original champagne glass type.

However, it has fallen out of favor in recent years, as it is not suitable for preserving the champagne’s bubbles.

The wide surface area of the Champagne Saucer allows the champagne to breathe and release its aromas fully. However, the glass’s shape means that the bubbles in the champagne dissipate quickly, resulting in the champagne going flat faster than in a Champagne Flute.

Champagne Saucers are perfect for serving champagne cocktails and older champagnes that have a more complex flavor profile.

The wide bowl allows the champagne to aerate and release its flavors fully. Additionally, the glass’s shape makes it easier to drink and enjoy the champagne’s aroma.

Coupe Glass in Cocktail Culture

If you’re a cocktail enthusiast, you’re likely familiar with the coupe glass. This classic glassware has been an essential part of cocktail culture for over a century and has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. In this section, we’ll explore the history of the coupe glass and its role in both classic and craft cocktails.

Classic Cocktails in Coupe Glasses

The coupe glass was originally designed to serve sparkling wine, but it quickly became a staple in cocktail culture during the prohibition era. Classic cocktails such as the Aviation, Martinez, Sidecar, and the Manhattan were all traditionally served in coupe glasses.

aviation cocktail made with creme de violette and served in coupe glasses

The shallow bowl and wide rim of the coupe glass allowed for the addition of garnishes such as citrus twists or cherries, which added both flavor and visual appeal to the drink.

The popularity of the coupe glass waned in the mid-20th century as the martini glass and cocktail glass became more prevalent. However, in recent years, the coupe glass has made a comeback in the craft cocktail scene.

Craft Cocktails and the Coupe Glass

Craft cocktails have brought the coupe glass back into the spotlight. Bartenders appreciate the versatility of the glass, which can be used for a variety of cocktails beyond the traditional champagne and classic cocktails.

The coupe glass is a popular choice for drinks that are served up, such as the Clover Club or a classic gin fizz.

Craft cocktails often feature unique and elaborate garnishes, and the coupe glass is the perfect vessel to showcase these additions.

The wide rim allows for the addition of flowers, herbs, or other decorative elements that can enhance the overall drinking experience.

Choosing the Right Coupe Glass

When it comes to choosing the right coupe glass for your cocktails, there are a few things to consider. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

Stemmed vs. Stemless Coupe Glasses

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want a stemmed or stemless coupe glass. Stemmed glasses are more traditional and elegant, while stemless glasses are more modern and casual.

Champagne coupe glass of refreshing orange cocktail with ice

Stemmed glasses are also easier to hold without warming up the drink, while stemless glasses can be easier to store and less likely to tip over.

Vintage Design and Modern Options

Another factor to consider is the design of the coupe glass. Vintage-style coupe glasses are popular for their classic look and feel, and they often feature intricate designs and patterns. Modern options, on the other hand, tend to have a sleeker and more minimalist design.

Libbey is one brand that offers a variety of both vintage and modern coupe glasses. Their vintage-inspired glasses feature intricate designs and patterns, while their modern glasses have a sleek and simple look.

When choosing a coupe glass, it’s important to consider the overall aesthetic of your bar or home. If you have a vintage-inspired bar or home decor, a vintage-style coupe glass may be the perfect fit.

If you have a more modern and minimalist style, a sleek and simple coupe glass may be more appropriate.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Paul Kushner

I have always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. My restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time I turned 17 I was serving tables, and by 19 I was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, I opened my first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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