These days, cocktails—mixed drinks, usually chilled—are served in a wide variety of glasses to suit the aesthetics of the drink, the bartender's preferences or the properties of the ingredients. The first cocktail glasses were created in the Nineteenth Century and tended to be conical in shape, placed atop a stem. Generally speaking, they were an evolution on the older sherry or aperitif glass design, only bigger. The stem would allow the drink to be nursed slowly without fear of heating-up the beverage with handling (as opposed to a tumbler, in which the vessel is held directly in the hand).
Alas, large, conical glasses tended to splash-about (even more so after the third drink). Therefore, around the turn of the Twentieth Century, glass makers started to create "coupe" style cocktail glasses—a stylized adaptation of the Champagne coupe (designed in the 1700's). They were still stemmed, though the bowl had higher, curved walls which helped contain the liquid. The classic Champagne coupe had perfectly rounded walls—never vertical. This said, Champagne can always be served in a cocktail glass while a cocktail may always be served in a Champagne coupe.
Cocktails were popular throughout the 1800's. Such mixed drinks remained en vogue through the 1960's, after which their popularity softened a bit (replaced by the growing popularity of wine). However, around the turn-of-the-millennium, young drinkers re-discovered mixed drinks and a renaissance of "craft cocktails" was born (as was the need for cocktail glasses). It's possible that the new "cocktail culture," driven by young drinkers, had an element of "vintage chic" to it. Here at LEO Design, we certainly noticed that sets of nice cocktail glasses were always popular—sometimes purchased as a gift, sometimes purchased for one's own bar cart.
Shown above, a set of six stylish cocktail glasses, blown in rose crystal. A diamond-form "optical" Harlequin pattern decorates the walls of the bowl. They were made in the Twenties or Thirties. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248