Yes, first of all, what the hell is a coupe glass? For those of us who made the mistake of paying to watch Leo DiCaprio throw shirts around as The Great Gatsby, we’ll know it as the Champagne container for the rich and emotionally oblivious. Fun fact: one legend has it the shape of the coupe was designed after Marie Antoinette’s breast. Which is why the industry short term for a coupe is “boob cup.” Not really. But it should be.
As for what should go into a coupe glass, it’s actually a surprisingly mixed bag. Not necessarily shaken or stirred, light or dark. Just cocktails with aromatics, complexity, textural interest, and yes, some joie de vivre (the kind that makes you want to do the Charleston).
Like the Martini glass, the coupe is a very spillable cup. But it’s worth the trouble, maybe more so than the Martini glass, because it looks classier, holds easier, and tends to provide the best of both worlds: it concentrates flavors while opening them up.
The kinds of drinks that belong in a coupe glass are drinks served “up,” meaning they’ve been chilled but don’t require ice in the glass the way a rocks drink does. Don’t confuse “up” with “neat”—neat drinks, besides just being super neat because they have alcohol, aren’t chilled at all. Not a hint of ice or water or liquid nitrogen touches them. Drinks served up have been pre-chilled, typically by shaking or stirring with ice, and poured into your (coupe) glass nice and cool.
That said, a list of some classic, coupe-worthy cocktails that work for holidays, rainy days, basically any day you’d like to look stylish while drinking.
The (reasonably) contested cocktail baby of either Chile or Peru, a Pisco Sour should be on any (non-vegan’s) cocktail repertoire. Pisco—a spirit you should get to know—lime, egg white, and Angostura bitters make for a velvety, but still bright, and bracing (thanks to the lime and Angostura) drink.
Rye whiskey, vermouth, Angostura bitters. Simplicity, and some kind of weirdly elegant manliness, in a cup. A coupe, rather. Bourbon’s taken over where rye used to dominate in this cocktail (as bourbon tends to dominate everywhere). But follow your palate, and own the sophistication.
Yep, not kidding. You can make a decent frozen margarita (just good tequila, lime juice, agave, and ice) and serve it up in a nice coupe glass. (Margaritas have suffered enough glass embarrassment.) PS you don’t have to use a Magic Bullet, a blender will do just fine. Or use leftover holiday rage to smash the ice with your fists of fury.
Another simple, elegant, shaken cocktail with one of the oldest spirit’s in the country, lime juice, and Grenadine. Historical bonus points if you remember to point out it was mentioned in a Hemingway novel.
No surprise we’re mentioning Hemingway again. But beyond his basic penchant for drinking, the guy liked a decent (as in non-frozen, strawberry-free) Daiquiri. Lime juice, white rum, and, per this Jim Meehan recipe, grapefruit juice and Maraschino liqueur. Order a double and it’s a Papa Dobles. Just drink slowly, and talk about it with short, punchy sentences. Ideally about wrestling a bear.
On the classy end of the spectrum for sugar-rimmed drinks, and yet another simple, easy to prepare cocktail. Three ingredients: triple sec (an orange flavored liqueur), lemon juice, and Cognac.
Gin lovers, rejoice. A drink with as much street cred as polish, with early 20th century origins and the optional (must try, at least once) crème de violette liqueur. Prohibition era, esoteric, just ridiculously hip and unique.
Nobody knows this one—at least not as well as it’s half-brother, the Negroni—but for bourbon fans (and we’re pretty sure there are like, a billion of you out there) this is an easy yes when cocktail peer pressure comes on. Bourbon, Campari, and vermouth. Cool but elegant, like Paul Newman in, well, anything.