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Glass Act

Photo by: Loren Doughty

How well do you know your martini from your highball? Your flute from your coupe? Your old-fashioned from your lowball? Here’s a handy glassware guide to make sure your inner bartender shines. (All glassware shown here, as well as numerous other styles, are available at Savvy).


Think James Bond. Shaken or stirred, the martini is sexy. It’s chic. It’s cool, calm, collected, and timeless. By definition, the classic martini is a cocktail that mixes gin or vodka with a splash of vermouth and an olive or lemon twist as a garnish. Other types of martinis include the lemon drop, cosmopolitan and manhattan. In addition to Bond, FDR and Frank Sinatra also enjoyed their martinis. Several film stars, including Clark Gable, Mae West and Jean Harlow have been credited with saying “I must get out of these wet clothes and into a dry martini.” But what’s up with the shape of this classic cocktail glass? Precarious at best, the oversized round shape of the glass serves an important purpose by “opening up” the drink, preventing the different ingredients from separating. And the long, elegant stem keeps your hands from messing up your chilly “tini.”

Classic Martini

2.5 oz. gin or vodka
½ oz. dry vermouth
Shake well with ice and pour into a martini glass
Add a thin slice of lemon peel or an olive or two for garnish

Image: www.liquor.com


Think Don Draper. Did anyone in the history of television drink more than dreamy Don Draper and his Mad Men cohorts? You can almost hear Don complaining, “Can you keep it down? I’m trying to drink.” No matter the time of day, you could always find the classy ad man with a drink in his hand, and most often it was an old-fashioned in a lowball glass. These short tumblers typically serve up some sort of whisky drink, with ice cubes (“on the rocks”). Also called an old fashioned glass, from the cocktail for which it was named, the lowball is also the glass of choice for classic drinks such as a scotch and soda, bourbon and water, and black Russian.

Image: www.liquor.com

Old Fashioned Cocktail

1 tsp. granulated sugar
3 dashes Angostura bitters
2 oz. rye whiskey
Orange peel
Enough ice to fill the glass
Optional: maraschino cherry


Think Marilyn Monroe. Bubbly, effervescent and elegant, Marilyn epitomized the cocktail that was her favorite. Many of her movies featured the bombshell drinking and enjoying champagne. Dom Perignon was said to be her top choice. In the movie The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn mentioned that she “waters the plants with a cocktail shaker and dunks potato chips in champagne.” The “Marilyn Monroe” is a specialty cocktail named after the famous actress. Designed so the champagne’s bubbles rise right to the top, classic flutes are tall, beautiful and delicate. Stemless flutes are also popular now, as are the shorter, saucer-shaped glasses called coupes.

The Marilyn Monroe

4 oz. Champagne or Sparkling Wine
1 oz. Apple Brandy
1 dash Grenadine Syrup
Serve in a champagne flute with two cherries on a stick

Image: worldmarket.com


Think Jay Gatsby. How ironic that in the era of Prohibition, we envision a drinking culture more decadent than any other in history. Boozy underground parties serving up bootlegged spirits were exciting because they weren’t allowed.

The glitzy gatherings immortalized in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby, let the good times and the good drinks flow. The gin rickey, a staple of the Jazz Age, is often claimed to have been a favorite of Fitzgerald’s and is featured in his classic novel. When Gatsby’s love, Daisy Buchanan, orders her husband, Tom, to “make us a cold drink” so she can freely whisper sweet nothings to Gatsby, he returns with four gin rickeys which they drank , Gatsby says, “in long greedy swallows.”

Served in a highball glass, the “rickey” can be made from either gin or bourbon, with half a lime and carbonated water. A tall tumbler, the highball glass is used to serve “tall” cocktails and other mixed drinks with ice.

Image: www.liquor.com

Gin Rickey Cocktail

Fill a highball glass with ice.
Pour 2 oz of gin and the juice of one lime
Top with club soda
Garnish with a lime wedge.


Author: judy uelk

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