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Cocktail glasses are shrinking

Style, convenience and clarified drinks have made way for elegant glasses

Cobbler & Crew’s drink Midnight Blues in a vintage coupe glass.
Cobbler & Crew’s drink Midnight Blues in a vintage coupe glass.

The cocktail tastes like pizza. Named Papa’s Hut, and served at Papa’s in Mumbai, it has vodka infused with flavours of marinara. It is presented in a small coupe glass with no ice. The quantity is small—only 100ml.

Also read | Shaking it up with low-calorie cocktails

Drinks served in small, elegant glasses have become commonplace in trendy bars and restaurants. Gone are the days of wide V-shaped stemmed glassware as coupes and crystal-clear lightweight options take over. They spell sophistication and are easy to hold—unlike the massive Cosmopolitan vessels that demand concentration to avoid spills. There are certain reasons driving this trend and most bartenders say expensive alcohol is not one of them.

Spirit-forward drinks, such as Manhattan, Martini and Gimlet, with no additives like sugar and citrus juices, are picking up. These stiff cocktails are typically served in coupes, vintage martini glasses and egg-shell shaped Nick & Nora glasses. In most bars, they are available as classics as well as riffed versions, like the Pi Pi Martini by bartender Avinash Kapoli for the Bengaluru bar, Soka. It has vermouth infused with ber (jujube), giving it a distinct piquant taste. It swaps the classic martini glass for a coupe. “You are trying to use smaller glasses because bars are also shrinking in terms of size. When space is less, smaller glasses are easier to store,” he says. A 3 February Lounge story, “Bengaluru bars get intimate”, reported on the rise in speakeasy-style bars in the city with innovative menus that champion technique-driven drinks. The Pi Pi Martini is one such drink.

The popularity of speakeasy bars is not necessarily the only reason, points out Pankaj Balachandran, co-founder of the bar consultancy Countertop India. “Presentation has evolved and people don’t want to do half-portioned drinks. The alcohol quantity is not reducing, the glassware is just different,” he says, referring to Old Fashioned and Negroni that are typically served on the rocks in a bulky, whisky glass with a solid base, and would fill only half of it. Now, the glassware has a shorter, lightweight body, a thin base, and the surface of the drink skims the rim.

These glasses, that look like younger and slimmer cousins of the traditional whisky glass are perfect for clarified drinks. “The trend now is to make the drink clearer, like spring water,” Kapoli says. The technique of clarifying drinks plays around with flavours while offering guests a fuss-free drinking experience.

“I would say the trend of these small, elegant glasses began about five-six years ago, and now you see them everywhere,” notes Mayur Marne of the Pune bar Cobbler & Crew. They elevate the optics of a cocktail, a crucial aspect in the drinking experience. He adds, “I don’t see this trend rolling back anytime soon.”

They signify an unhurried approach to enjoying a cocktail. The idea is not to drink it in gulps, like a Long Island Iced Tea filled to the brim with ice, but savour each sip.

Also read | Craft and creative cocktails will lead the way for whisky

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