Nasty, Brutish & Short

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"We are facing an epidemic of cocktails served in inappropriately large glasses."

January 10, 2008 09:54 AM

Well at least it's not bird flu.  A oversized cocktail epidemic?  Is this really a concern?  Apparently so:

"A too-large glass gives the drink more time to lose its chill and initial zest, and a half-filled glass looks unexciting, so an average-size cocktail glass of 4 1/2 ounces is the most satisfactory," wrote Collette Richardson in the 1973 edition of "House & Garden's Drink Guide."

Thirty-five years later, just try finding a 4.5-ounce cocktail glass. In fact, most glassware called for in cocktail books has become exceedingly difficult to find. Retailers also are stocked with ridiculously huge double old-fashioned glasses, clocking in at 10 to 15 ounces. Finding the normal six- to eight-ounce old-fashioned glass that most drink recipes call for is difficult but not impossible....

The same is true with wine glasses these days.  The sizing has gotten ridiculous.  Now you don't buy a glass, you buy a "pour."  And that's usually a third of a bottle.  And apparently, it's not a good thing.  The Washington Post tells us:

"Cocktail geeks have always known that small martini glasses are better."

I'm a cocktail geek and I didn't know that.  I like the oversized glasses because they look less... dainty.  But apparently the theory is that if the drink is too big, you won't finish it while it is still ice, ice cold.  Makes sense to me.  Have two small ones instead of one big one.  Or, four small ones instead of two big ones.  Or, six small ones instead of three big ones.  You get the idea.


Now that I've taken up coffee roasting, I've found that the same problem exists for coffee cups. A coffee cup USED to be 8 oz., and they contained, ideally, 6 oz. of coffee, with headspace left for cream. Now, we have GIGANTIC coffee mugs, that must hold 14 oz or more. Fill that up with coffee, and guaranteed, it will be cold by the time you get to the bottom of it.

What's worse is, people have forgotten the correct proportions of coffee to water. We all vaguely remember "2 tblsp per cup", but that formula was devised when a coffee cup was smaller. It really meant "2 tblsp coffee per 6 oz water", but people only remember "cup", and they think either it means a measuring cup (8 oz) or even worse, "Whatever I happen to drink my coffee out of", even if it's 10 oz or more. I've read that a bit part of why Starbucks coffee tastes so good is because they use the proper proportions of coffee to water; we've all just gotten used to drinking coffee at half-strength, and drinking it the way it's supposed to be made is like a brand-new experience.

Dr. Mabuse   ·  January 11, 2008 10:29 PM

Speak for yourself, NBS. I never have a problem finishing a BF martini before it loses its chill. It just takes discipline. And practice. Lots of practice.

West Bay Einstein   ·  January 14, 2008 06:50 PM

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