My love of cocktails started with a glass. Rather, it was a set of glasses. You can see them down in the bottom left-hand corner of this picture:
I’m astounded that I don’t have a solo shot of these, considering what they’ve meant to me.
As you can see, they’re rocks glasses, about the right size to fit a hand, with gilt coins and a pebbled black surface that to me evokes leather, although in person is in fact nothing like leather. To be frank I’m not sure what it is, other than amazing.
They belonged to my grandparents sometime in the 50’s or 60’s, and they became mine after my grandmother died. We found them when we were cleaning out her shed, and my father said “Oh, I remember these. My father used to drink Manhattans out of them.”
Something about these glasses just spoke to me, and no one else wanted them, so I decided to take them. The set was seven, clearly short a glass, though this asymmetry was fixed when one of them broke in transit, leaving a more classic six.
Up until owning these glasses, my cocktail experiences were limited. I was mostly a wine and beer drinker, having mostly been exposed to cocktails as obnoxiously sweet, violently-hued beverages served at noisy clubs. But having recently developed an appreciation for bourbon, the Manhattan seemed like a cocktail that I might enjoy, and if it was good enough for my grandfather, well, it was good enough for me.
Little did I know the path that Manhattan would lead me down. The thing is, I am the sort of person who, once I get interested in a subject, learns all about it. I happily do detailed research on everything from the history of knitting to villains in the DC Universe. And the Manhattan is a very interesting and historical cocktail. It’s one of the six basic drinks! It has vermouth, and bitters! I was smitten.
As I got deeper into cocktail history, I did not forget my beloved barware. Sure, the rocks glasses were great for anything that could be served on the rocks, but what if I wanted to make a highball? Or a martini? My collection has grown to include many pieces of barware dating from the 40’s to the 70’s, and a sweet bar that my very talented boyfriend made for me. I’ve taken cocktail workshops and been to some of the best bars in Boston – my interest in this hobby apparently reaching its apex with that of the entire rest of the world.
Though I’ve expanded my collection, there will always be a special place in my heart for those first coin glasses, preferably filled with a cold Manhattan.