Retro Champagne Glasses – Coupes and Saucers

Babycham bottle for retro champagne glasses

Retro Champagne Glasses- Coupes and Saucers

If you watch any decent Hollywood film depicting the glamorous lifestyle of the 1940s, 50s, 60s or 70s you will without doubt enjoy a scene where the leading actors and actresses are drinking from retro champagne glasses. You know the ones. Those with a bowl or coupe shape rather than a flute or vase.  I understand why most modern-day champagne drinkers might think they prefer a flute – “to better preserve the fizz“.  But to me they are just not in any way glamorous – and the reality is they only better contain the fizz if you are drinking poor quality – or worse, imitation Champagne. To see what I consider to be the perfect coupe shape, take a look at this clip from the film, “High Society” and focus the glass that both Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby drink from. Pure class in a glass!  “Well, Did You Evah”?

Cone Corset similar to Flute Champagne glass?

Madonna at the Blond Ambition Tour showing cone shape similar to flute Champagne Glass

Reference material for the coupe champagne glass?

Marie Antoinette around 1775

They say that the Champagne coupe shape was modelled after the shape of Marie-Antoinette’s breasts. You can see the original painting at the: Musée Antoine Lécuyer – Saint-Quentin, Aisne France.  With a fair degree of imagination, you can just about see where they are coming from when you look at the Champagne Coupe in the film High Society.  Sadly, this almost certainly a myth.  In any case, I am sure that Marie-Antoinette’s were a  much more appealing shape – but it is a nice story.  And if the coupe was modelled after Marie, was the Flute modelled after Madonna a la 1990s during the Blonde Ambition tour?

However –  and whenever  – the coupe shape was invented, it suits Champagne.  Champagne is drunk at celebrations and Champagne is a mini celebration in a glass.

George Best and his Champagne Cascades and Fountains

Bestie pours himself a retro champagne fountain

Retro Champagne Coupe Fountain with George Best

In 1969 I gave up women and alcohol – it was the worst 20 minutes of my life”
 

George Best knew a thing or two about mixing booze and celebrations.  And his preference was the Champagne Coupe too.  As a kid, I always wanted to emulate the famous picture of George creating a Champagne Fountain. You just can’t do that retro style with flutes!

Babycham Glasses

Of course, the most infamous retro “Champagne” glasses of the 60s and 70s  were the Babycham saucer glasses.  Retro Champagne Saucers are a little shallower than their close cousins, the coupe, and are a good deal more difficult to drink elegantly from.  In fact, I would say that they provide a good way of judging whether you have had too much. If you can’t drink without spilling, then you have had too much!  A good friend of mine still has an original set.  Babycham was hardly a quality Champagne (in fact, it is actually a sparkling wine or Perry made from pears) and yet these were perfectly matched for the task – and did lend certain “Je ne sais pas”  to even the most everyday do.

Which is the Best Champagne to Retain the fizz?

What makes for  good quality Champagne fizz is carboxypeptidase. This enzyme keeps the bubbles in and only tends to form in sufficient quantity in good quality Champagne.  This, along with colloids (tiny, nearly nano scale particles), formed by the remnants of Champagne Yeast in the first few months after bottling.  This is why vintage champagne is usually better and therefore more expensive. You can leave Any Good Quality Vintage Champagne uncorked over night and it will still retain 95% of its fizz until morning. I know, because I have done exactly this at 30th birthday party where half empty and even full bottles were left strewn about the garden till morning – and were still “proper frothy”.  I guess this is where the myth (and I say, true story for vintage Champagne) developed about:”leaving a silver spoon in the neck of an opened bottle of Champagne to keep it fizzy”,  originally developed.

But to those of you who still prefer the flute – I say don’t be such a sheep.  Make like George Best, either drink your Champagne more quickly or buy better-quality Champagne and drink from a Retro Champagne Saucer or Coupe and celebrate in retro style – you may thank me for the advice!

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