Pet Peeve: Martini Glass Size Inflation

cocktailbigIn my perfect world Root Simple has a downtown office in one of LA’s iconic 1920’s era office buildings. Every day at noon we’d break for a three martini lunch. But how are we going to bring back this boozy tradition without losing afternoon productivity? The answer is simple: we’re going to reduce the size of the glass.

In yet another example of the supersizing of America, the average martini glass size has gone from 3 ounces, back in the early 20th century, to a stupendous 12 ounces or more. In other words, the three martini lunch of yesterday has less alcohol than you would consume with just one martini today.

I thought I might be the lone voice in the wilderness on this issue, thinking that the masses have flocked to martinis the size of hot tubs. But the kids at the Kitchn beat me to it, noting that small 3 to 4 ounce martini glasses have the added advantage of being less top heavy and keeping drinks cooler. They also provide some specific recommendations. I especially like this classic 4.6 ounce glass. For a more thrifty option you can do as I did and scour thrift stores.

So my brothers and sisters, let’s unite and un-supersize our martinis! The fate of civilization is in our hands.


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  1. This seems obvious, given how we’ve super-sized just about everything, but I must say, I never thought of it! How interesting. Those little glasses are much more charming in any case!

  2. I am not surprised. When I was a child, my parents very occasionally bought a six-pack of Cokes in 6 ounce glass bottles. They divided one Coke between two of us children. I was oh, so happy to get that 3-ounces of Coke. Now, I hardly think a 20-ounce Coke is enough.

  3. So goes the world unfortunately. Dinner plates are now huge here in the UK. I realised I could fit the kids meals onto side plates, but they are a tad too small for ours. Supersizing makes everything look so brash and inelegant. What value we get though – ugly, unhealthy and wasteful all in one!

  4. If you can return to work after 9 ounces of Martini, well God Bless you. I have 12 ounces of a session ale and I’m having urges to take a long urban hike…

  5. Beware! Consider the well-known quatrain often misattributed to Dorothy Parker before indulging in multi-martini lunches…

    I like to have a martini,
    Two at the very most.
    After three I’m under the table,
    After four I’m under my host

    ..and this does not even say whether the martinis in question are 3 ounces or 12 ounces.

  6. Peter wins. I’m dying.

    At home, I make what I call the Mini-Manhattan. It’s a splash of bourbon or rye over ice with a bit of bitters and the tiniest bit of vermouth and a dried cherry or two. It gives me everything I want in a Manhattan without the excess. What most people really want is that first couple of sips, not to be totally awash.

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