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The Devil’s Share


Martini Glass

11 PM
It’s 11 pm in a crowded bar.  Feel free to insert the name of the bar in the city of your choice, but the scene is somewhat similar anywhere you go.  That is, you are in a bar or club that serves some of the latest and greatest martini-styled drinks.  You know the ones I’m talking about… The Cosmos, the Lemon Drops, the Apple Martinis.  They all come from the bartender’s hand in a fancy stemmed martini glass.  After a feeling of appreciation, you are now left to make your way through the crowded bar without spilling the contents on your shoes, the floor, or even worse, on somebody’s freshly laundered clothes.  Unlike the “Angel’s Share,” which winemakers (especially Cognac producers) respectfully accept as the part of the wine lost to evaporation and other elements during the production and aging processes,  I refer to this spilled portion of my martini as the “Devil’s Share”. Damn him.

The night continues and as I observe the many other patrons and partiers struggling to keep the contents of the martini glasses inside their stemmed glasses.  I can’t help to ask myself why do we pay a little extra to get one of these “up” drinks when they serve them in a glass that puts you against the odds of finishing the drink without spilling at least a good, hard earned sip or two?  I gotta check it out and find some info on it, after another couple drinks of course.

3 AM
I make it home with the help of a designated driver and I am destined to find out why this glassware called the martini glass is “all that” and why they can’t just put the damn drink in a glass such that I can walk confidently through the crowd, without bumping into people, or more commonly, a drunk guy stumbling into me.  Time to look into the subject and find out about these martini glasses.

Sunday, Late Morning… 11:30 AM
Who was I kidding? It was 3 am, I was buzzed, and I kept falling  asleep in my computer chair before I gave in and went to bed. OK, now it’s time to check out the martini glass and why it is what it is.  Internet here I come…

12 PM
Wow, that was actually interesting. The Martini glass has quite a history that I wont bore you with, but here is the basic idea.  First, lets look at the obvious reason. It has a stem, which we know means that this is where you should hold it and not let the warmth of your hand warm the contents. Secondly, since the Martini was originally made with gin, the wide rim of the glass was thought to help release the aroma and juniper essence of the gin as the surface tension was stressed by the wide surface.  Lastly, it is also believed by some that the martini glass gained popularity during the prohibition days.  You see, if the police came into a “speakeasy” club, the contents of the glass could be emptied and widely dispersed with a single and deliberate wrist action.  There were no ice cubes or puddles of booze to get busted with. Luckily, back then there were no portable forensic labs.

Okay, there you have it.  Choose whichever reason, why the glass is the way it is.  It is, in my opinion, one of the sexiest glasses in any bar and has gained popularity not only with bartenders, but also pastry chefs in some of the finest kitchens with its slick and fancy design.  As far as the battle for the “Devil’s Share,” save the glass for a dinner or cocktail lounge where you are stationary and not fighting your way through a crowd. On a recent trip to a Hollywood nightclub, a bartender wasn’t allowed to serve me a “martini” in anything other than a martini glass.  I expressed my concern, but he didn’t give in.. Hmm, what to do?  I smiled, asked for a glass of water, no ice, and quickly downed the water. I then poured the contents of my martini glass into the empty water glass, handed him the empty glass, and turned into the crowd, knowing that the Devil ain’t getting any of this Mutineer’s drink.


  1. Emily Bourbon | Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    Hey Doug B. Nice post. I have often pondered over the mysterious draw to the not so obviously efficient martini glass, but my preference to keep things classic has many times kept me from pouring an extra dirty martini in a rocks glass.

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts…

    Emily B.

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    […] Post Title: The Devil’s Share Author: Doug B. Date: June 8th, 2008 Why I Chose This: I am sure a majority of you are going to be […]

  3. Sarah Malone | Friday, January 9, 2009

    Just an FYI… if you lay a drink stirrer across the top of the glass, you will be less likely to spill and give the devil his share.

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