I was sitting at the altar of flame and beef fat—that is, the chef’s counter of one of San Francisco’s flashiest new steakhouses. The air was thick with the aroma of beef; I felt as fat-washed as the $19 beef-infused Negroni in my hand.
I winced a bit when I ordered my next drink, which, at $21, was one of the more expensive cocktails I tried during my year-long gig as a bar reviewer for the local paper. Sure, I thought, that double sawbuck covers plenty of costs: the salaries of beverage pros, the beautiful linens and the terrible rent, the fancy ice and the high-end ingredients in every cocktail. Perhaps the most visible cost, though, is nice glassware.
My favorite cocktail on the menu arrived in an especially lofty smoke-gray coupe. That glass felt good to hold. It felt good to drink from. The rim was slim. The dusky color that ran through its stem was alluring. I took another sip. Take all my money, I thought.
And then I found out I was drinking a many-dollar cocktail out of a seven-dollar coupe—one that you or I could easily buy, but that looked expensive enough for the trendy cocktail bar du jour.
Plain, clear coupes are a dime a dozen (though I’d happily own a dozen, especially of the sort with nice, delicate rims). But these Reina Coupes feel special since they’re a little dressed up. I love the way their gray tone deepens to black when they cradle a brooding, boozy drink. Their tall profile looks luxe on a bar cart (or a TV tray).
And when you buy glasses this affordable, you can afford to spend more on a nice gin or whiskey. Make your own signature drink (or make one for your Valentine) worthy of a fancy glass. No beef infusion required.
Originally Appeared on Epicurious