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The Nick and Nora Glass, Cocktail Beauty and Elegance

by | Oct 31, 2022 | 0 comments

I didn’t “get” the whole glass craze when I started bartending. I knew certain drinks went into martini glasses, double rocks glasses, coupes, and other styles. I didn’t appreciate the cocktail elegance of glassware yet.

When I started doing mixology contests in 2012, I was like, “Ok, now I get it!” So I started embracing the progressive cocktail culture and the importance of glass nowadays.

Two Empty Nick and Nora Glasses
Two Different Designs of Nick and Nora Glasses

About 5 years ago, I really remember seeing a Nick and Nora glass and was amazed at how classic and elegant cocktails looked in them.

There is just something seeing a Manhattan, Martini, Negroni, or other cocktails severed up in this vessel. It truly adds another level of sophistication to a cocktail.

How Did The Nick and Nora Glass Get Its Name?

The journey of Nick and Nora glass starts back in 1934 when Dashiell Hammett wrote the book, The Thin Man. That same year a movie version of the book was also released. William Powell and Myrna Loy played Nick and Nora Charles, respectfully.

Nick was a stylish detective, and Nora was his wealthy wife. The first movie was such a hit that they released six films, all together, with William and Myrna playing the lead in all six movies.

Many cocktails were enjoyed during at least the first film ( I haven’t watched the other five). In addition, there was some awesome-looking glassware used.

Two Cocktails in a Nick and Nora Glassware
Gibson and Rob Roy

In the late 1980s, legendary Dale DeGroff wanted a cocktail glass in the movie “The Thin Man” for the newly reopened Rainbow Lounge. So he went to Minners Designs, a glass and silver house on Manhattan’s East Side.

While flipping through their catalog items, he found what he wanted and referred to it as the Nick and Nora Glass. But the actual name of the small glass was Little Martini.

Even after Minners sold some of their designs and inventory, including the glass Dale used, “Little Martini” was referred to by everyone as Nick and Nora.

Nick and Nora vs. Coupe vs. Martini Glass

For cocktails, these are three popular styles of stemware.

Many classic cocktails are served up between these three. Let’s see what the differences are!

Comparing Three Rob Roy Cocktails
Comparing Three Rob Roy Cocktails

Nick and Nora Glass

With cocktail recipes becoming more just than a good drink, you need something that displays your cocktail in the best way possible. The sleek glass design of a Nick and Nora glass nowadays helps bring your drink status to another level.

Let’s see some of the pros and cons of this cocktail glass.

Rye or Chai in a Nick and Nora Glass
Rye or Chai in a Nick and Nora Glass

Nick and Nora Pros

  • Keep cocktails colder and longer – With less service area for the drink to touch, your drink will stay colder and longer than drinks in a martini glass
  • Narrow Mouth – A high-sided bowl and narrow mouth diameter help keep the center of the drink more over the steam, making you less likely to knock your drink over. Almost has a chalice-style feel to them.
  • Stylish – many companies are creating beautiful designs and etch work on the glasses
  • Dishwasher Safe – If your Nick and Nora glasses don’t have etching, you can run them through your dishwasher.

Nick and Nora Cons

  • Price – They are going to be higher in price than the standard versions of the other two
  • Not Dishwasher Safe – Not all Nick and Nora Glass is dishwasher safe. If there is etched glass work, the designs will fade off. Make sure you check with the manufacturer.

Coupe Glass

One of the more exciting designs in history is the coupe glass used in many different cocktails served up; Whiskey Sour, The Last Word, etc.

The story is that Marie Antoinette wanted a glass design molded after her left breast.

Coupe Pros

  • Small, compact design doesn’t take up a lot of space
  • Many different sizes to accommodate other volumes of drinks
  • Most are going to be dishwasher safe
  • Don’t get knocked over easily as martini glasses

Coupe Cons

  • Smaller to hold
  • There is a stigma with some men that cocktails served in this glass are femantiate and they feel like their manhood is being compromised.

Martini Glass

The martini glass started as a variation of the champagne flute in the late 19th century. Then, in the 1920s, the angular design started surfacing and becoming an iconic symbol with cocktails.

Martini Pros

  • Steep sides help prevent ingredients from separating
  • Can easily hold the glass
  • Looks classy with a skewer and olive in it

Martini Cons

  • Tend to be knocked over more accessible because of the wider bowl
  • A bar set takes up a lot more space because of the wide design

Our Favorite Nick and Nora Glasses

I haven’t met a Nick and Nora glass I haven’t liked yet. They are so stylish and unique. Different cocktails look so different in each one.

Here are a couple of our favorites we use all the time and mainly use when we create any cocktail served up.

The Hive Glass

The Hive Glass from Amehla Co. is a honeycomb Nick and Nora glass. The design is hammered/honeycomb on the bottom half of the bowl.

It offers a thinner thickness to easily accommodate any garnish you want to use.

This glass really elevates any cocktail you put in it.

Honeycomb Nick & Nora Glasses | Amehla Co.

These Nick & Nora glasses have a beautiful design with a honeycomb design etched into it. Come in a set of two or four.

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Zelda Fitzgerald “New Yorker”

This set of Nick and Nora glasses has a beautiful etched design. When filled with your favorite drink, the design on the glass has a great contrast of color. Giving your cocktail a more visual appeal.

Zelda Fitzgerald “New Yorker” – Nick and Nora Glassware

These are very stylish and make any cocktail served up look beautiful.

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What is your favorite Nick and Nora glass? Let us know in the comments, and we will check them out!

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