Bette Kahn, spokeswoman for Crate and Barrel, tells me that "martini" glasses in the 11- to-13-ounce range are the store's bestsellers. When I ask why cocktail glasses have gotten so big, she retorts, "You know how they've supersized the McDonald's hamburger?"...Should we blame the businesses that accommodate to and enable our gluttony? We've lost the ability to perceive a portion size — and not just for martinis. In the 1960s, a normal drinking glass was 8 ounces. A juice glass was less than half that size, appropriate for the squeezed juice of one orange. You didn't slake your thirst with juice. And now, people apparently slake their thirst with martinis — or are those martini glasses mostly full of juice?
Even contemporary guidebooks such as A.J. Rathbun's comprehensive "Good Spirits," published a few months ago, acknowledge that traditional cocktails were served in glasses as small as three ounces. "A drink this size, it was thought, stayed chilled through its consumption," Rathbun writes. He even invokes the great Jazz Age bartender Harry Craddock's adage that a cocktail should be consumed quickly, "while it's still laughing at you."
January 10, 2008
WaPo explains. The classic martini is 3 ounces, served in a glass no bigger than 5 ounces — the idea being to preserve the coldness through the entire sipping process.