Libbey Cosmo/Lemon Drop Glass

Here’s an odd question. Recently, in an antique shop, I found an old Libbey mixing glass. It caught my eye because it had four cocktail recipes etched on the sides: Martini; Manhattan; Cosmopolitan; and Lemon Drop. Now, I’ve seen mixing glasses with Cosmo recipes on them. But never Lemon Drop. And never Cosmo and Lemon Drop together. The choice of recipes seemed to scream “1990s.” Moreover, the recipe for the Martini is for vodka and vodka only. No suggestion of gin.

I bought the glass because it seems unusual and possibly an artifact of the recent past. But I’ve not been able to find out anything about it. Libbey was unhelpful. All they could tell me was that they didn’t make/sell it anymore, and therefore it was “vintage.” And they apparently keep no records of their “vintage” glassware. Anyone ever seen this glass or know anything about it?

Is it one of these?

Libbey definitely made mixing glasses in a similar era (post-Cosmo) that had gin Martini recipes—you can find examples them pretty easily with Google Image Search. This one seems to be a deliberately “vodka-centric” model, although that Manhattan recipe is there as an outlier. My guess is this is a Sex in the City era product, or even a bit more recent. That it specifies “rye whiskey” instead of “whiskey” suggests this was probably made after we started talking more about rye again (early 2000s?). If you survey other Libbey mixing glasses, the Manhattan recipes usually just said “whiskey”.

Yes, the suggestion of rye in the Manhattan recipe is the one thing on the glass that yanks it into a more recent era. Though that the recipe is for a perfect Manhattan is peculiar.

Maybe not so peculiar for late 1990s/early 2000s: there was a period in there where people were monkeying around with ‘perfect’ drinks. It was one of those ‘low hanging fruit’ things to tinker with and talk about, under the presumption that if there were so many ‘perfect’ recipes in the books, then there must be something good about the concept. I certainly fell for the ruse a few times. Now, most of us know better.

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Oh this is… at the very, very, very earliest… from the late 80s/early 90s.

I am positive that I have somewhere that typeface used for the names of the cocktails. I remember that wonky “M” very well. If I recall correctly, it was a cheap knockoff of a more expensive typeface. But… fonts were pricey then and you took what you could get.

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One of my favorite facepalm memories was from Benjamin Cooper in SF a few years back. A guest rolled in just before closing time and demanded a Perfect Manhattan. When presented with said cocktail, he made a big show of a “yuck” face after the first sip. When asked if everything was okay he responded, “I asked for a perfect Manhattan, what’s in this?”

Rye, Sweet Vermouth, Dry Vermouth, Ango

“Dry vermouth? The hell is dry vermouth doing in a Manhattan?!”

Well, sir, you asked for a Perfect Manhattan.

“No, I meant make me a perfect Manhattan. Like make it perfectly.”

:man_facepalming:t4:

The best part was when he got the drink he actually wanted his verdict was a shrug and an “Almost there, kid.” Sigh I miss bartending.

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