In Good Spirits

Hold the Bourbon, Heavy on the Coke

Nathalie Dupree on her drink of choice—and the best way to serve it

Photo: Jonathan Carlson

I never drank Coca-Cola from the bottle, not even the six-and-a-half-ounce originals. For one thing, I usually had to split my Cokes with my sister, and we had a measured line we used to mark the halfway point. As I recall, it hit in the middle of the big C’s, but my memory is dim. To split it right, we used drinking glasses. The other reason was the thick glass on the bottle—there is nothing worse than thick glass for drinking. Except drinking from the small hole in a can, or with a straw, which ends all mouthfeel. A glass should caress the lips, not require a pucker.

To properly hold a Coke—Diet Coke for me now—one should have a thin glass with no major rim, like Baccarat’s Montaigne Optic, the goblets on my wedding list for my first or second marriage, I can’t remember which. They were doomed from the get-go because they were so delicate. Every time I handled one, I broke it, even if someone else had been drinking from it. Our relationship came to an end when there was only one glass left. I worshipped it. I carefully added ice to the last glass, then the Diet Coke, and I sat on the veranda, relishing every drop. When it was gone, I went to wash the glass carefully. While I was rinsing it and holding it up to the faucet under hot water to gaze at the clarity of the crystal, I moved it slightly. At that moment it happened. The knob on the cabinet fell off, hitting the curved side of the glass at the center, the cracks radiating out and leaving a hole. I wept and realized it was, like with so many of my past loves, hopeless to anticipate a future.

I finally settled on another glass, a little thicker but dishwasher safe, because my third husband read the dishwasher manual and knew how to load it properly. It was a restaurant glass, one the Pleasant Peasant in Atlanta introduced me to. The moment I drank from it, I knew this was the one. It held ten ounces and was stemmed, and the ice could rattle in it. As every Southern lady knows, the way to ask a man to get you a drink is to rattle your ice. If your glass is empty, simply say, “Bubba, honey, if I had any ice in my glass, I’d rattle it.”