For a Drink You Can't Put Down: Bottoms Up

This Monday the James Beard Foundation Greens is hosting a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. Mind you, the deed was not officially done until December 5th of 1933, with the ratification of the 21st amendment, but by golly, if the James Beard Foundation has sanctioned the early celebration of this momentous occasion, who am I to quibble? Nobody, that’s who, and thus, I will be eagerly joining in the festivities on Monday evening. So, it is in the spirit of this event, with free flowing libations in mind, that I decided to introduce you to some of my very favorite drinking companions: bottoms up shot glasses.

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Bewitchingly playful on the shelf, these Art Deco babies are all business when it comes time for cocktails. Originally created in 1928, at the height of the Roaring 20’s—the era of the speakeasy, the Shimmy and the flapper girl—these 2-ounce conical vessels, draped with round-bottomed, nude female forms, were intentionally designed so that they could not be put down until their contents were drained (at which point they were to be flipped upside down onto their attendant coasters). The first versions were made in upstate New York of glazed pottery in a limited number of colors, but the unique design was quickly picked up for larger scale production in myriad colors of cast glass by a company in Pennsylvania.

Though the ceramic versions are extremely rare and highly sought after, and the original glass versions only slightly less so, examples in both materials and a bewildering range of colors, along with far more affordable reproductions (generally without matching coasters), periodically show up for sale through online auctions and antique dealers, and at flea markets and antique shops, especially in the Northeast. I never said they would be easy to come by, but to my mind, a great drinking companion is worth the seeking.

Bottoms up!