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Drink DuJour : The Tale of the Couptail

A new trend at the bar is rediscovering the coupe glass. The scoop—and three recipes—here

With a new drink den opening up every other weekend it seems, there’s a cocktail to try everywhere we look.  But as menus begin to offer such expansive lists of impossible-to-choose-between drinks, cocktail enthusiasts are met with a common dilemma: How many rounds would it take to try them all?

Luckily for us, the Bar at the Anasazi Restaurant has found the solution. They’re introducing a special menu of lower-volume concoctions known as ‘couptails,’ specialty cocktails that pack a powerful punch into the small coupe glass they’re served in. Though they can be enjoyed alone for a small imbibement, we think that the bar’s three current couptail offerings are best enjoyed together as a full cocktail flight.

We spoke with James Reis, head bartender at the Santa Fe bar about the liquid tapas. Plus, check out three recipes to make couptails for yourself this weekend.

We’ve never heard of anything like tapas-style cocktails before. How did you come up with the idea?

The idea was an intersection of two different challenges. First, when working in a hotel, people often come to the bar with very little time to properly or comfortably finish a drink. Second, there is a growing interest in low-proof cocktails that don’t sacrifice flavor. This is a synthesis of sorts for me, lower-volume cocktails that retain interesting spirit combinations but don’t have the implied pressure of having to finish them quickly.

Couptails are spirit-centric in that they don’t use mixers, but focus instead on clean, classic flavors. The smaller size—typically an ounce of liquor—helps on both fronts. Additionally, the use of the coupe glass will make it a curiosity in some bar settings.

Where does the coupe glass fit into your concept?

I had been looking for some different glassware when I “rediscovered” the coupe glass, which is a very classic drink presentation. Coupe glass volume varies, and after seeing a particularly small glass, I wondered what I could do with it. The challenge arose in trying to ‘shrink’ previous recipes, and to rework proportions of new cocktails into a smaller format.

On that note, how did you develop the smaller-portioned recipes?

New ingredients are always fun, a blank slate that you can play with. It gives you new ideas, or twists on old cocktail classics. In this case, I sketched out recipes with rough proportions of multiple ingredients that had to fit together harmoniously because no mixers or juices are used in the recipes. I want the first taste of any cocktail I make to stroke the curiosity of the taster—I’ve found more personal satisfaction creating drinks of that nature, where people are drawn in, their palettes curious.

It takes a lot of tinkering and tasting, but I’ve found working within a new set of rules to be strangely liberating, and I hope to have some more couptails ready in the coming weeks.


Bon Bon

– 1/2 oz Maestro Dobel tequila
– 1/4 oz Grey Goose Cherry Noir
– 1/4 oz Godiva Chocolate liqueur

Combine ingredients, garnish with a chili-chocolate rim.


The Republic

– 3/4 oz Campari
– 1/4 oz ‘Republic blend’

Create ‘Republic blend’ by mixing Bowmore 12 year scotch, preserved lemon, and fresh lemon juice. Combine with Campari. Garnish with a blue cheese stuffed olive.


Gold Dust Woman

– 1/2 oz G’Vine Nouaison
– 1/4 oz June liqueur
– 1/4 oz Solerno blood orange liqueur

Combine ingredients. Garnish with a limoncello dust rim, created by reducing the liqueur until it becomes crystallized.



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