Hunt for the BABYCHAM

coupe glasses

I had a lovely Birthday and received wonderful gifts. Now not to choose one of my children above the other (“I am fond of you all equally, you know it”) I was just delighted with the Champagne Coupes glasses from my daughter and her husband.

The Champagne coupe is a stemmed, shallow, broad-bowled glass often seen in the glamorous Hollywood movies stacked up like a tower with Champagne poured into the top glass, it then trickles down to fill every glass below. And this I love, legend has it that the shape of the glass was modelled on the left breast of Marie Antoinette of France.

But where I remember that shaped glass is watching my Mother and her friends drinking a “Babycham” in the 1960’s when I was a young girl and I thought these glasses with the little deer fawn with its blue ribbon, the “HEIGHT OF SOPHISTICATION.”

Babycham is a sparkling perry (made from pears) the brainchild of a brewer in Somerset, England.  The sparkling perry was the first alcoholic product to be advertised on British commercial television in 1957 and the first alcoholic drink marketed directly to women, and heralded a change in British and Irish drinking culture.

Babycham label

Philip Norman, novelist, journalist and biographer (author of Shout!: The Beatles in Their Generation) in his book Babycham Night (his own memoir of growing up in the 1950’s) states, “Babycham was the first drink a woman could order in a bar without feeling a tart or a crone.” I remember an area set aside for women in Irish pubs in early 1960’s called “the Snug” where they may have a port or a glass of stout (for medicinal purposes, of course) and where they would not be seen.

However when I became a teenager, I regarded Babycham as old fashioned (you know teenagers “something my Mother drinks”. The Champagne Coupe glass also was considered old fashioned and the Champagne Flute; a tall stemmed, narrow, straight-sided bowl became popular as is still today.

Apparently the flute type glass allows the drinker to hold the glass without affecting the temperature of the drink (“who holds champagne that long?”) and the bowl is designed to retain the bubbles longer. Now, as to the bubbles, I think that has more to do with how it is poured.  You tilt the glass at an angle and let the champagne slide gently along the side, as opposed to sloshing it directly into the bottom of the glass.

Anyway I have come to an age where I cannot drink the standard bottle of sparkling wine and who can afford it in these days of austerity. So I am on the hunt to find an outlet in County Mayo who sells a four pack Babycham. As the advertisement of yesterdays states:- “The Babycham bottle fills a Champagne glass!” Just the cut of my jib.

The glasses where purchased at Brown Thomas (for those who may be looking for them) wonderfully wrapped with ribbons such “sophistication” adding to my immense pleasure and making a great birthday. Thank you all so much.



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