Well, it's now officially summertime, and the living is… suddenly sultry, requiring large quantities of icy beverages to slake our significant thrist. Back in the days when we boomers were babies, imbibing in the sizzle season frequently involved anodized aluminum tumblers in a rainbow of colors, like the vintage items pictured at left (the image has been, um, borrowed from a gentleman known as weshallmeetonthebeutifulshore, who publishes a lot of festive photos on Flickr).
So in honor of Gay Pride Month, I decided to scout the Web for attractive means of raising a toast to the season while lowering one’s body temperature.
If you’re planning to serve margaritas for your Gay Day brunch, consider these nearly indestructible "glasses" from DuraClear at Williams-Sonoma. Made of tough polycarbonate in New Zealand, a multicolored set of six costs $49.95 (although you can find them for less if you scout around).
Or consider these updated Club martini glasses from Sagaform in Sweden, a forward-looking fun company. The were designed by Matz Borgström, and—considering they’re hand blown—are a real bargain at $29.95 for a set of four, although they are not dishwasher safe. They come in other festive shapes, too, which include a dedicated schnapps glass. Can something be so wholesome-looking and yet decadent at the same time? You know the answer.
Speaking of fun, offer your guests their potable of choice in one of these 7-ounce Wobbles by Monica Lubkowska Jonas (2007). Unlike most glasses, they don’t have flat bottoms, so they roll around a bit on the table, making your guests wonder, perhaps, if they’ve had one sidecar too many. They're glass, made in Poland, and come in sets of four, either cool colors (top) or warm colors (bottom); $40 per set at the MoMA store.
Also at the MoMA store are these now-classic jewel-toned Curved glasses by Leonardo (1997). They’re not only rainbow-colored, but they have an arc in their architecture. Made in Turkey, they come in 8-ounce and 12-ounce sizes, in sets of six for $70 each.
Another reconsideration of traditional shapes comes in the form of refined Murano glass: These square-ish highball glasses are hand blown by the master craftsmen of Nason Moretti in Venice. We’re clearly moving up-market with these beauties: They cost $420 for a set of six, highball or old fashioned size, at the famed Gearys of Beverly Hills (someplace I have actually worked).
Speaking of Murano glass, Michael C. Fina offers these Gino Cenedese e Figlio Etched highball glasses (lowballs also available), for $202.50 per glass. They are part of the Battuti collection, which includes the giraffe-like patterned version shown as well as entirely clear or entirely etched versions (see genedesegino.it). Whatever you do, don’t smash one into the fireplace in a moment of unbridled enthusiasm. You can play Zorba the Greek with the Crate & Barrel barware.
Also from Europe, from the Czech Republic, to be precise, come these quirky yet highly refined Bohemian crystal Tipsy glasses from Moser, designed by Jirí Rydlo in 2002. They come in many shapes and variations; the frosted double old fashioneds pictured are $160 each, or $985 in sets of six.
You can hold on to your rainbow even if you’ve been sweating over a hot steam/induction oven to prepare a fully formal sit-down dinner, thanks to the cristalleries of France. Note, for example, these water goblets from Saint Louis Crystal, founded in 1586; approx. $190/stem through Michael C. Fina.
Michael C. Fina will also be happy to sell you some of these extraordinary hock glasses from Saint Louis at $240 each.
Last but not least in the realm of luxury rainbow glassware are these towering Flutissimo from Baccarat's Vega collection of full-lead crystal, hand-crafted stems; $225 each through Neiman Marcus.
To bring things back to the attractive but realistically affordable, consider some ice tea, a gin and T, or a Tom Collins in one of these flirty Rainbow tall glasses by Leonardo; 10 ounces, only £3.60 or approx. $5.50 each from Made in Design in the U.K.
So whether you’re spending the summer lounging beside the pool, sur la plage, on deck, in the woods, alfresco, under the trellis of a garden gazebo, from a penthouse terrace, or overlooking the grounds of a country home here or abroad, you can, keep your rainbow connection alive. After all, in the words of Kermit the Frog, “Rainbows have nothing to hide.”—ML