I have a ritual to enjoy beverages after dinner or supper. A glass has to be transparent. Its form should be in relevance with alcohol’s character. Otherwise, my mood and appetite are ruined. I got interested about a reason behind it. I looked it up on the internet and read few blogs.
What I thought was aesthetics, turned out to be a scientific conclusion. It turns out, the shape of a drinking vessel influences organoleptic indicator of wine, which are its taste and flavour. It gives a direction to the stream of a drink and shows the best qualities of wine. Apparently, we feel the sweet taste with the tips of our tongues, and feel acidity with its sides. This is why sommeliers pay attention to three components – material, thickness and shape of a drinking glass.
A special form distributes wine according to taste receptors in a mouth. This secret of alcohol was discovered in a small glass-producing factory in Germany. A century has passed since then and this factory has become the biggest crystal glass producer in the world. According to Riedel design, glasses of special shape and material were created for 18 types of alcoholic beverages. Last year, they created 19th special vessel for Georgian Saperavi. Those who know this business understand that a glass with special design is a prestige of a country and significantly determines the success of a business.
It’s strange, but different types of wine are enjoyed from glasses of different shapes.
Red wine is enjoyed from “inflated” round glasses. For white whine narrow glasses are also used. Compared to narrow glasses, in wide glasses the surface is bigger for wine contact with the air, hence, phenolic compounds and other components transform faster and influence the taste and aroma of wine.
Sommeliers, wine-makers and critics agree on few main principles:
The stem of a glass should be high. If we touch the bowl of a glass, we will leave fingerprints on it and we will not be able to see what we are drinking. The warmth of fingers also changes the temperature of wine in a glass. This is why the bowl should never be touched. It is advisable to enjoy wine from a half full 200 ml “chardonnay” glass with a longer stem.
Rum was Hemingway’s second favourite drink after daiquiri. It is also called a vodka of pirates. It is made from sugar cane and they drink it from glasses with thick bottom. Its creators called it old fashioned. You should wash the glass well before using it, so that aroma does not get an unpleasant tone. Sommeliers even steam it before using.
There is a superstition, that if you start a day with champagne, you are going to have a successful day. If you do not believe in this and other superstitions, just trust the sparkling taste.
Open a cupboard and look for champagne flutes hidden in cardboard boxes. Wash them well, as they tend to get cardboard taste and then pour! It is better to enjoy brut or dry champagne from them. You are lucky if you can afford the most expensive Dom Pérignon. This glass is the only one to which this luxurious drink adapts to.
Grappa is an Italian chacha, which is enjoyed from narrow tulip-shaped grappa glasses. In Georgia we drink vodka and similar beverages from approximately the same type of glasses. The design is specifically created for neutralizing strong and bitter taste.
I do not know why, but with its mood and aesthetic this glass reminds me of a French bulldog. Hmm… probably because I connect it to an old photograph, which shows Churchill with a cigar, he is holding exactly this type of glass and there is a French bulldog next to him. I saw this picture a long time ago, probably, in one of the schoolbooks.
This glass is used for hard drinks - cognac, brandy, and sometimes even whiskey. It is a wide round glass with a smaller rim, which I always touch uncomfortably with my skinny fingers.
The stemware of this category is of few types and there is a principal difference between them. Some of them have a wider rim than the others. The reason for this is simple. If not this glass, the aggressive aroma and alcohol of fresh cognac would not have been pleasant. The size of a rim quickly gets rid of this steam. Old cognacs are enjoyed from glasses with narrow rim. Their volume is between 70-400 ml.
However, snifters are the most popular. Their volume starts from 420 ml and goes up to 840 ml. It must be pretty hard to use it for people with skinny fingers. However, designers did not stop here. They have created a 3000 ml glass. They say that instead of keeping the aroma, it helps to disperse it and creates a new taste. We should trust professionals.
You will not need a large glass if you plan to enjoy port wine.
This wine is enjoyed from 160 ml glasses. This is for a reason. It covers a strong smell and unpleasant taste of alcohol on account of concentrating aromatic substances.
Vodka shot glass
Short, 25 to 50 ml glasses, also known as shots. Their design is very simple. You take it, open your mouth, tilt your head back and quickly drink it. It’s so simple.
Our barmen mostly use a large wide rim glass, which in a dictionary of bartenders is called a highball glass. In nightclubs, they usually make vodka + energy drinks in them. In bars they use it for Bloody Mary, screwdriver and Harvey Wallbanger. Its volume is not more than 400 ml and it is also referred as Slim Jim.
Everybody can recognize a martini glass. It has a high stem and its bowl looks like an umbrella upside down. It is a universal one and fits every drink. However, it is mostly used for serving tropical cocktails like margarita. Its volume is 250 ml. Do not dance while you are holding it, as you will lose your drink.