Hey there friend!
Have you ever seen someone bring their own glassware to a bar, or tasting? I’m sure if you have one of your first thoughts may have been something along the lines of what a snot! Trust me I was there once too, I would have absolutely thought they were being a little rediculous. However, there is actually science behind the glassware you use and how your spirits taste!
Let’s dive in shall we?!
Essentially the different types of glassware that we have available now, have evolved to make our spirits and cocktails taste better. The glassware is desiged to accentuate the aroma, colors, flavors, and hold the temperature of the cocktail. Many times they also assist the bartender in proper serving sizes.
For example, the well known martini glass. Because martinis typically do not contain ice, these glasses provide a long stem so the warmth of your hand doesnt warm the cocktail.
You may have also noticed that bars almost always serve their cocktails in glass and not plastic, this is important as well! The alcohol can act as a solvent on the plastic, especially when left to sit for a period of time or if it has a high alcohol conent. It then creates a “plasticy” flavor to the drink changing the overall taste, which needless to say is not the goal.
Ok, we’ve gone over drinking from different glassware, now let’s talk about washing it! Did you know that when washing a scotch (american single malt) glass you do not want to use soap or a brush to clean the glass? The best way to clean it is warm water and gently rubbing your fingers around the inside of the glass, before any residue has been left behind and dried. There is a chance, although small, that when washing a glass with soap that some of the soap residue will stay in the glass. The next time scotch is poured into that glass the soap will bind to the scotch’s aroma and alter both the smell and flavor. Not a risk I suggest taking.
I’ve created a little cheat sheet about some of the more common glassware you may see below.
Wine glass– There are two basic types of wine glasses, the red and the white. While both glasses will most likely have astem the red wine glass with have a more round bowl shape to better aerate the wine while the white wine glass willhave a smaller opening so that the wine doesnt over aerate and oxidize to fast.
Flutes– These glasses are tall and thin to help keep those bubbles going for ya. Less surface area helps them to last longer.
Highball– These are your typical bar glass, they are nice and tall to make that drink look large! They are mostly used for drinks that do not contain as much alcohol as mixers.
Old Fashioned– These glasses are more likely to be used in a cocktail with more alcohol content. They also are frequently used if you are muddling, or just ordering a neat or on the rocks.
Glencairn– These are a favorite for me. These nosing glasses are perfectly made for tasting whiskey, and have been created to get the most flavor possible out of every sip.
Snifter- Cradle this baby in your hand as you swirl your spirit. The large bowl shape allows for a perfect gentle swirl and the wide top allows for the aroma to really escape the glass so you get a larger wiff of the flavor profile as you sip.
Now of course there are alot more options out there for you, we chose to share some of the more common glassware that you will see.