Last updated on May 19th, 2017
A-hem. If, for you, alcohol is the devil’s brew, then please avert your eyes. For today’s post deals with wine and cocktails, and specifically, the kind of glassware from which they ought to be served. Plastic cups are forbidden, of course, unless you are as young and foolish as I once was, and your idea of fine wine is a bottle of Blue Nun.
The Blue Nun in question. I drank it simply because I did not know any better. Also, the label was a beautiful shade of blue.
Now where were we?
Today, I love to invite friends over for drinks and nibbles. The food is really easy to prepare, and everyone — including the host! — gets to mix, mingle, and relax with a glass in hand.
Which glass for which drink?
I’m so glad you asked.
Make no mistake — bar ware is purposefully designed. Glasses are uniquely shaped to enhance the aromatic essences of wines and cocktails, or, in the case of sparkling things like Prosecco, to preserve carbonation. I count the following pieces in my collection of cocktail party must-haves:
Red wine goblets. These have large, balloon-shaped bowls. The design permits the swirling and aerating of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir, and other red wines. You can find such glasses at better kitchen-supply stores, or purchase them in sets from Amazon.
Unlike their red wine colleagues, white wine goblets have a fairly narrow bowl and an extra-long stem. The small surface area slows oxidation of the wine, while allowing its subtle scents (a/k/a “notes”) to escape upwards towards the nose. White wine glasses should always be held by the stem. Otherwise, your hand will warm the wine. Pictured above: a set of 4 Paksh Italian White Wine Goblets, $19.95 from Amazon.
Champagne flutes have a long, narrow body and a tiny mouth. Confined this way, bubbles do not dissipate too quickly. (Who wants flat Champagne or Prosecco?)Flutes are inexpensive and easy to find at department stores and kitchen supply stores. A set of 12 can be had for just $39.95 at Amazon.
The famous V-shaped cocktail glass is a must-have for my own favorite drink: the martini! The broad surface area lets you inhale the exquisite herbal aromas released by good gin. The best cocktail (martini) glasses are designed with a 4 1/2-inch mouth. You can buy them in sets of 4 for $19.99 from Amazon.
High ball glass. I use this tall tumbler for Bloody Marys, mojitos, and other drinks that are poured over ice.They’re great for iced tea, too. Crystal high balls — 4 to a set — are available for $24.95 from Amazon.
The low ball glass is for bourbon, scotch, whisky, and other alcoholic beverages that are served either neat or on-the-rocks. The glasses are designed with a weighted base for “muddling” (the pounding of mint leaves or other ingredients with a spoon or pestle). Pictured above: USA-made low ball glasses, a set of 2 for $21.95 from Amazon.
And what about stemless wine glasses? I own two sets of these but rarely use them. Keep in mind that stems are not meant to be decorative. They provide a way to hold a glass so that hands do not affect the temperature of the wine.
Alrighty then. I hope you enjoyed this short post. If you’d like some advice on how, exactly, to host a cocktail event, just drop me a line in the comments field below. After all, I want you to be a guest at your own party!
Related: Make-Ahead Cocktail Party Appetizers