Did you know that how we hold our glass affects how much liquid we consume and how quickly we do so? Although it might not seem vital, the shape of your cocktail glass matters! Different cocktail glasses have evolved to cater to various drinks, like margaritas, martinis, and the old fashioned, but have also been enhance the drinking experience. But what makes some glasses more suitable than others?
Cocktail glasses are different shapes because of their history. The earliest cocktail glasses were shaped like wide bowls. In the 1820s, bartenders started using a new kind of glass called a "tumbler," which had straight sides and was meant to hold ice. The birth of the rock glass we all know and love.
There are many reasons why cocktail glasses are of different shapes. The most obvious one is that cocktails have different flavours and textures, so the glass's profile can be used to enhance or complement these qualities.
For example, suppose you're serving an alcoholic beverage with a lot of citrus, like a lemon drop martini or something similar. In that case, you might want to use a smaller glass that tapers towards the top, which will help concentrate the aroma of your drink. Suppose you're serving something creamy or thick, like a milkshake or pina colada. In that case, you might want to use a large glass that's wider at the top—this will help increase surface area and allow people to see their beautiful drink without picking it up!
Additionally, different types of cocktails require other techniques. For instance, does your cocktail needs ice or not? A drink on the "rocks" needs to be able to hold enough ice to keep your cocktail chilled. An "up" drink needs no ice as it tends to be shaken instead - after all, shaking creates more dilution than stirring. The size of the glass can also affect how much ice you need.
Types of Glasses:
The Martini Glass is perhaps the most iconic cocktail glass in history. The name comes from its original purpose — it was explicitly designed for martinis! The glass's wide mouth creates a large service area, allowing the aromatics to develop. The shape narrows towards its base to help concentrate flavour as you sip on your drink. Finally, the stem ensures you can hold your cocktail without warming it up, making ice unnecessary.
Best Used For: Vodka Martinis
The Rocks Glass:
The Rocks Glass is probably the most recognizable, serving everything from the Gin & Tonic to Old Fashioneds and a simple Rum & Coke. A wide rim makes it perfect for any cocktail that calls for bigger ice cubes, while the heavy base means you can quickly muddler ingredients together.
Best Used For: Old Fashioned
A type of highball glass, the Collin's glass is tall and cylinder. Around 12 oz, people often use it to sip on bar classics like the Long Island Ice Tea, Tom Collins and the Paloma.
Best Used For: Tom Collins
Initially used for champagne, these popular glasses should be reserved for other types of cocktails. The wide mouth doesn't hold carbonation but is perfect for any cocktail served straight "up." The shape of the Coupe glass is also more functional than the Martini glass, which can be messy and unstable. We love serving a Whiskey Sour or Gimlet in these always fashionable glasses.
Best Used For: Whiskey Sours
The flute is another popular type of cocktail glass, particularly with Champagne or Prosseco. The tall, more narrow form better preserves carbonation than a wine glass. Thus this type of glass was popularized during the 1920s when the popularity of champagne increased significantly.
Best Used For: Champagne
So next time you order a drink at a bar or are thinking about having one at home, take a moment and check out your glassware. It has a bigger impact than you might think.
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