“Fill with mingled cream and amber, I will drain that glass again. Such hilarious visions clamber through the chamber of my brain”, wrote Edgar Allan Poe on the curious art of drinking. The seductive hue of an alcoholic concoction, made only more enticing by the glass in which it rests conjures some new memories of recent adventures through the southern California coastline where Jamie and I relaxed into our favorite way to explore a new city: cocktails & Uber.
As a designer, writer and perfectionist (my words, not Jamie’s), I’m inclined to notice details, especially small ones and especially ones that I’m particularly fond of. This past week, what I couldn’t escape was the use of the correct drinking vessel; something I find to be lost on many occasions and in many situations. Some places get it right and some places play it safe – anything with champagne goes in a flute, for example. UGH! A cocktail’s appeal does not lie solely with its ingredients and taste, but also with its presentation. For this purpose, owning a proper set of glassware is an absolute must, but understanding when and where to use the right vessel is without a doubt, paramount. If you’ve been to the shop, you know we have a penchant for beautiful things, and glassware is no exception. And if you haven’t noticed, the coupe has made a comeback and serves as VW&F’s drinking vessel of choice:
Popularly rumored to have been modeled after the breast of one Marie Antoinette, and while this rumor is ridiculous, since the glass was invented about 100 years before her birth and in England, I secretly wish it was true. Before it’s present popularity, you’d see this glass in the wedding space or in those 20s & 30s era films, but almost always, it was used to drink champagne from. This is particularly problematic because champagne looses its effervescence as it’s exposed to air and since the coupe has no shortage of exposed surface area, it’s not the best scientific approach to managing champagne consumption. The coupe is, however, ideal for display and responsible and polite consumption with its delicate stem supporting it’s cup-like bowl. Use a coupe for a St. Germain cocktail, Sidecar or an Aviation. Though the coupe is a lovely addition to your glassware collection, no bar is complete without some of these standards:
- The Old Fashioned or Double Old Fashioned (DOF). These can come with a number of design embellishments, but they’re almost exclusively used (and should be used) for drinks poured over ice or whiskey taken neat. The base is thick and sturdy to allow for muddling and the mouth is wide enough to accommodate large whiskey ice cubes (typically 2”-2.5”). Use this for an Old Fashioned, Sazerac, Gin & Tonic or Mojito:
- The Collins Glass – Long and lean, this glass is ideally designed to keep drinks colder, longer and to maximize effervescence #science. Pair these glasses with Tom Collins Ice Cubes or Crushed Ice. Use it for a Tom Collins, Gin Fizz, Scotch & Soda or a Sweet Ice Tea on a hot summer day:
- The High Ball is the Collins’ shorter, fatter cousin but by all accounts, will never sit home alone on a Saturday night. If you’re going to start your collection somewhere, start here. The High Ball is the most versatile vessel and most popular with drinks that call for a 2oz shot of liquor and a 10oz mixer (typically a juice or soda variety). Use if for a Highball, Rum & Coke or a Screwdriver:
- The Shot Glass, believe it or not, did not come into popularity as a drinking vessel until the late 20s, but is still today almost exclusively used for measuring the good stuff into your favorite concoction. As a drinking vessel, use it to get over a break-up or sip anything straight up… SLOWLY
- The Martini or Cocktail Glass – Used for similar varieties that you may find in a coup, for drinks both shaken or stirred, the Martini combines volume and elegance to your drink. VW&F loves these without the stem and will substitute the coupe, otherwise. Use these for Martinis, Cosmos or an ever satisfying Rain in the Park from our friends at Park Brugge... Next time you're in, order one - you won't be disappointed:
- The Flute is boring but essential for champagne. The narrow mouth keeps the fizzy in, while the stem, keeps your sweaty paws from warming the drink that should always be served cold. There’s some swanky new flute styles at VW&F that cast off the monotonous design that hasn’t changed in… forever - we’re kind of in love with these newbies:
- The White Wine Glass or Tulip Glass is less bulbous and with a smaller mouth than the red wine glass. This design allows the wine to stay colder, longer. Use it with a white or rosé:
- The Red Wine Glass will always have a large belly and mouth. This allows the wine to breath and release it’s aroma (or bouquet, if you’re that guy):
- The Cordial or Apéritif Glass is ideally used for dessert liqueurs - Splendid for before or after dinner. Port anyone?
- The Snifter or Brandy Snifter is used, as its name would suggest. Think of it: Brandy, cigars, a velvet smoking jacket in a dimly lit room with a roaring fire, a leather wingback chair and some poor animal’s head tacked to a wall. Never fill this glass, rather, lay it on its side and pour the liquor in until it just about leaks out. Hold in one hand (your warming hand) to allow the alcohol to get busy and evaporate vapors into the air… your nose will thank you. Use this for brandy, scotch or whiskey:
As I’m sure you all know, there’s about a 100 other glasses out there in the abyss, but these guys will get you moving in the right direction and have your home bar and entertaining game in tip-top shape and sure to impress at your next soirée.