Shape matters

Alisha Shinde
Wednesday, 30 May 2018

You can pour your favourite wine or ale into any glass you like, but the right glassware can make a huge difference. You need to know this if you are having a bar night at home

Wondering which glass to use for your red wine? Or which glass to pour the mojito in? You may have seen fancy glasses at the bar, from wine goblets to champagne flutes, beer mugs, martini glass and so on, and may have thought why one has a wide mouth or a long stem, or why one is tall and slender and the other short and stubby? 

These glasses with a particular shape are not a part of the bar just because they look good. They have a specific purpose. Wine is served in a goblet and champagne in a flute for good reason. Different glassware has evolved in order to make each drink different and better. You may have a wonderful new liquor in your hand but if you don’t pour it into the right glass, you will not enjoy the drink. The right type of glass can enhance its taste and aroma and correct the temperature to improve your drinking experience. This information will come handy, especially if you are planning to set up a bar at home.  

Talking about how glasses play an important role when it comes to serving drinks, Nilesh Patel from Viman Nagar Social, who is the beverage head, West region (Pune and Mumbai), says, “Each drink has a characteristic of its own and the glasses are simply used to enhance these characteristics.” Patel adds that the barware or glassware used while serving a drink is the backbone of a good drink. 

Kunal Bansal, owner of Lord of the Drinks, Kalyani Nagar, says, “Each glass has a purpose.” He adds that while serving a drink two factors need to be taken into consideration:  “The aroma should be evident and the temperature should be just right which all depends on the glass that you serve the drink in.” 

Talking about the different types of glasses that are used exclusively for wines, Patel says that the regular goblets are usually used to serve red wines, while white wines are poured in long stemmed goblets. “Champagne or sparkling wines have a characteristic of their own, they are fizzy and bubbly. To retain the bubbles, they are served in a flute,” he adds. He explains that since the goblets have a wide mouth it helps the wine to evolve and one can enjoy the aroma and texture of the wine. The long stem ensures that the heat from the body is not transferred to the drink and the ideal temperature is maintained. He adds that since champagnes are carbonated drinks they are served in narrow mouth goblets. 

When it comes to beer, not all glassware was created to be equal. Of course you could pour your favourite ale into whatever container you want but there is a reason why particular styles of beer are traditionally served in specific types of beer glasses. Beer glasses are designed in a certain way to enhance the aromatic compounds inherent to different types of beers. 

“When it comes to beers, the most common ones are beer mugs, IPA glasses, stout glasses and pilsner glasses,” says Bansal, out of which the beer mugs are a total classic. 

He explains that Stout beers are usually served in stout glasses because the shape of the base and the angle of the bowl accentuate the roasted malts and notes of the rich coffee and the narrow mouth of the glass enhance the head (frothy foam). He further adds that since pilsner glasses are tall, slim and slightly wider at the mouth, it makes the sparkle and the bubbles of the lighter beers visible and at the same time helps retain the head which in turn keeps the aroma locked under your nose. 

“The ridges on the IPA glass aerate the beer with each sip which releases the aroma in the process,” says Bansal. 

The other types of glasses which are commonly seen at bars are the martini glasses, high ball glasses, hurricane glasses and old-fashioned glasses. Bansal says that the high ball glasses are used to serve tall cocktails and drinks that are non-alcoholic poured over ice. “Hurricane glasses are usually used to serve tropical drinks with a cocktail umbrella,” he adds.

Patel further mentions that martini glasses differ from traditional cocktail glasses because of their larger bowl and fully conical shaped bottom. “Old-fashioned glasses are used for drinks such as Scotch,” he says adding that with newer concepts of drinks coming up, there are several other new and unconventional glasses which are now being used. “For instance, the lantern and the bong glasses have gained in popularity because of their unique shape and size. Usually, cocktails are served in these glasses which give the drinks a quirky characteristic and a fun experience too.” 

However, they both agree that drinks can be served in any vessel or glass one wishes to but the true characteristic of a drink comes to life only when served in a glass which was made for it.

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