How To Choose The Right Decanter For Your Favorite Drinks

How-To Guides

Sommelier pouring wine from a decanter

A decanter is most widely used for storing and serving wine, especially red ones. However, decanters are also used with different spirits, including whiskey, tequila, brandy, vodka, cognac, and scotch.

Some individuals assume that decanters are only there to add to the table's elegance. This may be the case for spirits and other liquors but not for wines. Decanters have the incredible power to enhance the aroma and flavor of your favorite wine.

But with so many various choices on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? In this blog, we will aid you in selecting the perfect decanter for your needs!

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Spirits That You Put In a Decanter

  • Whiskey
  • Scotch
  • Cognac
  • Vodka
  • Bourbon
  • Tequila 
  • Gin 
  • Rum 
  • Brandy

Wines That You Put in a Decanter

  • Young and old wines
  • Cabernet Sauvignon 
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Burgundy
  • Malbec
  • Pinot noir
  • Zinfandel
  • White wines
  • Rosé wines

Period Alcohol Should Stay In a Decanter

The timescale where you can store alcoholic beverages in a decanter is different for spirits and wines. Spirits can be kept in the crystal container for a significantly longer time compared to wines. 

If stored in a lead-free decanter, spirits can be preserved for up to a year, given that it does not have direct contact with heat sources and are kept in a room temperature setting. The alcohol expands as the heat increases, allowing it to evaporate more rapidly. 

Of course, you must store the liquor in an airtight sealed decanter to last for a year, but it is still best to consume it earlier for better quality. 

On the other hand, Wines can be stored for a much shorter time depending on the type of wine. Rosé and white wines can last for 4 to 5 days, while red wines and ports can be kept in a decanter for 3 to 6 days. 

If you cannot immediately finish a bottle of wine transferred in a decanter, be sure to refrigerate it.

Purpose of Decanter for Spirits

Whiskey decanter and a glass of whiskey

Compared to wine, spirits are much less reactive to air. The taste of the liquor or spirit will not be affected or changed if it is transferred in a decanter or not. It will not improve or degrade the spirit's quality as long as it is stored in an airtight container or decanter.

In connection to this, the primary purpose of putting spirits or liquor in a decanter is simply for presentation. 

Unlike wine, there is no need to decant spirits like whiskey or tequila because they do not need to be ventilated. Also, there is no need to filter sediments in these liquors because they do not contain any. 

Spirits are transferred in the decanter because they are more visually appealing when served in a carafe. It adds sophistication to a dining table or in a home bar and shows some personality. Aesthetics is essential in consuming liquors because it completes the whole drinking experience.

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Why You Need a Decanter for Wines?

Wine decanter and a glass of wine

Apart from the aesthetics and ornamental reasons, using a decanter has a lot of benefits to wines. Sediments, which emit bad taste, settle in the bottom of wine bottles, and the decanter helps separate them from the wine.

Another reason which decanters are used for wines is it improves their flavor by aerating them. Aeration expands all of the wine's hidden aromas and tastes by softening the tannins. Decanter lets the wine breathe and expand, especially after its flavors and scents are stuck in the bottle. 

How to Choose the Right Decanter for Spirits and Wine

A poorly aerated (or decanted) wine can ruin your dinner party and turn off friends in an instant. It's essential to choose the right glass for each occasion, which may be tricky when you're unsure of what type of decanter is most suitable.

You need to consider several factors apart from aesthetics, such as functionality and longevity. These include:

  • Lead-free Glass

It is highly recommended to utilize a decanter free from lead and other toxic materials. Even relatively small amounts of lead exposure can cause long-term harm. 

Higher amounts of lead can harm the kidneys and brain system, and extremely high levels can result in convulsions, unconsciousness, and even death. 

  • Material

Decanters are made out of a variety of glass varieties. Two of which are crystal glass and standard glass. Both are wonderful options and have their own advantages.

Crystal is more robust and durable, so it is frequently used to construct big creative and aesthetically pleasing decanters. On the other hand, standard glass decanters have stronger walls and simpler designs. Another key difference between the two designs is that standard glass is usually dishwasher-safe, and crystal one is not.

Of course, you should avoid a conventional glass decanter with thin walls and a fancy form; but if it is borosilicate glass, then it is worth it. Unlike regular glass, borosilicate glass will not break when exposed to high-temperature conditions. This material for a decanter is preferable because of its durability.

  • Size

The size of the decanter to choose should be based on your own liking. You should consider the body of the wine, the spirit or wine bottle size you usually consume, the number of people you’ll serve liquor, and the storage space you will put it in if not in use. 

Decanting is unnecessary for brandy, rum, and other distilled liquor, so any size of your preference will do. It is best to pour them in a wide-based decanter for full-bodied red wines. While for medium and light-bodied red wines, a medium-sized decanter is ideal.

Moreover, rosé and white wines do not really require decanting but aeration instead. Aeration is necessary because it helps the consumer fully appreciate a wine's character by boosting its flavor and fragrance. A small-sized and chilled decanter is suitable for the said wines. 

For night drinking alone or with another person or two, a standard bottle of wine of 750 mL should be enough size of a decanter. However, buying a magnum-sized decanted is more practical if you wish to serve more people.

  • Shape and Design

The decanter's design and form are a matter of personal preference and what you believe would look more pleasing and exquisite when serving the distilled spirit or wine.

When picking a decanter for wine, keep in mind the decanter size is more important. The broader the decanter's base is, the more air exposure the wine will have, enabling the wine's surface to come into contact with oxygen. However, it will be challenging to serve the drink if it is excessively broad, especially the remaining glasses.

Conclusion

There are many styles and shapes of decanter on the market, which is why you need to consider the factors mentioned before making a purchase. Hopefully, this guide will help you choose the best one!

Do you have any questions about this topic? Share it with us!

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