Are you a professional bartender or restaurant waitstaff? Or are you eager to host your first-party? If so, understanding the different types of glassware can spell success for your career or your party-hosting stint.
Most people think that glasswares can house all sorts of drinks - from juices, smoothies, wines, beers, among others. But some glassware is designed to enhance your drink’s flavor and aroma, particularly those with alcohol content.
We listed essential glassware to invest in should you consider working for a bar or having a party.
Brief History of Glasswares
The art and science of making glass date back as far as 3,600 B.C. in Mesopotamia. However, modern glass production was discovered in 1674 by George Ravenscroft, a forerunner in contemporary crystal glass production. No wonder Ravenscroft crystal glasses are still among the most respected styles of glassware around the globe.
When glasswares were introduced in the market, only the affluent could afford to purchase them given their high price. Since then, glassware production has undergone significant innovations, from various designs to affordability.
Different Types of Glassware
From wine glasses to goblets, glasswares have truly evolved. Here are some types of glassware you should get familiar with.
1. Everyday Use Glasses
Everyday use glasses are usually used during meals. They have the lowest price point of all the glasswares listed since they face the highest likeability to be broken, especially when you have kids around.
Since these glasses are always brought out of the kitchen, the chances of getting worn out are higher, thus the affordability of its price. For this type of glass, tumblers are considered the most common choice.
When choosing the design or color of your everyday use glasses, you should also consider other components in the table, such as plates and serving bowls. If you are using plates with intricate designs or painting, your best choice for glassware is plain, so it will not clash with your dinnerware design.
2. Wine Glasses
You can purchase one set for everyday use for wine glasses and another set for special occasions or when you have company. Regular use of stemware is more on the practical side. In contrast, special occasion glasses can be more costly and more appropriate for the wine or liquor you are serving.
Red wine glasses come in various styles, especially if you consider the grape varietal specialty of the wine you are having. However, for practical purposes, connoisseurs and sommeliers recommend having a Bordeaux, Pinot Noir, or cabernet wine glass since these glasses are more suited to almost all wines.
The most important feature of a red wine glass is the big bowl and slightly tapering rim. This design allows air to move freely inside the wine glass, allowing the wine to breathe so the aromas and flavors are released. Tannins and sulfites are also dissipated with the mixing of air with the wine.
Although red wine glasses are also used to release more flavors and aroma into your liquor, there are also specific ways you can enhance the quality of your wine through decanting or aerating. Both these methods allow the wine to develop more intensity and complexity, flavorwise and smell-wise.
The glass’s choice for white wine glasses is also essential because the right glass brings out the wine’s nuances, highlighting its delicate aroma and flavor. Delicate white wines are best served in an all-purpose white wine glass slightly smaller than the standard red wine glass.
Full-bodied white wines are better served in wine glasses that are more U-shaped. To serve both the light and full-bodied wines, a standard white wine glass is your best choice.
However, if you prefer a single wine varietal, you might as well buy a varietal-specific wine glass, so the nuances of your particular wines are enhanced.
Other Types of Wine Glasses
Aside from the standard wine glasses, other types of wines need attention when choosing and buying glassware. Wines needing special attention are port, sherry, and Madeira, which are dessert wines. These wine glasses are usually smaller than the regular wine glass, although the shape is not much different.
For the Sauternes, an overly expensive wine, glassmakers craft a specialty glass for this varietal that emphasizes the wine’s acidity to even out its sweetness. The drink had a V-shaped bowl that tapers gradually on the upper half of the glass into a small rim.
3. Water Goblet
Water goblets have a stockier and shorter stem and a deeper bowl. So, it stands mostly at the same height as a standard wine glass. For that matter, wine glasses have a slimmer, longer stem, and the bowl is more distinct compared to a water goblet.
As a guest, the water goblet is the first stemware to be filled as you arrive, so there is no confusion about where the wine should be poured into. If you are a host in any gathering, a water goblet is used in a more formal setting. For intimate and simple get-togethers, a standard everyday use glass can work just fine to serve water.
4. Beer Glasses
Beer glasses are a league in themselves. With the numerous beer styles and types, it’s no wonder that beer glasses want to vie with wine glasses in terms of designs available. The more common glasses under this category are the Weizen, pilsner, pint, nonic, stange, and the ubiquitous beer mug.
5. Liqueur Glasses
Liqueur and cordial glasses are tiny glasses that are used to serve, well, liqueurs and cordials. These stemmed glasses’ capacity ranges from 1 oz. (30ml) to 4.5 oz. (130ml). Grappa, tulip-shaped stemmed glassware with fewer than 4 ounces, is an example of this type of glasses.
Liqueurs, not to be confused with liquors, include Amaretto, Kahlua, Vermouth, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and absinthe, to name a few. The liqueurs list seems endless, but the truth remains that they make any cocktail even more enticing and refreshing.
Cordials, on the other hand, can be both alcoholic or non-alcoholic. They are meant to be served as a medicinal tonic and are usually sweet with a syrup-like consistency. Since they are typically sweet, they are served in small glasses as they are meant to accompany desserts.
6. Specialty Glasses
Among the more known specialty glasses are the coupe, martini glass, Collins glass, highball glass, hurricane glass, Irish coffee glass, and shot glass. Worthy of mentioning is the plain pint glass, which can be used with a bigger Boston shaker tin if the smaller tin is not available.
Glassware Buying Guide
Before you jump into buying your glassware, check out the tips listed here so you can be more informed.
When buying glassware, consider its use. If it is meant for daily use, go for the sturdier type with thicker bottom and sides. Everyday use glasses should also be easier to clean, meaning they can go into the dishwasher and not have crannies that may harbor leftover drinks, ingredients, or coloring.
Think also of the age of the kids who may be using the glasses. We would prefer short and wide glasses for daily use since they are the easiest to wash and dry.
When buying glasses, also consider the material. For your water glasses, soda-lime glasses are the most common since they are cheap, thick, and dishwasher-safe. Borosilicate glasses are a better choice for everyday use glasses since they have the luster of crystal and have high resistance to temperature changes.
When buying glassware, consider your time and enthusiasm for washing them. Find glasses that can withstand the rigors of the dishwasher detergent, wash pressure, and heat. When using the dishwasher, set it to air dry since the heat tends to build up detergent residue, resulting in lackluster glasses.
Whether your glasses are washed by hand or in a dishwasher, one of the top concerns is soap residue and water spots. Soap residue is a no-no since it can affect the taste of your wine. Water spots usually result when glassware is left to dry on its own.
After some water drips, use a soft cloth that does not leave lint on the glass to wipe it dry. Use one microfiber towel to hold the glass while the other is used to wipe it dry so you don’t leave streaks on the clean glass.
Thickness and Color
If you are buying a wine glass, your best bet is thin glasses since the glass thickness affects the wine’s taste. Another thing you have to consider when buying stemware is the color. Clear stemware is preferable for wines, liquors, and beer since it displays the drink’s unique and appealing color.
Size is another thing you have to consider. Research shows that people tend to consume more alcohol from bigger glasses than from smaller ones. This is because they think that they are having the same servings when, in fact, a bigger glass may have 1-2 ounces more than the smaller glass.
Choose a set of glassware that fits your budget. There is no reason to buy an expensive set of stemware and use it to serve cheap wine. Determine a price point you are comfortable with.
Glasses from more reputable glass manufacturers are usually a bit pricier than less known manufacturers, especially if you plan to buy specialty glasses. Prepare to pay between $25-50 per set of 2 wine glasses and more if you prefer crystal stemware. The same is true for other glassware.
Hosting a party for the first time is your initiation into the party scene. Having the right information as to the different types of glasses will save you a lot of embarrassment. Confidence is a must for a successful party host, and the right knowledge will give you that kind of confidence.