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JAZ

Glassware

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You've both talked about stocking liquors and mixers -- how about an overview of what glasses are essential to a good home bar?

Plus, here are a couple of additional questions:

Why do you think cocktail glasses are getting so large? It seems to me that more than about four or five ounces is just silly.

And Gary, why don't you like cocktail glasses?

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Sorry Janet--book and magazine editors sometimes make me write about "essential glassware" and it bores me silly! :biggrin:

I will say a little about cocktail glasses, though.

First off they are getting bigger for the same reason that most restaurants in the USA serve you enough food to take home and live off for 3 or 4 more days. People like big.

I don't like cocktail glasses because, when filled to the brim, they are so darned hard to get to your mouth without spilling. Simple as that. I use champagne flutes at home--just as stylish, easy to hold, and the aromas get concentrated at the neck.

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No problem. Don't want you to get bored. :cool:

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First off they are getting bigger for the same reason that most restaurants in the USA serve you enough food to take home and live off for 3 or 4 more days. People like big.

Umm, errrr -- Who was it that started that "Supersize Me!" craze of the fast food world???? :wink:

(Yes, I've had guests say that to me as I poured out the contents of the cocktail shaker into our new large cocktail glasses :rolleyes: ).

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Riedel just came out with wineglasses without stems. Seems the present head of the company decided it was silly to have glasses he couldn't put in the dishwasher. He gets a round of applause from me. Your thoughts? Robyn

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I love stems. There is an anti-utilitarian grace to them and, if held with care the drink may stay just that much colder a few seconds longer. Mainly it's the looks. There is no reason nice stemware can't be designed with dishwashers in mind, either. This also brings to mind Gary's cautionary tale about overfilling leading to a Champagne tulip.

I've got a gigantic glassware collection. If an antique bar guide calls for some arcane vessel, the hunt is on! In the collecting I have stemware that work admirably in the dishwasher as well as glasses that seem not to invite filling to the brim. If I can grasp the system for doing so, I'll post them here with a familiar bottle for scale:

glasses.jpg

The one on the left is my default cocktail glass. It corrects Gary's problem because, unlike most, it is well balanced, isn't topheavy and doesn't slosh so easily. With the more steeply angled sides of the glass, it also feels easier not to yearn to top it off.

The glass on the right works in just about any drinkwasher, still holds a reasonable volume, and retains that lovely sweep of line I love so much. Folks who approach cocktails with trepidation seem also to find this glass a bit more comforting.

I have stemless cocktailware as well, and for certain drinks I use it for a specific effect, but for me, stems will always rule!

--Doc.


Edited by drcocktail (log)

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You need stems - where else to hold the glass be able to look fucking posh?

Well - I guess you'd hold the glass - well - like a glass :smile: . Granted - the Riedel "O" collection - as they call it - won't go with Manolos. But I can't wear those shoes and stand up at the same time. And these glasses will save me from the ultimate faux pas - grabbing the stem too tightly and breaking it (which I have - sadly - done on more than one occasion). I guess we will have to say that these are wine glasses for people who wear Birkenstocks (mea culpa <sigh>). Robyn

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Ah, I understand, but Riedel compliments aside, my glass is of Libbey extraction - something they abortively attempted for a wine glass. I saw the value and bought tons of them (they'd discounted them) and have been very pleased.

As for stem breakage -- my dear, you are so passionate! We all have so much we work into who we are, there can never be a "correct" glass. You've found what's right for you, and by the sound of you, you'll make it perfectly regal.

--Doc.

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I love stems. There is an anti-utilitarian grace to them and, if held with care the drink may stay just that much colder a few seconds longer. Mainly it's the looks. There is no reason nice stemware can't be designed with dishwashers in mind, either. This also brings to mind Gary's cautionary tale about overfilling leading to a Champagne tulip.

I love stems too. My current favorite looks very much like the one you show on the right, but the stem on mine tapers down more. One thing that I really like about it is that the top curves in almost imperceptibly, which helps minimize sloshing. And come to think of it, maybe that's why I never like to fill it to the rim. But my glass is very small, especially when compared to the newer giant glasses -- it holds just shy of 4 ounces if filled to the rim; a better size drink for the glass is 3 ounces. So I make my drinks small, they stay cold, and I can switch drinks more often that way. Besides, they're just so damn cute.

What I don't have is good rocks glasses. Any suggestions on those?

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My faves are the ones all the great old bars in NOLA now use. I mean they ALL use them. They look fastastically original, but are new, new, new. I have to suspect Libbey - those silica daredevils to whom I turn for all my fancy (not second hand) glassware needs!

Wish I had a pic...call Tujaques!

--Doc.

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I love stems. There is an anti-utilitarian grace to them and, if held with care the drink may stay just that much colder a few seconds longer. Mainly it's the looks. There is no reason nice stemware can't be designed with dishwashers in mind, either. This also brings to mind Gary's cautionary tale about overfilling leading to a Champagne tulip.

I've got a gigantic glassware collection.

I have a rather large collection as well. All stems too.

I particularly enjoy the yearly gift offerings from Bombay Sapphire (the older ones that are signed from prominent designers -- Patricia Heller, Ulla Darni, Richard Jolley).

My absolute favs are cocktail glasses I got from an antique store that were once fun, disposable partyware from the nifty fifties. Black plastic bases with a corkscrew shaped, anodized aluminum stem and a clear "cup." I have both red and blue coloured stems and are on display, not for use. They are really cool.

On a sad note, Claus Riedel died, March 17.

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The cool thing about cocktail glasses is that they can be colored--a single tint or multi. Don't want to do that with wine. However, I prefer cocktail glassware that is interesting piece by piece--pick one or two up whenever or wherever you see them--we have zillions. No need to have sets or matching or anything--even in size. Indeed our little Morgantown rooster cocktail stems are about a 4-ounce capacity, and that's great when you know you'll want 2 or even 3 drinks over the course of the evening.

A great Reidel glass is terrific, but Gary is a klutz--we can't afford to let him near them.

Plus I totally disagree with Gary's schtick about cocktail (martini) glasses--I think the shape is beautiful and sexy, and personally spurn his habit of using champagne flutes in their stead.

I really like stemless glasses--especially when their shape is a little extraordinary. I like to buy them--just one or two, mind you--when we travel, because then every time you drink for it you rember the great place you picked it up. Ebay is excellent place to pick up individual glasses in small lots.

My biggest tip to everyone--Crate & Barrel makes Double Old Fashioned glasses that are my hands-down favorites. The glass is verrrry thin, the bottoms are almost as thin as the sides, they weigh almost nothing and yet they are remarkably sturdy. And they cost only $2 or so apiece. Don't go buy them all out or I'll be heartbroken.

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Mardee, do you actually HAVE glasses colored, I mean like after the fact? If so, that DOES sound cool!

--Doc.

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My biggest tip to everyone--Crate & Barrel makes Double Old Fashioned glasses that are my hands-down favorites.  The glass is verrrry thin, the bottoms are almost as thin as the sides, they weigh almost nothing and yet they are remarkably sturdy.  And they cost only $2 or so apiece.  Don't go buy them all out or I'll be heartbroken.

Is the one you like called the Tempo? A search for "double old fashioned" on the Crate & Barrel website brings up 32 choices- but this sounds closest to what you are describing.

Thanks for a great Q&A. It is 9am in California, and I am still drinking my coffee, but suddenly I am craving a cocktail... :wink:


Edited by marie-louise (log)

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Ah, I understand, but Riedel compliments aside, my glass is of Libbey extraction - something they abortively attempted for a wine glass. I saw the value and bought tons of them (they'd discounted them) and have been very pleased.

As for stem breakage -- my dear, you are so passionate! We all have so much we work into who we are, there can never be a "correct" glass. You've found what's right for you, and by the sound of you, you'll make it perfectly regal.

--Doc.

Actually - apart from the Orrefors I got years ago - my glasses and stemware are a total hodgepodge. Some stems are BB&B - cheap. Others are expensive glasses bought at deep discount at a factory outlet place. We have terrible water where I live - and if you put any glassware in the dishwasher - it's shot in no time (totally etched and cloudy). I handwash the Orrefors - but I don't have enough time to make washing glasses by hand my life's work. Robyn

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Amen to that! Whoever thinks washing glasses by hand is fun raise their hands. Hey! Is anybody here?

I am unduly lucky because I actually live within driving distance of one of Libbey's rarified factory outlets. What fun it is going there! Because of my aforementioned proclivities (I live for the day someone comes over and challenges me to make drink X in the correct glass) I also poke my head in thrift stores every now and again. All I need are six of....everything. Eventually I get pretty close and even those for which I have only 1, well, that 1 is a gem!

Now an aside: The challenge fantasy. Sometimes it happens. I always start my cocktail get togethers with knowledgable cocktail folk with the exhortation "Ask for any drink you've always wanted to try, couldn't find the ingredients for, or simply thought no particular ingredient still existed for." Usually they say, "Doc, it's your house - you're the Doctor" and I'll make 'em something. But ONE time, I had a string band over for a small party and one of the members got this gleam in his eye and said, "got anything do ya? How about a Newfoundland Screech neat?" I rushed inside and brought him the whole bottle to admire. He was flabbergasted and delighted (but not so much as I!) :biggrin:

It's the little joys in life, and ok, I'm weird.

--Doc.

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Amen to that! Whoever thinks washing glasses by hand is fun raise their hands. Hey! Is anybody here?

I am unduly lucky because I actually live within driving distance of one of Libbey's rarified factory outlets. What fun it is going there! Because of my aforementioned proclivities (I live for the day someone comes over and challenges me to make drink X in the correct glass) I also poke my head in thrift stores every now and again. All I need are six of....everything. Eventually I get pretty close and even those for which I have only 1, well, that 1 is a gem!

Now an aside: The challenge fantasy. Sometimes it happens. I always start my cocktail get togethers with knowledgable cocktail folk with the exhortation "Ask for any drink you've always wanted to try, couldn't find the ingredients for, or simply thought no particular ingredient still existed for." Usually they say, "Doc, it's your house - you're the Doctor" and I'll make 'em something. But ONE time, I had a string band over for a small party and one of the members got this gleam in his eye and said, "got anything do ya? How about a Newfoundland Screech neat?" I rushed inside and brought him the whole bottle to admire. He was flabbergasted and delighted (but not so much as I!)  :biggrin:

It's the little joys in life, and ok, I'm weird.

--Doc.

Drinks for me would be easy. Nothing exotic. And I would be a happy camper - because I am just so sick of parties and receptions with nothing but lousy wine and lousier beer.

Don't know if you ever drive through the south on I-95. Our factory outlet mall near St. Augustine has a ton of great places that sell glassware - everything from traditional at Wedgewood to contemporary at a place called Homestyle (which has a lot of Rosenthal/Thomas glassware). Lenox, Dansk, etc., etc. Robyn

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