Stay Glassy - The Teasmith Glassware Guide
When it comes to glassware, the mind boggles. There are so many peculiar shaped glasses and each one holds its own story and its own tipple. So, next in our home bartender series and following on from our Tools of the Trade post, we thought we would put together the ultimate glassware guide so you know where you're putting your gin from your tequila.
The Balloon (or Copa de Balon) Glass
The Copa de Balon Glass dates back to Northern Spain in the 1700s. Whilst the English were drinking gin from long, tall Tom Collins glasses, the Spanish preferred the balloon glass. The Spanish are said to be the biggest gin drinkers in Europe, although knowing the Scottish, we aren't so sure.
Balloon glasses have really risen in popularity over the last 6 years due to a boom in London bars and the ever-growing demand for gin. Before that, balloon glasses were nowhere near as common in the UK and were used mostly for chain restaurant frozen daiquiris or bad home-cocktail attempts. Now, the balloon glass is being used to serve ice cool, garnished and refreshing gin and tonics. Ice melts much slower in a balloon glass and allows for lots of lime and garnishing. But the trick to drinking from a balloon glass is not to cradle it, as it makes the ice melt faster. Considering the glass is, well, twice the size, we aren't really complaining.
Next in our glassware guide; the iconic Martini glass. Associated with style, sophistication, and the odd spillage, the Martini is a "glassic." The origins of the Martini itself are 'muddled'. There are various theories, all suggesting the drink was created sometime in the 1800s.
The Martini glass actually came after the Martini cocktail. So the drink wasn't created with glassware in mind. The Martini glass wasn't created for aesthetics but for practicality. The long stem is to keep the cone bowl colder for longer, which is another reason why you should never cradle a cocktail. The wide rim of the glass is to give the drinker a good whiff of the drink. It's all about aroma! Cocktails served in Martini glasses are typically served straight up, and don't contain ice. Martini glasses are great for serving martinis (duh), cosmopolitans and straight up daiquiris.
Collins and Highball glasses are very similar. They are typically used to serve tall cocktails which contain a lot of non-alcoholic mixer. A Collins glass is typically taller and thinner and the highball glass is shorter and slightly fatter, but they are similar and can easily be confused, especially if you've had a few... More gin drinkers are changing their Collins glass up in favour of the Copa de Balon glass. But will we see the demise of the Collins glass? Unlikely, as the Collins / Highball glass is still favoured for cocktails such as the bloody mary and mojito.
Old Fashioned/Lowball/Rocks Glass
The Old Fashioned glass is a small, sturdy tumbler which has a thick, strong base. The solid base is to help make drinks that use 'muddled' ingredients. Typical drinks served in an Old Fashioned glass include the Old Fashioned (I know right? Bet you never seen that coming), the Negroni and the White Russian. The glass is also named a Rocks glass is because it is quite common to serve straight spirits "on the rocks" in this glass. And being in Scotland, that spirit is quite often whisky. Except we don't take our whisky on the rocks. We serve it straight up.
I think you all probably know a Champagne flute by now. I know we've certainly seen the bottom of one a good few times. The Champagne flute, like the Martini glass, wasn't created purely for aesthetics. This is where it gets all sciency and a bit confusing but basically, the Champagne flute was created to keep the Champagne fizzy for as long as possible. But by the time we get to the bottom of a Champagne glass, we've forgotten all about the bubbles.
The rule book has totally been chucked out the window for the Champagne flute. Instead of just serving champagne, the flutes are now being used to serve Bellini’s, Mimosa’s and French 75's. Why can't every hour be happy hour?
The Margarita glass is similar to the Martini glass, except it is slightly more rounded and has a bevelled second level. Margarita glasses are nowhere near as common nowadays as more bartenders are serving the tequila-induced drink in martini and old fashioned glasses. Some people even serve Margaritas in pint glasses which is both very keen and a total abomination!
It would be rude not to pay homage to the curvy, voluptuous cocktail of New Orleans created by Pat O'Brien, the owner of a 1940's speakeasy. This guy only created the hurricane cocktail so he could get rid of the less popular rum that local distributors forced him to buy before he could get some of the more popular liquors. The drink, made with a healthy dose of rum, lemon juice, and passionfruit syrup became popular with sailors and is now a mainstay of the French Quarter.
Glassware Guide - Where to Buy
Oops, have we made you thirsty? Sorry about that... *Not Sorry.* Now that you've read our glassware guide, it's time to get out your inner bartender. We recommend LSA Glassware for picking up all the glassware you could possibly need for starting your very own kitchen bar. You can't buy happiness, but you can buy cocktails, and that's kind of the same thing. Happy bartending!