Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bartending 101: Know Your Glassware

If you're going to be a bartender -- or at least look like one -- you need to know your glassware. There are a variety of glasses, and each drink has a specific glass that you should pour it in.  Here's a general list to get you started on knowing which glass goes in which cocktail.  Today we'll just talk about the classic glassware, and thankfully most of them are named for the drinks that go in them:
Photo courtesy of Cocktail Hunter

Rocks or Old Fashioned glass  - this glass is usually used for whiskeys and gin, but I've gotten this glass when I order my vodka/soda cocktail.  A perfect rocks glass has a round bottom, and when the ice is dropped from the correct height a "ting" can be heard. Rocks glasses got their name as most of these drinks are served over ice (on the rocks).

Collins or Sling glass - straight-sided, narrow, and traditionally made of frosted glass, this one is primarily designed for long drinks (namely some fizz drinks and Collins drinks).  Drinks served in this glass are served with plenty of ice.

Highball glass - some have a stem, some have a flat bottom, but these glasses are wider than a Collins glass and are tall, holding 8 or 9 fl oz.  They are made to hold highball drinks, iced drinks containing liquor along with water and/or a carbonated mixer.  Highball glasses may in some parts also be known as a "Cooler," "Chimney," "Zombie," or a "Slim Jim" glass.  Rarely do I get this glass with a standard liquor/mixer cocktail.  I usually get it when I've ordered a Bloody Mary, or some other cocktail that requires a lot of mixing.  They are relatively interchangeable with the Collins glass.

Martini or Cocktail glass - these are a stemmed glass with an inverted cone shape, typically used for -- obviously -- Martinis, but also Manhattans.  They are primarily used for cocktails that are prepared in a cocktail shaker with ice and then strained in to the glass. Its form derives from the fact that all cocktails are traditionally served chilled and contain an aromatic element, and the wide bowl places the surface of the drink directly under the drinker's nose, ensuring that the aromatic element has the desired effect.  The stems of these and the martini glasses allow the drinker to hold the glass without warming the contents.

Hurricane or Poco Grande glass - A tall, elegantly cut glass named after it's hurricane-lamp-like shape, used for exotic/tropical drinks, such as Hurricane (duh), Adios Mother-F&%$er, Sex on the Beach, or some Colada drinks.

Margarita glass - this glass comes in two varieties: saucer, and welled.  Although margaritas may be served in a variety of glasses, the stereotypical margarita glass is a variant of the classic Champagne coupe; this is particularly associated with blended fruit margaritas, but the glass is also used for dishes such as guacamole or shrimp cocktails. In formal settings margaritas are often served in a standard cocktail glass, while in informal settings, particularly with ice, margaritas may be served in an old-fashioned glass or champagne saucer.

Sour/Fizz glass - shorter than a typical champagne flute, this glass is typically used for wine spritzers, sour drinks (such as a whiskey sour), or fizz drinks (like a gin fizz). A Fizz is a mixed drink variation on the older Sours family of cocktail. Its defining features are an acidic juice (such as lemon or lime) and carbonated water.  Most fizz or sour drinks are served in a Highball glass, but some bars with a bigger inventory will use this glass.

For more on the care and handling of glassware, check out Everyday Bartending's post on the subject. And check back at the blog for all your cocktail recipes to go in these glasses!  Now...cheers, Loungers!

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