The shape is very important, as it is can maximise the aromatics of a drink as well as affect how the liquid travels along your palate. A very open glass like a Champagne coupe does not allow you to get much from the aromatics as they just escape into the air. Similarly, something too narrow will not let you swirl the drink which aerates it and releases a greater number of aromas. Different parts of your tongue experience different flavours, so it is important that the glass directs the liquid into your mouth so you coax the best from the drink.
The weight of the glass also has an impact on the enjoyment of drinking. Much of this is down to preference; a heavy whisky glass for a big rich spirit, a light, elegant, thin Champagne flute for a delicate, fragrant blanc de blancs. If a glass is too thick, it can feel clunky when you lift it to your lips and can detract from the liquid itself.
Glass is inert so it does not affect the flavour, but some vessels made out of other materials can cause the drink to taste different. Silver can make a drink taste metallic, while plastic can impart its flavour into the drink. So when you are choosing your glass, take time to think about how it can enhance your drinking pleasure – it’s not just about how it looks.
Did you know?
- the Romans produced the first transparent glass, although glass artefacts were discovered in Egypt dating to 1350BC
- in ancient Greece, a dinner host would take the first sip of wine to assure guests the wine was not poisoned, hence the phrase ‘drinking to one’s health’
- the Greeks invented a glass called the Pythagorean cup which forced its user to drink only in moderation. If they filled the cup over the limit, it emptied its entire contents out of the bottom