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Stemware consists of three parts: the bowl (which houses the liquid), the stem (which you hold) and the foot (which anchors the glass). The stem exists so you can consume your drink without warming the temperature of its contents.
Generally, cocktail glasses (also known as martini glasses) have cone-shaped bowls so aroma and taste can be fully appreciated. The wide bowl - which goes underneath the drinker’s nose when they bring it to their lips - allows for that.
Traditionally, martinis are made with gin and vermouth and adorned with an olive or lemon twist. Nowadays, however, cocktails or "new" martinis have become broader in scope and can include fruit and chocolate flavours, various garnishes and base spirits other than gin.
Margarita (or coupette) glasses differ in that they are larger and rounder. They have broad rims in order to retain salt or sugar (or even cocoa and powdered sugar) add a nice decorative touch and accentuate taste.
Ideally, you’ll want to use a cocktail shaker to mix together your ingredients for approximately 10 seconds. Most are manual, but electric options are available.
Take things a step further by freezing glasses for several hours beforehand so drinks are extra cool when served.
Delight your guests by presenting entrees or desserts in individual martini glasses.
To keep it really simple, a standard all-purpose set of wine glasses will suffice. To get more sophisticated, you’ll want different types of glasses designed with the unique chemistry of each particular wine in mind.
Wine glasses are generally narrower and tapered in at the top. This allows for swirling without spilling and gives the aromas a chance to collect at the surface, creating a more robust taste.
Nowadays, many high quality wine glasses are made of crystal, crystalline (semi-crystal) and thin glass. These materials ensure brightness and shine, are heavy and allow the alcohol to “breathe” more effectively.
Red Wine Glasses
Red wine glasses are wide and round. This allows for increased oxidation (the interaction between air and wine which modifies the drink’s flavor and aroma).
White Wine Glasses
Glasses meant to house white wine are narrow and tulip-shaped. This allows less air to circulate and less contact between hand and bowl so contents remain cold.
Champagne flutes are narrower than white wine glasses and are intended to showcase the drink’s beautiful “dancing” bubbles.
Dessert Wine Glasses
Dessert wine glasses are the most petite of all stemware. As their contents are higher in alcohol content and very sweet, smaller servings are preferable.
Wine was commonly consumed in ancient Greece and throughout the time of the Roman Empire. The earliest written account of wine production comes from the Old Testament, which tells the story of how Noah planted a vineyard.
For much of history people drank wine out of necessity (because it was a powerful disinfectant). “Modern wine” – which was consumed by choice – only emerged in the 18th century, when a higher level of understanding regarding growing, production and storage were amassed.
When choosing the right wine to pair with your meal, consider the following:
The wine should accentuate the unique flavours of the food it will accompany. The wine’s components (fruit, acid, alcohol, sweetness) should be balanced with the components of your dish (ingredients, method of preparation, taste).
In most cases, rich foods should be paired with rich wines and delicate foods with delicate wines – although opposite components can work together nicely too. What matters most is that the pairing allows you to focus your attention from the wine, to the food, back to the wine without losing the essence of each.
To pair properly, the flavour of both the food and wine should be kept simple.
Red wine should be served at a cool room temperature while whites, champagne and dessert wines should be served chilled.