The head of the Glass

I know, I know, I’m on a YouTube streak lately, but this one is really good! It’s a PBS IdeaChannel conversation with the appropriately-named Ivy Mix from Leyenda.

She makes many great points, including about the massive influence of Sex and the City on cocktail culture, but we must take issue with her taking issue with the classic cocktail glass, also known as the Martini glass. She says it’s impractical specifically because if you get sloshed, you slosh your drink out of it. We say (I say) that’s exactly the point! A beautiful glass for a small drink (none of these six ounce Martinis, please use the small, vintage-style glasses instead of the modern Venti size) and once you’re unsteady enough that a spill is a real possibility, it’s time to stop drinking. See? It’s a feature, not a bug!

If you hold it properly, it doesn’t warm the drink up, unlike those stubby frathouse style of stemless glasses. And if you’re drinking six ounce Martinis and complaining because they get warm, the problem is not the glass; it’s that you’re drinking too much at a time. Pace yourself. Order proper singles or doubles, not sextuples, and put them in a proper-sized glass, not one of those enormous monstrosities where it’s like putting your head in a dog’s medical cone to get the olive.

Lenox Tuscany Martini Glasses

Also, a proper cocktail glass is just so, so pretty! There is no other single piece of glassware that so eloquently expresses adulthood.

The Nick and Nora glass.

We (I) do love the Nick and Nora glass, of course, and any straight up cocktail including a Martini can properly be served in one. It gives a slightly retro-er feel than a V-shaped glass, and allows you to tell the story which you will hear in this video, and lord it over everyone else who’s never heard of Nick and Nora (the poor sods).

She makes a great point that bartenders are in the hospitality business, and if a drink is going to make the customer uncomfortable, because it’s too pink, it’s in too precious a glass, because it looks like those women on Sex and the City would order it (all the objections are based on gender stereotyping, but gender stereotyping is a given at most bars, and in quite a lot of bar customers), she will suggest alternatives. I mean, a Boulevardier is hot Schiapparelli pink, as feminine a colour as you can get, but because it’s got a macho name and is often served on the rocks, men think it a manly drink. Presentation, including glassware, matters.

Libbey Arome Tasting Glass Set

We are definitely going to take her advice on the Sazerac glass, and indeed, use that slope-sided glass for any particularly fragrant cocktail; this would include pretty much anything with St. Germain, apricot, or absinthe in it. If you’re putting those in a cocktail and it does not turn out fragrant, you’re doing something wrong. We like the pictured Libbey Arome tasting glasses, but you can sub in a wine glass of appropriate shape if you can’t find the particular one she’s using and don’t care for the Libbey.

And now, as they say at the movies after 15-odd previews, it’s time for our Feature Presentation:

Also, did you know it’s the Old Money way to call glassware “crystal” because OBVIOUSLY all your glasses are crystal? It’s true. But I bet Trump calls his “Swarovski“.

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