What’s in a Glass

A calculated meeting of beauty and function



ETHAN KAMINSKY

The pokal glass that holds your Samuel Adams Imperial Pilsner is a great advertising vehicle with a scientific purpose. The tall, trumpet shape is specially designed to enhance the aroma, flavor, and head of your beer, to show off its color and bubbles, and to keep it chilled. Peer into a few other barware essentials to see what’s behind the elegant champagne flute and the brawny beer stein.

For more about the art of the glass and mixology, read Tony Abou-Ganim’s The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic.

Brandy Snifter
Atop a short stem, a wide-bottomed bowl with a narrow mouth sends the aromas to the top of the glass, as your hands warm the brandy from the bottom.

Beer Glass
The style of beer glass you want — stein, pint, goblet, and tulip, to name a few — depends on the kind of beer you pour into it. The thickness of a traditional “man mug” is meant to hold a high volume of beer, while a wide base captures volatiles for a fuller nose, and a wide mouth is made for head retention.

Martini Glass
Also called the “cocktail glass,” this funnel shaped vessel serves a bevy of alcoholic beverages. Warning: best enjoyed while seated.

Decanter
The job of this vessel, designed in various shapes, is to help wine breathe and eliminate sediment — and add a splash of sophistication.

Red Wine Glass
The large, wide bowl allows wine to aerate and tannins to soften, releasing the aroma and rich flavors of your favorite Bordeaux, burgundy, or pinot noir. A short stem enables you to hold the body of the glass; the warmth of the hand does not adversely affect red wine.

White Wine Glass
Light, crispy varietals are best served chilled, so a long stem prevents your hand from heating the wine. A narrow, tapered bowl delivers liquid to the front of the mouth, where flavors are most intense.

Champagne Flute
Whether used for fruity brews or sparkling French wine, the elongated and elegant flute enhances carbonation and allows the bubbles to rise to the surface. It also gives the drinker a shot of intense aroma.

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