There's a stigma attached to those who extol the virtues of proper glassware. But the fact is -- they're right. The vessel used for your drink will affect not only the liquid that's poured inside, but also the way it hits your tongue, and the flavor your taste buds register.
I used to blow this off as overly fastidious, fancy schmancy posturing. I hated getting pints of beer or glasses of soda because it always tasted flat to me. I preferred that crisp bite out of the bottle -- glass be damned!
But then I experienced the differences for myself. While visiting a winery a number of years ago, my friends and I sat in on a glassware class. A myriad of shapes and sizes were placed in front of us, and we tried white, red, and sparkling wine in the different glasses. Each tasted different as it was moved from the standard white glass, to the wider red, to the narrow flute. We were shocked, and we vowed to always try to have the right glass for the right wine, because what's the point of paying more for a good wine, if you can't experience its full flavor?
But it's not just a matter of wine. Recently, I was making dinner and decided to open a bottle of craft beer that I had loved at my favorite pub a few months prior. I popped off the cap, took a drink, and curled my lip -- it not only tasted nothing like I remembered, but I hated it. I thought back and remembered that I drank the beer at the end of the night. Did I have bad, delusional drunken taste buds? I read the side of the bottle, which suggested a specific stemmed glass. I found something close, poured it in, and it became the beer I remembered -- rich, full, and wonderful. Me, the bottle lover, had found a beverage that tasted much, much better out of the bottle.
Now this doesn't mean that you need to have a specific glass for every different type of beer or booze. Get the right glasses, or something very close, for your favorite beverages, and stick to standards for the rest.
Think about it -- why splurge on a great scotch, wine, beer, or other beverage if you're just going to throw it into any old glass?
Read on to see a rundown of the glasses that make each beverage pop, and consider this not only a great guide for your own collection, but an excellent gift for the liquor, wine, or beer fiend on your gift list.