Once you have acquired your four basic glasses for your Basement Bar, it is time to think about adding the sort of specialty glassware that will do one of two things for you. These glasses may allow you to be the correct and elegant host who effortlessly seems to have everything just so. Or they may be the gateway to ridiculous, over the top, cocktailian geekery. Your choice. And if you like, and are careful, these glasses will allow you to vary between these options, depending on your guests du jour.
Most of these glasses are genuinely optional. Only buy them if you personally drink and mix the beverages that dwell therein. But I’ll start with two that are so ubiquitous that they could have been included with the big four. Indeed, not having either may seem a bit strange to others. But I put them here because most people actually don’t need them.
Much more below the fold:
The first is a pilsner, or mug, for beer. Choose one, based on your preference.
How is this not a mandatory glass?
Well first off, I noted in the last post that your highball can do this job quite admirably. Secondly, unlike almost every other drink out there worth drinking (yes, I’m talking to you, Smirnoff Ice), beer usually comes in its own, handy serving vessel. It may be my southern upbringing, but anyone who’s going to turn up their nose at a Budweiser Tallboy, demanding a glass for his brew instead, deserves nothing cooler and more refreshing than a swift boot to the pavement. That said, beer glasses and mugs are kind of nice. When you have the opportunity, pick up a set. Do it sooner, if you have room in your freezer to keep them cold. I really only have two pieces of advice about what to get: Don’t get anything with a logo on it, unless you work for the company; and make sure they aren’t too tall to fit on your shelves. The second is actually pretty important. I have a lot of cool glassware, not just for beer, that languishes in inaccessible storage, because it doesn’t fit on my shelves!
The second, seemingly mandatory but not, class of glassware is the champagne flute. To be honest, in this day and age, most people just don’t drink champagne or other sparkling wines, except perhaps at New Year’s parties out of plastic glasses. But you should nevertheless put these lovely glasses near the top of your list to buy. Besides the champers, you also may have call for the world of champagne cocktails. A weekend party may require Mimosas. And if you get the right kind of flute, you can use them to make parfait.
AndEviboddy love Pahfait!
The Erté flutes that I picture to the right are ones I gave to Maggi for our fifth anniversary. They are lovely, but perhaps not right for your first set of flutes…. But don’t go totally utilitarian either. Make sure your flutes are sleek and elegant–Like your Cocktail glasses, they have an image to uphold.
Beyond these two, it turns into pretty much a free-for-all. While the variety of glass types don’t quite rival the array of utensils in Victorian Sterling Silver, the feeling is the same. I’m sure there is a genuine difference between Port and Sherry glasses, one that matters to someone. That someone is not me, and I’m getting pretty good odds that that someone is not you either. But if you like Port of Sherry, or your Mom does, you might benefit from a couple of the right vessel.
Your Brother-In-Law likes Depth Charges or Boilermakers? Shotglasses go on the list.
Do you like Pina Coladas…
And getting caught in the rain?
…or other blender drinks? Well, you can start with the Highball glass, but eventually you may want to add some of the curvy numbers with the flared lips that make these alcoholic slushees look so good. And of course there is the iconic Frozen Margarita glass, beloved of Chi-Chi’s patrons worldwide, with space on the rim for a medieval fortune in salt.
I hear drums!
Yes, the Tiki gods grow impatient. Tiki mugs and glasses look cool. If you buy some, make sure you have a place to display them, as they pout if you put them behind a solid door. I’ll inject a word of warning here. Start buying these and you may wake up one day with seventeen types of rum in your cupboard and your fridge overcrowded with three types of mango juice.
If it gets cold in your neck of the woods, you may want to lay in some Irish Coffee mugs. They are cheap and are good for all sorts of warmers to keep Jack Frost at bay.
You might even want to get a punch bowl and cups. This one is actually on my list to acquire. People don’t really do punches as much as they used to, but there are some damn fine old recipes out there to fill up a nice vessel.
The point of all this rambling is that you can buy a lot of glassware, in a lot of shapes, for a lot of purposes. I have only touched the surface. I’m sure there will be readers who will grump about my missing out on
the truly essential glass. Sorry. Let me know. It also leads me to one final point about all this, only tangentially related to glassware: You will need more cabinet space for glasses than you think.
My next post, 4(c), will be about how and where to get your glassware, what to look for to identify quality and value, and some other dos and don’ts of style. Marleigh already got this ball rolling in the comments to my first glass post with her bragging about her inexpensive, recycled glass. For shame Marleigh! That was a chick thing to do. Broads never volunteer about their great finds, they just smile and look fabulous….
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Here’s a list of the other articles in this series that have been posted so far:
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