It’s officially time to change out your crystal. Nowadays, spirits and even beer are being served in improved barware. At Tørst, a high-end Brooklyn beer bar brews come in modern goblets. “You can drink beer out of a pint glass, but you won’t get the same flavor,” co-owner Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø explains.
Spirits are also upgrading to specific stemware. “People can’t believe their favorite beverage can change so easily,” Maximilian Riedel, CEO of his family’s glassmaking company, says. “They say, ‘My God, I never thought my drink could change due to the glass.'”
Indeed, the new breed of spirits glasses seem to be taking their cue from the vessels long known to accentuate the assets of another kind of beverage.
“People have long understood that fine wines should be consumed in different glasses based on their varietal,” Ultimat Vodka’s Greg Cohen says, “so it’s exciting to see the same emphasis is being placed on spirits.”
And while the drinks may be fundamentally different, the purpose of using a specialized glass to enjoy them is practically the same.
“If you think about a wine glass, when you tilt it, your nose is going inside and the scent molecules are bouncing off the sides of the glass toward your nose,” Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, a certified spirits expert who has worked with Ultimat Vodka explains. “That’s why wine glasses look the way they do, so you can get more out of the experience.”
It’s not just your nose that’s doing the work, however. According to Simonetti-Bryan, the design of these glasses also aids in forcing a spirit to land on the tongue in a particular way, getting more of it on your taste buds.
“Will the consumer be able to tell a difference? With a luxurious spirit, absolutely,” she says. “You’ll want to get everything you can out of that glass.”
And while it might be hard to get used to the idea of new glasses replacing the ones we’ve been enjoying for years, according to the experts, the only thing to do is plunge in—nose first. “The only way to really convince you is by experiencing it,” Riedel says. “Putting your nose into various glasses and putting the beverage onto your palette—you will be turned into a believer.”