I’ve never been much of a cocktail drinker—I usually go for a craft beer when dining out—although on a couple of special occasions I’ve ordered a martini or a Manhattan. I remember being really disappointed once when a waiter brought me a martini in a short glass with a thick base—the kind of glass that should be used for an Old Fashioned or straight whiskey on the rocks. I wanted one of those long-stemmed glasses because they look cool. And supposedly there’s a logic in them too: the design is to keep the liquid cool longer. There’s a reason a brandy snifter is designed to be cupped, allowing your hand to warm it and also swirl it. Even different styles of beer have their own distinct glasses—I only have a few standard pint glasses in the cupboard so apparently I’ve been drinking stouts and IPAs all wrong, though they taste just fine to me.
What got me thinking about this is that with the rise of cocktail culture there are some men who have a problem with their fancy drinks being served in fancy glasses or with fancy garnishes. According to a Business Times article it’s mostly guys in their thirties who are afraid stemware or other distinctive glasses don’t look “manly”. Some bars even put pictures of what their cocktails will look like in their natural state in case these guys are afraid having a Singapore sling will make them look weak so they ask the mixologist to dump it in a Solo cup. With ice.
I have a couple of thoughts about this. The first is, even if the glassware design doesn’t really enhance the flavor or experience of a drink, even if it’s all psychological, the mental approach matters. A finely crafted cocktail deserves to be savored, slowly. I really like the trend of non-alcoholic cocktails. People who don’t drink alcohol should still be able to go to a nice venue and have a distinctive beverage.
The second thought is, guys, grow up. Pick a drink based on what you like, not how you think it’ll make you look.