Sunday, May 31, 2009

An Amateur's Take on Glasses and Glassware

We throw lots of parties with 10 plus people - at least one a month. So we want glasses that are multi-purpose, durable, inexpensive, and elegant.

Many of the old cocktail books have pages with pictures or silhouettes of many different shapes of cocktail glasses. Wow. Who can afford that? And who has space to store that? If you throw a party for 10 people, are you going to wash, dry, and chill the same glass two or three times during an evening, or are you going to keep dozens of matching glasses in stock? Do you care if your glasses match?

We have four kinds of glasses. We have:
  • Oceana's anniversary glassware - art deco glass from the '30s and '40s, which is only used for special occasions
  • Random assorted glassware that has, at least for the moment, survived life in a communal kitchen. This is what we use daily when a bottle of wine is opened, etc.
  • 3 dozen Libbey 3oz mini-martini glasses that I use for parties.
  • 2 dozen 'rings' glasses that I can cast in a multitude of roles.
We love the mini-martinis. They are 3 3/4 inches tall, and you can do a 2.5 oz pour - I've included a shot glass to give you an idea of the size

I buy them by the dozen - they are about $3 a stem, I've broken 3 or 4 in three years - they are durable.

I've saved the boxes,the glasses live in the boxes between parties.

Notice the label has a picture of the glasses on it? My basement is full of stacks of boxes. After one afternoon hunting through those boxes, I came up with these labels - I cut and pasted an image from a website into a word document.

What about our Collins glasses, Old Fashioned, Hurricanes, etc. etc.?

We have 2 dozen 'rings' glasses that are all of those, all rolled into one. Its the one on the left, the smallest of the three in this picture - they are 7 oz, about 4 inches tall. Most 'tall' drinks call for ice (cubed or crushed) so you are looking at a 3~4 oz pour. For 'straight up' drinks - like a Sazerac - do a 4 oz pour and the glass is more than half full and looks fine.

I want to throw a lot of parties. So it has to be fun for me (and my co-conspirators) every step of the way. If its a lot of work, then I'll get tired, and I won't have energy to have fun with my guests. So I've spent a lot of time thinking about different aspects of throwing parties and looking at how others do it. And glassware is one piece.

We spent time not only finding what we think is great glassware, but its cheap enough that I don't have a fit if some drops a tray of them - I can relax and they can relax - so they are happy to help. And the glasses have a place to live, everyone knows what they are, whose they are, what they are for - so anyone who sees the box knows to ask me if its OK to use them for .... whatever. No one throws the empty boxes away by mistake or puts 6 cases of canned pineapple juice on top of a stack of glassware.

I can also tell at a glance if we've broken a glass or two, so I can pick up spares or order another case.

We believe very strongly in chilling our glassware before using it, so it's good if the glasses have a certain amount of mass - so they stay cold for more than a minute after they are filled. The more solid they are, the less likely they are to break.

  • [We are 'brown bagging' for an ice crusher - walking around with a bag asking people if they'd care to throw anything in towards the cause - care to throw some money in our bag? (contribute)]

I've found the most pleasurable thing for me is to get the glassware washed at the end of the party, before I go to bed or on to my next cycle. If the clean up for the party happens pronto, then there are no unhappy people the next morning looking at a clean up job for a party they might not have attended. No unhappy people means everyone is up for whenever/whatever the next party happens.

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