TRENDS AND INNOVATIONS IN GLASSWARE
We talk a lot about ingredients in serves, but what about the glassware they are presented in? Does this affect the flavour? Leading bartender, Alex Kratena gives us some insight into the importance of glassware and the latest trends and innovations you can use in your bar.
The importance of glassware
The glass in which a drink is served can affect our perception of the serve itself. There is an undeniable relationship between glass and liquid – and it goes much deeper than just aesthetics. Glassware has always played a big role in the wine world, and the same attention to detail has now moved to the world of cocktails.
How glassware can add to the serve
The glass you choose to serve your drink in should inspire and delight the customer, and demonstrate the amount of thought that went into creating it.
With so many variables being affected by the glassware you choose, there are some key things to consider when selecting the right glass for your serve;
- Mouth width
- Lip shape
- Internal shape
- Wall thickness
- External shape
- Stem dimensions
- How it fits in hand
- What is the heat retention
- Clarity and brightness of glass
I think the choice of glassware determines how the customer will enjoy the liquid. It is not only about the impressions it creates; the physical elements are equally important. Glass affects how the liquid hits your palate, how it will taste and at the end of the day it plays a huge role in whether you enjoy it, or not. It also controls physical properties of the cocktail such as; keeping the liquid cold, or warm and allowing you to serve the drink in a way a standard glass cannot provide.
When choosing glassware always look at design, functionality, durability and cost before making any decisions. Investing time and money into good quality glasses which enhance the experience of your overall serve and can even have an impact on the taste so getting it right will set you up for success.
Cutting edge trends and innovations in glassware
Whilst the trend of super decadent and over the top serves is decreasing, it was certainly an important influence in the past that brought back the focus on quality glassware. As the industry develops so has the scope of trends in glassware. We are no longer seeing one single route that all bartenders are following but we are experiencing various trends.
Over the last few years I have seen a resurgence of returning to simplicity, elegance and minimalism. I dare to say it almost directly correlates to the restaurant world now dominated by beautiful, but simple plating styles. This style in food and drink highlights the importance of quality ingredients, flavours and texture underneath, rather than what’s on the surface. There is a lot happening behind the scenes – there are a lot of elaborate techniques and skills used to create a drink that retains a neat, flawless and functional presentation.
Matt Whiley, bartender and owner of British seasonal cocktail bar Scöut likes using fine glassware. In his opinion fine glassware enables him to work with the element of surprise. Elegant glassware leads the guest into thinking it is a delicate serve, however that moment when the guest discovers the drink is actually packed with flavour is magical.
Interestingly enough there’s also a big move towards the use of ceramics for serves. SørenKrog Sørensen of Efterklang, a small test kitchen and bar in the heart of Copenhagen works with craftsman Kasper Wurtz who created pottery for restaurants like Noma, Amass, and Geranium. Together with Wurtz he created a series of ceramics with different textures and finishes for each season. In that way Søren can shift the mood and feel of each season and dial in the micro seasonality for each and every visual profile.
A lot of the service ware at Operation Dagger in Singapore is used specifically for one serve. Luke Whearty often opts for a unique piece for one particular drink. He adds: ‘I really love using ceramics as I like the texture as well as certain glazes and finishes and how they contribute to the drink. I’m surprised more people don’t use ceramics to be honest because you are only limited by your imagination in terms of colours, shapes and sizes.’
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