The great benefit of having the right glassware, for function and aesthetic, is often not thought to be as important as it really is. That’s why we’ve put together the Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Glassware for you, so you can set the table for every casual meal and every fine dining occasion to be maximise your dining experience.
Buying glassware can be confusing not only because there’s so many different shapes and sizes, but there’s so many different materials used. Rest assured, this section of our guide to glassware will take you through some of the most common materials so you know the advantages and disadvantages, ready to buy your own.
Toughened / Tempered Glass
Tempered glass, also known as toughened glass, is an ultra-strong production of glass achieved through heating glass to over 600°C and then rapidly cooling it. When the inner layer is cooling, it pulls away from the outer which causes tension, causing the new properties of ultra-strength and resistance to develop. Tempered glass is dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe. Ideal for demanding restaurants and homes with children. If you’ve already decided in this guide to glassware that this is the
glass you need, then check out Duralex – tempered glassware specialists.
Crystal glass, or lead crystal glass, is usually the more formal, higher quality glassware you would save for special occasions, or use in high-end restaurants. As a result, they are normally more expensive – however, it could be argued you are paying for the great quality. Crystal glass is made from normal glass but with an excess of up to 24% lead-oxide (sand, soda ash, limestone + lead-oxide). Lead-oxide allows for greater decoration on the glass and causes refraction, separating the light. These glasses will usually be heavier and more durable with a greater shine and clarity than normal glass.
Lead-free Crystal Glass
As the detrimental health effects of lead started to become well-known lead crystal glass has declined and lead-free crystal has been on the rise. Lead-free crystal glass is made exactly the same but instead of adding lead, either barium oxide, zinc oxide, or potassium oxide is used. These are all harder than lead so can achieve even more decorative properties and the same level of clarity and shine. So, if you’re reading this guide to glassware for the perfect glass for your special event, then you’ve found it!
It’s not a good guide to glassware unless you feature the eco-friendly option. LUXION glass is a glass product created by glassware specialists RCR Crystal. It is the first eco-crystal glassware worldwide, using electrical furnaces powered by renewable resources that have zero atmospheric discharge. Glasses made with LUXION are 100% recyclable and do not lack any of the amazing features of crystal glass; they are ultra-clear with an exceptional shine, highly resistant to shock and impacts, and are dishwasher safe. Like crystal glass, LUXION glass is a more expensive option.RCR Crsytal
Judging the Quality
In this guide to glassware, we would give the rule of thumb that to ensure you get the high-quality glass you’re paying for buy from reputed brands. For example, at Rinkit some of our best reputed brands are RCR Crystal, Bormioli Rocco and Duralex. But there are a few ways you can judge the quality of your glassware from your home.
Thickness & Weight
Crystal & crystalline glass can often be much thinner than other glass, so one way to check the quality is to look at the rims; if they are very fine, it is likely to be crystal or crystalline glass. However, another indication, despite the minimal thickness, is that embellished crystal glass can be a lot heavier.
As we mentioned before, both kinds of crystal glass offer a much higher clarity and shine, and to test this even further, if you hold your glass up to the light, if there is a rainbow effect, it is likely your glass is a crystal construction.
A slightly harder distinguishing feature to judge the quality of your glass, is if you tap your nail in the middle of the glass, you should hear a musical ring if it is crystal glass.
Also, crystal glass can often have much greater decoration which will often feature greater precision, and sharper angles and cuts than on other glass.
Type of Drink
One of the main things to cover, a must in a guide to glassware, is specific drinks that are most suited to a particular style of glass.
Red wine glasses feature a large bowl and narrower opening allowing ample breathing room for the flavours & aromas to develop and then be directed towards the top of the glass for maximum flavour and pleasure.
Traditionally, the 1920s alluding champagne saucer was used for champagne with a wide opening to maximise the aromas, however, overtime this has changed into the classic flute shape, tall and narrow to maximise the bubbles and direct them towards the top.
White wine glasses tend to have smaller bowls as they need less aeration but will have longer stems to keep warm hands away from the bowl and ensure refreshing, cool wine.
Sherry glasses are similar to red wine glasses with a bulge and tapered top, but on the whole are a much smaller glass as it is enjoyed in little amounts.
The traditional, iconic beer glass most people will imagine is the Pint glass. The slight lip on the tapered top of pint glasses maintains the head while the classic tulip shape enhances the flavours of your favourite beer.
Also known as a beer tankard, the beer stein originated in Germany. As beer was most commonly drunk by males, the beer stein was developed with a masculine look in mind with thick walls, straight sides, and a thick handle; almost replicating the look of a mug.
The pilsner glass, offers a more elegant shape then most beer glasses, will an elongated flute shape, directing all the fizz up to the head for maximum flavour and pleasure.
Perfectly suited to strong ales, snifter glasses are made up of enlarged bowls and short stems, to enhance the strong flavours with the warmth of your hand.
Tumbler, or Whisky, glasses are ideal for spirits with their flat bottomed base, large bowl, and tapered opening concentrating the alcohol and flavours. They leave plenty of room for ice for traditional drinks like ‘on the rocks’.
Highball glasses are another way to enjoy spirits, if you love to mix yours with a soft drink, for example a classic vodka lemonade, a highball glass provides ample room for your mixer and ice so you can enjoy your spirit as a long drink.
As spirits are usually enjoyed in little amounts and fast, shot glasses are perfect for a quick swig of high alcohol content. They are also ideal for measuring out spirits to pour into mixed drinks.
Another way to enjoy spirits, particularly cognac, brandies, and whisky, is in a brandy glass, or snifter glass. These have a large bowl and narrower opening, allowing you to swirl the contents around, maximising and trapping in flavours and aromas.
You might notice a similarity between margarita glasses and the traditional coupe saucer design, in fact margarita glasses are simply a variant of this style. They have a wide opening for maximum enjoyment of aromas, while a deeper bowl to allow for plenty of ice and flavour.
The classic wide balloon bowl of gin glasses leaves ample room for ice and fruit for a refreshing, flavourful drink. The wide bowl shape helps to collect all the botanical scents of your favourite gin to enhance your whole tasting experience.
The iconic martini glass can be noticed anywhere, with its conical shape and straight angular sides that descend into one point. These sloping sides concentrate its contents while providing a resting platform for their signature cocktail stick & olive.
The signature Pina colada glass, also known as a hurricane glass, is both wider and taller than a highball glass to ensure ample room for all of its ingredients. The fluted shape features a curvaceous silhouette, close to that of a vase or hurricane lamp.
Caring for your Glassware
It wouldn’t be a guide to glassware if we didn’t help you choose the glassware for you, and then give you some top tips for how to keep them in great condition.
- Most glass is dishwasher safe, but be sure to check the glassware you buy first to be sure
- If handwashing, gently warm your glass through first, then use warm soapy water to wash, and rinse thoroughly being sure not to leave any remains of soap
- Store your glasses the right way up to protect fine rims, particularly wine glasses
- Don’t try and stack un-stackable glasses
- Although knocking or dropping your glasses may not immediately show damage, invisible abrasions will occur within the glass, that will weaken it over time.
Currently the Nation’s favourite drink, our Spanish gin glasses bring you the classic Copa de Balon shape for ample flavour and ice to be packed in, while mixing and maximising all the flavours and aromas you love. With a pulled stem and large foot, your warm hands will be kept well away from the bowl while when standing alone, it’s ensured maximum stability.Rink Drink Spanish Gin Glasses
Sucker for a refreshing summertime Margarita? Pack these Margarita glasses with plenty of ice in their large bowls for ultimate flavour and freshness. There’s no need to worry if that small gathering turns into the place to be, with soft rolled rims your Margarita glass is more resistant to chipping & cracks even if they’re knocked or dropped!Rink Drink Margarita Glasses
It couldn’t be a Rinkit best seller if it wasn’t a contemporary style glass that suited all settings and would look stunning on any occasion. These Tallo highball glasses have a reinforced based and rolled rims for enhanced stability, balance, and resistance against cracking & chipping. They are perfect for all your soft drinks, long cocktails, spirit mixers, and even bottled beers!Argon Tableware Tallo Highball Glasses
You can shop all our Glassware here.
And you can even check out our Blogs for more inspiration and information on specific things you’ve found interesting in this Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Glassware, for example, Choosing the Right Glassware: Which Glass for Which Drink?
We even have plenty of drinks accessories if you’re reading this guide to glassware to get ready for a big party!