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How To Choose
The Correct Stemware

Most wine drinkers know that different styles of wines demand different types of stemware. It seems like a pretension. But it's not. It's just a simple fact. Wines do taste different in differently shaped wine glasses. 

And flavoured schnapps and liqueurs are no different from wines when it comes to suitable drinking glasses.

They too require their own special glasses.

So, when it's time to enjoy your carefully homemade schnapps or liqueur, you should really give a little thought to choosing the correct glass.

As with wine glasses, a schnapps or liqueur glass should be made of crystal, be thin, colourless and transparent, unadorned, free of cuts and engravings.

It should have a stem and enough volume - and also have the right shape.

  • Crystal
    Because a glass made of crystal has, on a microscopic level, a coarser surface than an ordinary glass. The coarser surface helps to intensify and release aromas.

  • Thin
    Because schnapps and liqueurs, as well as wines, taste much better when served in thin glasses. A thick rim in your mouth will also spoil your tasting experience. Your schnapps or liqueur should flow easily into your mouth.

  • Colourless and transparent
    Because part of the enjoyment is the appreciation of the beautiful schnapps or liqueur colour. A coloured glass may look nice in a table setting, but a schnapps or liqueur you have spent time and careful consideration to create deserves better.

  • Unadorned, free of cuts and engravings
    Because a plain glass does not distract you from fully enjoying the colour, taste and aromas of your schnapps or liqueur.

  • Stem
    Because holding the stem of a glass prevents the bowl from being covered with fingerprints. Also, holding the stem instead of the bowl looks much more elegant and shows respect for the schnapps or liqueur - and its maker. Part of the enjoyment too.

  • Enough volume
    Because your schnapps or liqueur needs to "open" and "breathe" thus allowing the aromas to develop.

The Right Shape - Rich and Lighter Aromas

Schnapps and liqueurs with rich aromas are best served in glasses that resemble the tulip shaped stemware used for red wines.

But in smaller versions. For instance...

Spiegelau Crystal Stemware

Glasses with a round or oval bowl tapering inward at the rim.

The tapered shape concentrates the aromas in the same way as a Spanish-style sherry glass does.

Schnapps and liqueur with lighter aromas should be served in stemware similar to those used for the Italian grappa... 

...a glass with a round bowl that tapers upward to a small opening.

The small opening at the top retains, concentrates and intensifies the full range of aromas.

The Right Shape - Very Strong Aromas

Tannin-rich schnapps and liqueurs are also known as bitters. They usually have very strong aromas that will seldom please your nose.

Crystal Stemware and Glass

In your mouth, however, bitters are highly enjoyable.

Because in your mouth the bitterness will structure the aromas.

The strong aromas might become harsh and unpleasant if they are concentrated in a glass that narrows at the top. Therefore...

Serve your bitters in a glass with a wide rim to allow the aromas you sense with your nose to dissipate easily.

Stemware with triangle bowls, cordial saucers, shot glasses, etc. are fine for bitters.

Glassware Manufacturers

Here in Scandinavia, we have some well known and unique glassware manufacturers who make very fine crystal glasses and stemware - Holmegaard in Denmark, Kosta Boda and Orrefors in Sweden, to mention just a few.

The problem for many is that they are much too expensive.

Earlier I had Holmegaard crystal stemware, but glasses break occasionally, so now I have a nice collection of crystal stemware from both Riedel in Austria and Spiegelau in Germany.

These glasses are plain, colourless, thin and have the right shapes and volumes - and then they are much more affordable. Especially the Spiegelau stemware.

No wonder they have become so popular - I really enjoy using their stemware for my wines, schnapps and liqueurs.