What is the purpose of cordial glasses?

If you are new to the world of glassware, you may be asking yourself what the purpose of cordial glasses really is.  Why would anyone want to drink from a cordial glass when another type of glass would accomplish the same goal?

The general answer to this question is that particular glasses add to the drinking experience through their physical properties and aesthetics.

Let’s think of an example to illustrate this using the standard Dixie cup.  There’s no law that says a person can’t drink wine, beer, or tequila out of a Dixie cup, but most people would think it’s not a great choice even if it accomplishes the purpose of helping you drink liquid.  The reasons are that 1) the cup would not fit much beer, 2) you wouldn’t be able to see the color of the wine through the cup, and 3) the tequila could possibly even pick up some flavor from the material in the cup.  Furthermore, the experience would seem rather “cheap”.  If you have an expensive bottle of something to drink, you don’t want to drink it out of ten-cent cups.

So there are clearly practical and aesthetic reasons that form the basis for using certain cups/vessels with certain beverages.  Different glasses have different characteristics that play to their respective drinks’ qualities.

The purpose of cordial glasses

And cordial glasses? I think the main point is to limit the quantity of alcohol consumed that is appropriate to the occasion, thereby enhancing the quality of the overall drinking experience. Cordial glasses are often used for liqueurs that are strong and served neat, so a small vessel size is only natural.  You don’t want to drink too much alcohol at a time for a variety of reasons, and limiting it to one or two ounces at a time means you have to savor what you do drink.

But wait – shot glasses also limit the quantity of beverage served, so why not just use them instead?

Good question.  Shot glasses are like cousins to cordial glasses since they both hold small quantities of liquid.  The difference lies in the level of decoration or sophistication of the glasses.

Cordial glasses often (but not always) have stems, whereas shot glasses typically do not.  So if shot glasses are on one side of the cordial glass family, on the other side would be another stemmed vessel: the wine glass.  The cordial glass takes from both worlds – the limited alcohol quantity of the shot glass and the refined drinking experience of the wine glass – and brings them together in a new vessel.

Hopefully, you can see understand that the cordial glass adds an element of sophistication to gatherings that involve fine liqueurs.  After all, your drink is meant to be sipped, admired, and enjoyed over time; your glass simply adds to this experience.

Interested in browsing through the cordial glass directory?

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