Cocktail equipment

“I’m really into nice glassware. Growing up in New Zealand I was always surrounded by nice Webb Corbett crystal” he says. “It’s also something I believe I’m quite good at finding. My glasses break more often but my customers appreciate the effort we go to in sourcing and finding vintage glasses. I think it’s a trend that will continue for a while.

“I used to think that every drink had to have its own glass, but Bar Americano has challenged my assumptions on almost everything. We try our best to keep glassware standardised but that’s pretty hard to do when you are only buying three vintage glasses at a time. Most drinks should have the right glassware but I think it’s a personal thing from bar to bar. Most customers are just happy at receiving a great drink in a beautiful glass.”

Kratena agrees that presentation is hugely important but he says: “I think the trend for vintage glassware shows the first signs of stagnation and has become really mainstream. It’s time to do new things.”

 He describes the glass as a “mediator between bartender and guest – a kind of stage which helps to articulate drinking experience from an interesting point of view”. 

He says the glass has three basic functions: it’s the vessel for liquid, it affects the tasting/drinking experience and aesthetics and it maintains the physical properties of the drink – hot cold, sound, smell etc.  “At Artesian we pay huge attention to service ware.” He cites the detachable Martini glass, Forever Young glass with mirror and the Mexican swizzle served in skull mug. 

Investing in quality is worth every penny, according to Urban Bar’s Andrews. “It’s a false economy to buy really cheap stuff. If you’re bothering to make a drink properly, then you want to use the right equipment. “We have just developed a new handmade glassware range.”

Branded glassware can be a contentious issue – on the one hand it’s readily available but, on the other, it can look tacky. For both Lambert and Kratena, less is more. “I really wish brands would work with us in speciality cocktail bars to provide us with glassware,” says Lambert. “But I don’t need pint glasses with their logo on them. It just seems like a huge waste of time and money. It also shows me that many brands don’t get our brand or concept. So no,  I really don’t like branded glassware.”

Kratena says balance is the key. “An understanding of good branding plays a major part in successful execution,” he says. “You can make a glass saying brand XXX, or you incorporate materials, smell, colour, lighting associated with the brand story, which will work much better.”

Wise words. And I’ll leave you with some more wise words relating to drink from our man WC Fields: “Always carry a flagon of whisky in case of snakebite and, furthermore, always carry a small snake.”