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How on-trend glassware can update your signature drinks

How on-trend glassware can update your signature drinks

Clear glasses, drinking jars, stemless and all-purpose designs are among the latest trends • See more Drink Trends

Restaurant tabletop trends—including glassware—arise out of contemporary food and drink trends. Restaurant Hospitality recently asked tableware expert Amy Stavis for her insight into what’s currently hot—or should we say what’s cool?—in glassware. Stavis is publisher/editor of Tableware Today magazine and reports on industry trends and news.

The Blue Ocean Punch Bowl cocktail at Benihana is meant to be shared. Photo: Benihana

Clearly the winner. When it comes to glassware, Stavis says color isn’t as popular as it was years ago. “Many factories have phased out their color processes. Clear glass is the most popular theme going—leaps and bounds ahead of anything else. For those that do color, it tends to be all-over color, not a design. In color, red is popular.”

The color in Benihana’s Blue Ocean Punch Bowl, introduced for the summer of 2014, comes from an ingredient mix including blue curacao syrup. The specialty cocktail, presented in a 60-ounce clear glass punchbowl filled with ice, is ideal for serving two or more guests.

A matter of taste. “A proliferation of glasses designed to enhance the taste of spirits—and beer glasses—are coming on strong,” Stavis says.

For example, drinking jars underscore farm-to-glass ingredients in artisan cocktails, while specialty beer glasses enhance the craft brew experience. There’s room for creativity, too. At Red Robin, the beverage program includes can-crafted cocktails served in reusable beer can drinkware. Among the newest introductions are the Wildbeer-y Can-Crafted Cocktail and the Beer ‘Rita Can-Crafted Cocktail, both of which combine beer and spirits.  

The Wildbeer-y Can Crafted Cocktail is a Red Robin signature drink combining beer and spirits, served in a souvenir beer can. Photo: Red Robin

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Stemless. Stavis notes the popularity of stemless glasses. This trend, in part, may be traced the versatility of stemless styles. Depending on the capacity, these glasses work for wine, cocktails and juices. The 6¼-ounce size, for instance, is ideal for a 2- or 3-ounce pour for wine flight tasting portions.

Wine programs take flight with creatively presented tasting portions. Photo: Libbey Foodservice
Contemporary glassware styles complement dessert classics such as Affogato served at Tanzy in Los Angeles. Photo: Tanzy

Versatile. “We’re seeing versatile glasses become more popular,” Stavis notes. “Companies are revving up all-purpose glasses once again.  Products doing double duty are more important as space constraints and price issues become the rule rather than the exception.”  

Versatility is a quality that expands beyond drinks, too, with cocktail glasses pressed into service for appetizer and dessert presentations. In addition, coffee cups and demitasse cups can serve as the vehicle for presenting soups, coffee-flavored desserts and specialties such as pot du crème. Tanzy in Los Angeles, for example, serves artisanal Italian cuisine, and serves desserts such as Affogato—a concoction of vanilla gelato, espresso and amaro bitter liqueur—in a stemless glass.

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