Downing a drink doesn’t require any special skills, except dribbling it down your chin is not the right way. But picking the correct glass, pouring it right and the way to drink is a subject matter for intensive training. Here’s a ‘drinking etiquette 101’ as a primer.
To start with, this isn’t a “my way or the highway” kind of article. You’ve paid for your drink, and you’re entitled to have it any which way you want. All I can point out is a way or two, which might contribute towards the greater enjoyment of your experience.
It’s a fine line we tread. On the one hand, it’s important to savour and appreciate what you’re consuming, which is often the product of considerable skill and several years spent pining away in a wooden cask.
On the other, I don’t want to put it on a pedestal, which can only be drunk a certain way and therefore ends up intimidating or putting you off. Try what we’re suggesting here (if you haven’t already) and see if it’s something which adds to your enjoyment of what you’re savouring.
THE GUZZLERS BEER
It might be a fun drink but not one without any rules. Though stuffy etiquette coaches advice using a glass, if you’re consuming by the pint, it’s best consumed directly from the bottle. This helps preserve the foam.
Glass: Classic pilsner-style glass or a beer goblet or mug – we’re not picky.
The Pour: With other drinks as long as you don’t spill it all over, the pouring technique doesn’t matter. Except possibly for beer, where it’s preferable to have a few inches of foam at the top of the glass, as it keeps your beer fresher, by preventing the bubbles from escaping. It also looks great.
Can you visualise a glass of Guinness without a thick creamy foam, which gives you a dark mustache every time? To give your glass of beer a nice head, tilt it while pouring, and then gradually straighten the glass. Another tip – avoid the bottle touching the glass.
Serve At: 4-5oC
THE SNIFFERS WINE
From the temperature to the glass to holding it right, if making wine is a technique and an art, so is drinking it.
Glass: Glassware can broadly be divided into two types, those with a stem, and those without. Stemmed glasses are used typically for wine (red or white) or champagne. A white wine glass has a slightly smaller bowl than a red wine glass. Champagne is best consumed in a flute, as opposed to the earlier champagne saucers. A flute enables the drink to retain its fizz and sparkle for a longer period than a saucer.
The Hold: There’s a reason wine and champagne glasses have a stem. It’s so you can hold it by the stem, which not only looks elegant, but also prevents you from transferring the warmth of your hand to the bowl of the glass. And this is irrespective of the glass or the type of wine. Pinch the stem between your index finger and thumb.