Selecting a glass for Mezcal depends on purpose and situation. If you want to relax, a veladora glass is okay. If you are a distillery and the producer offers it in a plastic cup or jicarita or whatever they offer it in, you accept and we’re sure you’ll enjoy it. But if your purpose is to understand Mezcal, its flavours and aromas, then you need the appropriate glass for the job.
At @Agavache we guide Mezcal tastings and offer the best and most complete experience in each sip. To achieve this, we know that the shape, size, material, and thickness of the glass have an effect on the Mezcal and on your perception of it, so we want to share with you some of the characteristics that you should be looking for in your glass.
Winefolly shared some scientific evidence to prove that the shape of the glass changes the perception of the spirit inside. In 2015 a group of doctors in Japan used a special chamber to capture images of ethanol vapours in different glasses. The proved that the different shapes of the glasees affected the density and position of those vapours, and the way they reached the mouth of the glass. Keep in mind that those vapours are what transports the aromatic compounds of the spirit to our nose, the way the are collected and taken to our perception by the glass changes the quantity and quality of the aromas we perceive.
Considering this, the characteristics that a proper tasting glass should have are:
- Wide diameter: aromas travel in the volatile alcohols that detach themselves from the surface of the spirit. Having a large surface benefits the perception of more aromas while you drink.
- Olfactive chamber: the space between the surface of the liquid and the mouth of the glass. The bigger, the more aromas it will collect, and the easier it will be to circulate the liquid to open up other aromas.
- Wide mouth but not too wide: enough to introduce your nose comfortably, but not so that the liquid would spill when swirling it. This also allows to retain certain aromas and makes them easier to perceive.
- Thin lips: the thinner the lips or edge of the glass, the less it will interfere with the drinking experience. (However, a thicker lip will prolong the life and resistance of the glass.)
As far as material goes, crystal is always better, specially considering thee way it refracts light. Glass is also a great choice, and it does not absorb any chemical aromas or corrosive substances (when in the dishwasher, for example) which does happen with the «jicara» or gourds, which are highly porous and absorbent. Clay or glass «jicaritas» are aceptable, jus be careful that the clay ones do not imprint a clay flavour/smell to you mezcal. For visual appreciation, crystal and glass really can’t be beat. They allow clarity and better appreciation of elements such as the «pearls», the «legs» or «tears, and the texture of Mezcal.
Mezcal is a unique spirit, from a plant that can take over a decade to grow, with an artisanal and historic process, and it is important to serve it and give it the attention deserved by such a high quality and complex spirit. So treat you mezcal like you would treat a good wine, a single malt scotch, or Cognan, and you will enjoy it, understand it, and appreciate it so much more.
JANZEN, Emma (2017), Mezcal: The history, craft & cocktails of the world’s ultimate artisanal spirit, Quarto Publishing Group, Minneapolis, USA, 2017.
PUCKETTE, Madeleine, «The Importance of a Wine Glass», Winefolly, 14 de marzo 2019, https://winefolly.com/tutorial/importance-wine-glass/
PUCKETTE, Madeleine, «How To Choose The Right Wine Glasses For You», Winefolly, 18 de abril, 2019, https://winefolly.com/tutorial/the-importance-of-a-proper-wine-glass/