Good alcoholic beverages, whether red or white wine, cocktails, beer, whiskey or vodka, are a frequent accompaniment to friendly parties and celebrations. Proper serving of alcohol is essential to creating a pleasant atmosphere. Decanters, pitchers, decanters and corkscrews are an integral part of the service. They create a special aesthetics and help to reveal the flavors of alcoholic beverages in order to fully enjoy them.
Why is wine served in a decanter?
Red wine is traditionally served in a decanter, a vessel with a wide base and a divergent neck.
Why pour wine into a decanter when you can serve it in a beautiful bottle? – You may ask. This manipulation is important for young wines, which due to their aeration (oxygenation) acquire a more delicate and balanced taste. Almost 90% of wines sold in the wine stores are young, which means that wine lovers could use a decanter at home. Decanters are also indispensable for elite aged wines, as they “cut off” the sediment (tartrate) that builds up in the bottle over time. If this sediment ends up in the glass it spoils not only the taste of the drink, but also the experience of drinking it.
Tart young red wines are saturated with tannins, and it is recommended to decant them for at least 30 minutes, while aged wines sometimes need an hour. White and rosé wines do not need to be decanted. At least that’s what professional sommeliers say. Because their bouquet is fragile, and additional decanting can ruin it. However, white wines that are full-bodied and aged in a barrel become softer and more flavorful when decanted. Decanters for white and rosé wines are different in shape and resemble an elongated decanter.
A good rule of decanting is to pour the wine slowly and gently into the decanter. It is also important to maintain the temperature. Almost all red wines (Bordeaux, Merlot and Cabernet) should be chilled to 16 to 18°C, while young wines, such as Beaujolais Nouveau, should be chilled to 14 to 15°C. White wines (Muscat, Chablis, Riesling) need to be cooled more, on average to 8-12°C.
What to serve table and house wines in?
In our tradition, table wines and homemade wines are quite common at holidays. What are the peculiarities of these drinks? “Table wine” was called a wine that was served with various dishes on weekdays without any special occasion.
Such wine is almost never aged, as soon as it is bottled, after partial fermentation it is immediately ready for consumption. The region of production plays no role at all. Homemade wine is made according to a similar technology. That is why it has a poor level of refinement and no aging.
The table wine is divided into the classical categories: red, white and rose as well as dry, semi-dry, sweet and semi-sweet. If it is produced with a single grape variety, it is classified as a coupage wine, and if it is made with several grape varieties, it is classified as a coupage wine. The strength of the wine usually doesn’t exceed 14 degrees. The sugar content is about 160 grams per 1 liter. If the residual sugar in the wine is more, it is considered a dessert wine.
It is recommended to serve table and house wine in a jug, preferably a glass jug of a classical shape. Such a vessel will emphasize the rich color of the drink. However, for family celebrations you can also take a ceramic jug. This material maintains the original temperature of the wine and does not distort the taste properties. Another interesting option is a vessel made of stainless steel. The metal, too, does not affect the taste of the wine and keeps a pleasant coolness.
What do you serve hard alcohol in?
Elite spirits should be served in a corkscrew. In the classic version, it is a four-sided bottle with a narrow, elongated neck, corked. Though in a modern reading the shape of a bottle may be rounded, faceted with a volumetric decoration or stylization. For example, gift items are made in the form of a tower, pyramid, skull, cannon, etc. More often corks are made of crystal or crystal glass, but there are also products of ceramics and porcelain.
According to the rules of alcohol etiquette, cognac, whiskey, rum, grappa, tequila and armagnac are served in the corkscrew. In fact every such drink is a distillate, which is why before serving it needs aeration, i.e. oxygenation. The corkscrew allows the drinks to “breathe” a little before drinking. But here is an important nuance. Such a vessel can be used only for serving, but not for long-term storage. Since the cork does not fit tightly to the neck, over time, the strong alcohol begins to dry out and lose its valuable qualities.
How to serve vodka properly?
The decanter and the corkscrew can be called relatives. In principle, both are optimal for vodka. However, connoisseurs of this traditional Russian drink prefer decanters. Calvados, rakija, plum vodka and other types of strong alcohol similar to vodka can also be served in a decanter. But in this case the volume of the vessel should not exceed 500 ml.
As is known, vodka likes cold. It is very convenient to cool the drink in a decanter – the rules do not prohibit it. Although sometimes the shot glasses themselves are put in the refrigerator or cover the bottle with ice on all sides. Why is it important? The point is that at low temperatures the viscosity of the vodka increases, and due to the denser texture it better envelopes the mouth.
But here it is important not to overdo it. If the drink is cooled below the 6-8°C mark, the aroma and flavor shades will not be perceptible at all. At room temperature the vodka will gradually become warm, and the smell of alcohol will overpower all other flavors. A decanter is needed precisely to maintain the optimal temperature of the drink, and with it, the taste.