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Margaritas & Martinis: Does The Glass Matter...? [moved from General Topics]

Does anyone (else) prefer their margarita in a margarita glass or a short, rocks glass as opposed to a giant water glass - so much so that they request a specific glass or ask about the glass before ordering? For the life me, I can't figure out why anyone currently running a Mexican restaurant would choose to serve a margarita in a water glass over a margarita glass - yet this is how more than half of margaritas are served. And if you ask for it in a rocks glass, most bartenders will look at you like you're crazy. As if to say "you're margarita is gonna be smaller...don't you want it in this giant big-gulp cup?"

At this point you know you're in for a seriously tart, syrupy, juicy glass of sweet and sour mix. So then you have to tell the guy to make it a double in a rocks glass (in order to combat the insane amount of mix or orange juice or whatever else he's going to put in your drink.

Just as bad - the Martini served in those cone-shaped stemless glasses. You'll primarily see this in Asian places. Isn't half the pleasure of drinking a martini - the glass? Would anyone agree that a Martini served in something without a stem is basically a cup of vodka? --- or is it me?

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  1. I don't order margaritas at bars and restaurants unless I know there won't be sour mix in it. Which means I rarely order a margarita at a bar or restaurant. I enjoy them up in a cocktail glass or coupe or on the rocks in a rocks glass, depending on my mood.

    I don't drink vodka martinis in any glass.

    1. Glass matters. A stemmed martini glass is meant to be lifted carefully and slowly, and kept level. I'm an anal time-motion freak, and my martini's are usually 11 lifts.

      I am fussy about 'ritas, and I give specific instructions which include no mix or tricks. I like a short, barrel-shaped, thick walled glass that I can clasp, with salted rim. And a high signal to noise ratio. 12 lifts per 'rita, with about 30 degrees of counterclockwise rotation per lift to enjoy the salt.

      1. Usually glass service reflects the quality of the establishment...or the familiarity with the drink...not every place (or bartender, even) understands a gin martini...and of course, margaritas have been
        made into Kool-Aid for a long time...

        1. I rarely order a Margarita when I'm out because it's nothing but a big ol' really sweet Slurpee and you usually have to order an extra shot to ensure there's enough tequila in it.

          I make Margaritas at home almost every weekend for my 92 year old mother. They're not for sissys. I usually fill a double old fashioned glass with ice cubes and then fill with Margarita.

          I love Martini glasses but usually use them as alternative serving dishes for appetizers and such.

          1. Whether it is a martini, a Margarita, or a glass of fine, rare Bordeaux, the glass matters.

            It is about the visuals, the heft, the presentation of the flavors, and everything in between.

            Do not skimp on the stemware.


            2 Replies
            1. re: Bill Hunt

              Nice, Hunt. Well said.

              And Veggo, if you're joking, then I'll tell you this -- I literally laughed my ass of when I read your post. And if you're not joking, then you're a mad genius -- because deep down I'm thinking you your "30 degrees of counterclockwise rotation per lift to enjoy the salt" makes a lot of sense.

              1. re: fullmix

                I can share this with you (do not tell Veggo, though), he IS a mad genius, but is also most often pulling someone's leg along the way.


            2. As long as the glass doesn't leak, I'll drink out of a jelly jar.

              1. Well, I make REAL martinis...with gin. (We all know this fight). And in a way I suppose mine are almost just a glass of gin BUT I do believe in vermouth and melting ice. Here in the stygian swamps of Louisiana I take them on the rocks usually but, if they are in the "traditional" glass, I like to have about half or 3/4 size becuase those damn things are so easy to slosh over the side even if they do look classy. In either case, the glass must be thin.

                1 Reply
                1. re: hazelhurst

                  I cannot quote in detail, but once read of the "perfect Martini."

                  Gentleman - "I want a Martini with gin, and just a 'whisper' of Vermouth."
                  Bartender - "Here you go. Gin Martini, with but a 'whisper' of Vermouth."
                  Gentleman - "Loud mouth!!!!"

                  Now, as I am an avowed wino (though do concoct "Captain Billy's Wonderful Margaritas" in "season," I would not know a great Martini, if it landed in my lap. Still, I have about 15 Gins, and a dozen Vodkas, plus a half-dozen Vermouths on hand, just for my guests. If I have the time, I'll mix for them, but as there are so many tastes out there, normally turn those duties over to the drinker. I provide the ingredients, the hardware, and the ice, and let them "have at it."

                  Now, when our dinner, or event is catered, we have a great bartender, and even the most jaded Martini drinkers say that he's the best. I just stay the heck out of Scott's way, and let the guests enjoy. To date, all have.


                  PS - my caterer also brings some very rare Single-malt Scotch Whiskeys, plus a complete Grappa bar, so many bases are covered - along with my 3 levels of wines. Basic is for everyone, and then there is the next level, that requires a password. Finally, there is the rare wine level, and it requires a secret handshake, as well.

                2. For Margaritas, I've always had it served in a Margarita glass if it was a slushy one and if a rocks glass if on the rocks--salt can be applied for either one. As to martinis, I like them in martini glasses that are not too large because I don't want too large a martini.

                  1. The purpose of a stemmed cocktail glass is for you to be able to pick up the glass using the stem, so that you don't end up warming the drink with the heat from your hand. So going by this, any cocktail that's not served over ice should be served in a stemmed glass. Although I'm not sure how many people actually hold cocktail glasses by the stem (probably because often they'll be filled almost to the point of overflowing, making them too unwieldy), so that might be a bit of a moot point.

                    Then there's the matter of size; naturally, you'll want a size glass that's proportionate to the size of the drink you have, and as you pointed out, a larger drink will probably be horrifically imbalanced.

                    Beyond that a lot of what glass you use is just aesthetic. Cocktail glasses can come in great variety, so I don't think it's necessary to stick to the iconic cone-shaped glass for a Martini, so long as the presentation is still appealing. As far as a Margarita, I'd say any glass you can use for one you can use for the other.