This may not be allowed on this board, but it didn't seem to belong in cookware. I'm looking to buy some glassware as a gift for a friend. I'm really looking for something high quality and special--and preferably something heavy in the hand. Not looking for a full bar set or anything like that, maybe just a pair--wine glasses, double old fashioneds, not sure. Any suggestions for some really high quality lines?
Tiffany makes some beautiful stemware. I haven't looked recently, though. The units are fairly expensive and should be hand washed. Still, I have a set of port glasses that I use on special occasions end enjoy.
For everyday cocktails, I use Crate and Barrel "Winston" single malt glasses. They perfectly hold a craft-sized cocktail (3-4 oz of ingredients, plus ice melt, plus ice). They do chip if washed in the dishwasher, so I replace them when they get too chipped. The have a heavy base but thin sides. I freeze them, and the heavy base gives a bit more thermal mass.
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Might we ask what is your budget? If it is going to be just a pair that your friend does not expect to fill in on their own than that busts things wide open.
Personally, I have a nice pair of crystal wine glasses, and a pair of really nice champaign flutes that I use on occasion, similar to what I believe that you are proposing to gift, and then a brace of glassware for everyday use. Nothing really matches the delicacy, heft and ring of nice crystal. If you are concerned about the lead in the crystal, than they have non-leaded crystal glasses, but I find them to be on the thick/bulky side compared to the leaded versions.
A special pair: something like Waterford Lismore (a popular pattern that they will not discontinue anytime soon, so if they do want to expand and match they can) or the Baccarat Massena.
A small group of friends over, very nice (and still gift quality, at least to my friends and family) Schott Tritan lead free crystal glasses.
Day to day for personal use or for mass parties, I use Libby bought by the box in bulk.
I'm with what EvergreenDan recommended in that I prefer DOF/cocktail glasses to be on the plainer side with a thick heavy base (though I prefer shorter and fatter). As one is less likely to touch them together when toasting, a nice bell like ring characteristic is not as needed. You could get crystal DOF like the Baccarat Perfection, but I'd personally just gift something like a pair of Schott Paris DOF, or what the Winston glasses EvergreenDan mentioned
How much time do you have? You could browse antique shops and auctions for something nice. I know this sounds hard to believe but I got a whole set (over 60 pieces) of immaculate antique cut crystal at an auction for $17 - That would be tough to beat but you might find interesting groups of pieces.
Thanks a lot for the tips, everyone. All great suggestions that I'll have to look into. I'm really just looking to buy a pair of glasses, and I doubt that the friend will be completing the set--it's mostly just for her and her boyfriend to use, not for entertaining. I don't really have a set budget in mind, just nothing outrageous, but something nice enough that they hold up, nice cut, quality is evident, and feels good in the hand. Unfortunately I don't have enough time to browse antique shops, and was actually just hoping to purchase online. Thanks again.