Kamis, 30 Agustus 2012

The Art of Glasses

Glassware, traditional cocktail glasses have sloping sides and a stem, making ihem ideal for drinks served without ice or large, elaborate fruit garnishes. But you may also find ones with a rounded cup, reminiscent of the popular style in the twenties and thirties and jmilar to champagne glasses. These come in a variety of sizes, with capacity ranging from 3 to 6 ounces. The large ones are most suited drinks made with cream or fruit juice, and the smaller ones are porlect for dry aperitifs, other cocktails, and very alcoholic after dinner drinks. By the way, the thinner a cocktail glass is, the quicker it will chill in the refrigerator.

Rocks glasses are short, with thick bottoms, and are also known as low ball glasses. They are so named because they are most commonly used for serving measures of straight liquor poured "on the rocks." Old-fashioned glasses, another type of short glass with a bump in the bottom, are used for the eponymous classic blended whiskey and sweet vermouth drink.

Both these glasses are interchangeable and no in a range of sizes, holding 4 to 10 ounces, while a double old-fashioned glass has a capacity of about 16 ounces. Tall straight highball glasses, holding about 8 ounces, are the ones used for a spirits plus a mixer, such as scotch and soda or bourbon and water. Collins glasses are similar but larger and often frosted, and used for the sweetened gin and soda drink called a Tom Collins.

Balloon-shaped brandy snifters range in size from 5 ounces, small enough to cradle in the palm of one hand, to ones for holding up to 3 cups of liquid. Whatever size you choose, however, the most important feature is the narrow opening. This allows the drinker to sniff the drink's concentrated aroma easily. Always remember only to pour a thin layer of brandy in the bottom of the glass--it should never be filled above one-quarter full.

An American-style champagne glass, also called a champagne saucer or a coupe, or a tall, European-style champagne flute, is the natural choice for serving any sparkling wine or aperitifs prepared with champagne or sparkling wine, such as Kir Royale. Perhaps the most useful glasses to have behind the bar are wine glasses. The ideal white wine glass is thin with a tall stem and is tulip shaped, which bellies at the bottom and narrows at the top. The red wine glass has a shorter stem and is also slightly tulip shaped. The burgundy glass is the most versatile of the red wine glasses. It can, in fact, be used to serve beer and red aperitifs, too.

A useful, inexpensive, everyday wine glass, with a balloon shape, which is suitable for serving either red or white wine and numerous cocktails, is called the Paris goblet. Note that when pouring wine, a big glass should be filled only half full, and a small glass only two-thirds full. Dessert wines or brandies are served in a small, tulip-shaped liqueur glass, or in a liqueur saucer. You can also use the liqueur.

In serve fruit spirits and fruit eaux-de-vie. Dessert wine glasses ,iKo appropriate for serving fortified wines, as well as flips,, and other short drinks. Alcoholic and nonalcoholic punches are popular for celebratory gatherings and other large parties. Punch glasses are squat glasses lerized by having a handle and wide opening, but not a stem. If you are serving a hot punch, grog, or mulled wine be sure to use a h oof glass with a handle that will not become too hot to hold.

In addition to the above classic types of glassware, there is also a plethora of special glasses, such as the pousse-cafe glass for the famous layered cocktail, the flip glass, the sour glass, and novelty glasses for just about every occasion. But, as already mentioned, it is only worth acquiring all these glasses in the rarest of cases, because most drinks can be served in glasses you already own, even if the style is not quite right.

If, for example, you already have white wine glasses, I use them for fizzes and crustas. If your champagne flutes are not too narrow then you can also serve flips, frappes, and daisies in them, kinds of tall glass or Collins glasses have versatile uses and, for example, are ideal for highballs, fizzes, and milkshakes. Carafes or pitchers also have a place in your home bar. They are good for pouring fruit and vegetable juices, cream, and milk.

Rabu, 15 Agustus 2012

The Art of Glass Making

In a previous article I discussed the affect that shape and size have on the taste of wine. Now we need to consider the composition and construction of glass and ultimately crystal stemware.

Glass has been made for thousands of years from products like sand, limestone, and naturally occurring potassium products. It was used for making beads and dishes as well as fine crystal, the art of which has been around for many years.

Leaded crystal was first developed in the 17th Century in England when an Englishman named George Ravenscroft pioneered the addition of lead oxide to produce lead crystal. This oxide makes the glass more malleable and able to be hand cut or blown. It also gives glass a greater density making it more brilliant and clear and giving a sparkle when light shines on it.

Today the quantity of lead oxide in lead crystal glasses is carefully regulated up to a maximum of 33% but typically from 24-32%. The more lead, the more sparkle providing the familiar "ping" when glasses are clinked, a characteristic not shown in plain glassware. Since lead crystal is softer, it is more delicate and easily scratched. Manufacturing crystal glass requires a lot of effort and is labor intensive. Less expensive crystal glasses made by machines do not deliver the quality in design or sparkle that a skilled glassblower can produce.

Glass melts at temperatures around 2600F. The glassblower places an appropriate amount of this molten glass on the end of a long narrow tube-like pipe. Using his lungs he blows air into this pipe. Great skill and vision are now needed. By controlling the air flow from his lungs and twisting and turning the pipe using other specials tools, he molds the glass into the desired shape as the glass cools. If it fails to live up to the expected quality or design, the glass is broken and and returned to the foundry. Hence the high cost of hand made lead crystal stemware.

Despite the glassblower's great skill, the finest crystal may have minute air bubbles or other marks. Although they are technically flaws, they are actually a means of identifying mouth or hand blown crystal. Crystal stemware has a coarser and more porous surface than ordinary glassware. This surface helps release and thus enhance the special aromas of wine which makes lead crystal glasses much sought after by wine drinkers.

The three parts of a wine glass are the bowl into which the wine is poured, the stem to hold the glass, and the base on which is stands. The function of the base is obvious. The stem prevents the warmth of one's hand from heating the wine, particularly white wines. It is the bowl that affects the pleasures of wine drinking the most. Even the construction of the lip or rim of the bowl can have an affect. There are typically two types of rim, one rolled and one cut. The cut rim is flat and sharp allowing the wine to flow smoothly from the bowl to the tongue. The rolled rim flares outward to retain the bouquet inside the glass. Although the shape of the glass was discussed previously, it is important to stress the need to pour only three to four ounces when drinking. This leaves room for the wine to breathe and to allow the nose to recognize the differing bouquets. It also allows one to appreciate and determine the color of the wine.

Michael Evans was born in England, worked as Brewer for Guinness. Moved to U.S.A. in 1992. Since then has been in sales and distribution of imported and domestic beers and wine.

Now lives in Texas, semi retired. Interests include golf, reading and crossword puzzles. Maintains web site on crystal stemware and enjoys cooking and slurping wine.

Rabu, 08 Agustus 2012

Glass Mosaic Tile Art - Mosaic Glass Cutters

Making wonderful glass mosaic tile art is easy! Let me show you how.

Wheeled glass cutters are essential for creating glass mosaics. I use it to cut and shape vitreous glass and stained glass. It can also be used to cut smalti. The wheeled cutters make cleaner cuts than tile nippers. The two carbide wheels (or steel, if you buy cheap cutters) are fixed in position. Instead of scoring and breaking, the wheels apply even pressure to the top and bottom sides of the glass, causing it to fracture along the line of the wheels.

The wheels are replaceable and eventually go dull, but not before several thousand cuts. Each wheel is held in place by a setscrew (usually an Allen screw). As your cuts become noticeably less clean than when the cutters were new, use an Allen wrench to loosen the screws, rotate each wheel about 1/8-inch, and then re-tighten the screws. By changing the location of where each wheel touches the glass, you have, in effect, replaced the blades. It'll take a long time and many cuts to use the entire circumference of the wheels, especially if they're carbide.

When the wheels finally do become dull, I suggest buying a whole new tool. The wheels make up the bulk of the tool's cost, so you won't save much by just buying replacement wheels. With a brand new tool, not only are the wheels sharp, but the rubber handle grips are new and clean (the rubber wears down and becomes dirty) and the spring is secured in-place. Every now and then, the spring breaks free from my cutters. The tool still works with a loose spring, but there's nothing to keep the handles from spreading too far apart. When that happens, the spring falls off. It's quite annoying to drop the spring, watch it bounce out of reach, and then have to get out of my chair to retrieve it. I tried soldering it permanently in place, but it didn't work because I couldn't get the metal hot enough. So, until I buy a new tool, the spring constantly falls off. Another reason to buy a new tool instead of just replacement wheels is, if you drop the tool, it's possible to knock the wheels out of alignment. So, after several projects when you think the wheels need replacing, I suggest buying a whole new tool.

When your new tool arrives, use an Allen wrench to tighten the screws as tight as possible. Then, use an engraver, paint, felt-tip marker (or whatever you have that makes a permanent mark) to make a small tick mark on the side of each wheel where it touches the glass when cutting (the two tick marks should be aligned opposite each other). I use an engraving tool for making the tick marks so I don't have to worry about paint or ink eventually rubbing off. After a few hundred cuts, loosen the screws, turn each wheel slightly, and then re tighten the screws. After several of these adjustments, the tick marks have gone full circle indicating that it's time to replace the tool (or just the wheels, if you prefer).

Don't be surprised if the wheels rotate by themselves. No matter how hard I crank down on those screws, it apparently isn't tight enough because the wheels slowly rotate by themselves from the pressure exerted during the cutting action. After several days and many cuts, I notice the tick marks are no longer aligned directly opposite each other, which indicates the wheels have rotated slightly. Maybe I'm a weakling, but I just can't get the screws tight enough to keep them static. However, that's okay with me because, if they turn by themselves, then I don't have to manually do it.

Remember, making mosaic art is easy. You can do it. Yes, you can!

Bill Enslen has created lovely mosaic art for 30 years. Please visit his website at Glass Mosaic Tile Art. While browsing his mosaic gallery, you may think, "I wish I could do that." Well, you can! It's easy, fun, and you don't even have to be artsy. Have you ever read a mosaic book or website and thought, "Okay, so now what?" or "How in the world am I supposed to do that?" or "What does that mean?" You're not alone. To solve this dilemma, Bill wrote a new eBook, Mosaic Pieces: Essentials for Beginner and Professional Mosaic Artists. It gives you step-by-step details for creating your own mosaic masterpieces. It's jam-packed with color photographs and illustrations that make the process extremely easy to understand. Visit his website and read the free sample chapters. Let him show you just how easy it is. With Bill's help, you can do it. Yes, you can!