Why You Need To Chill Glassware Before Making Cocktails

There's a reason why professional bartenders employ the techniques that they do, and it's not simply to thoroughly impress customers with their skill and attention to detail. The reason why these tried and true techniques exist is because they make the drinks taste better. So if you want to enjoy the same quality cocktails at home as you do at bars and restaurants, these are techniques that you'll want to add to your own bartending repertoire.

Chilling glassware is definitely high on the list in this regard, as it impacts the finished product more than just aesthetically (although, yes, frosted glasses look cooler, too). More tangibly, according to The Spruce Eats, chilled glasses replace ice in "up" drinks (think martinis and the like), so the chill provides needed coolness in keeping the cocktail at its ideal temperature while also preserving the quality of the drink, since melting ice wouldn't be diluting it. Makes sense, right? Chilling is also a preservative in the sense that it keeps drinks cooler for longer, even if it's a drink that does include ice cubes. The ice just won't melt as fast.

Chilled glassware also has a direct correlation with taste, which Delish sums up succinctly: The best tasting cocktails are often the coldest ones.

The fine art of chilling

What's the best method to chill glassware? The choice likely comes down to how much forethought went into chilling prior to cocktail-making time. The simplest method, for example, consists of just popping the glassware into your freezer. Wine Enthusiast recommends leaving the glasses in it for about 30 minutes. However, if you forget to do this before cocktail hour or company comes at short notice, there is a great hack that will produce similarly frosty results in about one-tenth of the time. Serious Eats calls it the wet paper towel trick. As in, wrap one around the bowl of each glass before putting it into the freezer.

If you can never seem to remember to pre-chill glassware, that's okay. There's always the old standby beloved by generations of bartenders. Fill each glass with ice while you're making the drink in a cocktail shaker. The secret ingredient here, per Wine Enthusiast, is soda water. Pour some over the ice while it sits in the glasses, and the carbonation will speed up the chilling process. After a minute or two have passed, toss the ice and soda water in the nearest sink, and strain your cocktails into the chilled glassware.

Cheers! You've now mastered the art of the chill.