To Stem or Not to Stem

Anybody out there like this trend of Martini Stemware without the ‘Stem’?

I’ve noticed a number of places serving my Martinis in glassware that is short, almost stubby, with a bulbous ‘foot’, and no noticeable ‘stem’.  The bowl is still an inverted triangle shape, but that’s about all that remains of the traditional Martini stem we all ‘grew up’ with.

I’m sure it doesn’t change the taste of the drink.  And it may actually keep the drink colder longer … see my past posts about cold stems.  Furthermore, with the lower center of mass it will make the glass less likely to tip over.  Would that be a reason the bar is using them?  Less breakage?

But it just doesn’t seem ‘right’.  Maybe I’m too much of a traditionalist, but I don’t think I like this trend.  Any comments or thoughts?

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7 thoughts on “To Stem or Not to Stem

  1. It is an interesting question. Does the bulbous glassware better or worse then the stemmed classic martini glass. I am inclined towards the later. A bulbous glass would be more appropriate for a scotch or whisky, a strong spirit. The warmth of your hand flowing through the glassware and enhancing the quality of the spirit. By the same measure the same glassware would, I feel, inhibiting the pleasure from the martini by warming it too quickly. For a drink best served chilled, that increase in temperature may lessen the enjoyment. A long explanation perhaps, but hopefully a logical one to say when one partakes of a martini a long stem is the best.

    1. A great explanation, thank you. And you bring up a good connection to Scotch, something else to think about.

  2. Hi, I have to say like you, I am a traditionalist and prefer the longer stem. I believe presentation is very important when it comes to food and drink therefore, to me a long stem has a classier look with a more feminine and pretty feel. Visual appeal is very important and my opinion is that a martini definitely tastes better when served in a glass with a longer stem…probably also the reason I am also not a fan of the stemless wine glass 😉

  3. The long stem is primarily to provide an extended thermal path to allow the glass to be held without imparting much heat from the drinker’s 98.6 degree hand. That’s the same reason that wine and champagne glasses have long stems–remember that wine and champagne, like the traditional martini, are served without added ice, which would otherwise help considerably to hold the liquid at its desired temperature.

    Glasses that are intended to be held in the user’s hand often hold considerable ice to stabilize the liquid’s temperature, as in the case of a Manhattan, Old Fashioned, or most “tall” drinks.

    From that standpoint, the ideal Martini glass should probably be nearly spherical, since that shape maximizes the internal volume while presenting the minimum surface area to the environment, where the heat transfer occurs.

    1. Barrie, welcome my friend and thank you for your thoughts. I especially like the spherical glass concept. As you point out a sphere maximizes the volume to surface area ratio and this would absolutely minimize thermal losses. Excellent point.

    2. In the case of Manhattans, they’re usually served up in a martini glass. The whole reason they’re not shaken is to avoid watering the drink down. Serving them on the rocks defeats this purpose.

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