I drink soda. I like soda. I don’t drink as much as I did but I still enjoy the refreshing quality an ice cold Coke brings on a hot day. When it comes to drinking soda, I prefer to drink regular Coke or the occasional Dr. Pepper or Mr. Pibb, perhaps a root beer or cream soda now and again. I don’t go for diet ever. It doesn’t taste the same. I prefer my sugar real not from a lab.
I recently saw an advertisement by Riedel, the Austrian glass maker renowned for their line of wine glasses, offering a glass for Coca-Cola. I laughed at first, but I caught my self and thought “what if this works.” How could it work? I know Coke from a can isn’t the same as a liter or two liter bottle. The fountain soda varies, the best being from McDonald’s for obvious reasons. Mexican Coke is/was made from real sugar cane and comes in a glass bottle. All of that I knew made Coke taste different but how would the glass factor in.
Riedel is known for making wine glasses based on the style on the varietal or for the more casual drinker a “wine friendly” glass. The science behind it all is staggering but it works. The glass allows wine to rest in the glass with or without certain amounts of air. The lip of the glass focuses the wine in to the mouth exactly where it should go on your taste buds. I knew all of this but still couldn’t wrap my head around how it would work with soda.
I couldn’t find them retail in Chicago. So, I found a deal online for two of the glasses to come in one package and then waited anxiously for the delivery. When they arrived I was like a kid in a candy store, ready to eat the candy before I paid for it. I first noticed the glass was light, very light. I was worried it would break easily but the glass is strong and survived the dishwasher. It also appeared small but with a liquid test the glass holds exactly 16 oz or one pint. You might not believe me on this because honestly I still don’t believe it. The shape is reminiscent of the classic Coca Cola tulip glass we’ve seen before in advertising and giveaways. This glass is a bit more hour glass and reminded me of the Spade in a deck of cards.
I filled the glass with some ice and poured in the Coke, from a can. When I went to drink my first sip, I noticed the top was small and forced me to purse my lips a bit. My nose felt snug in the glass but I started to get the aroma of the soda as I drank. Smell and taste are linked and this is the first difference I noticed. The liquid soda hit the roof of my mouth and cascaded down the sides. The carbonation, the sweet taste of caramel notes and then hints of citrus, it was definitely not like the Coke I have had before. This is no novelty glass.
I immediately poured another glass in a traditional pint and then a Collins glass. The soda flowed in like a flood drenching all of the taste buds and you don’t get the same intense carbonation as you would with the Coke glass. The roof of your mouth never really comes in to play like it does with the Riedel glass. It was very surprising to taste the difference. It’s the perfect glass and the only glass you should drink Coke from.
If you or a friend enjoys the occasional Coke, you should consider strongly buying this glass. It’s a great gift and one they will enjoy. I bought two and plan to buy more. You can find them online at various outlets just Google “Riedel Coke Glass” and the best prices will come up.
Joe Campagna is the Chicago Food Snob. A former restaurant General Manager, Server and Chef you can find him on twitter @chifoodsnob. You can reach him through email at firstname.lastname@example.org