In the name of academic research we resolved to answer, once and for all the important question of what Drinking vessel produces the best cider drinking experience. Science is a dirty job but someone’s got to do it.

Each drinking vessel was to be scored on a scale of 0 to 10 for each of the following factors.

  • ease of use
  • Lip comfort
  • Hand friendliness
  • Atmospherics
  • Cool quotient
  • Flavour

We chose the following vessels for analysis.

Plastic (PET) bottle (2 litre)

Traditional handled and dimpled pint glass

Nonick Glass

Champagne flute

Tulip glass

Pewter tankard

Porcelain Stein

Methodology

In order to ensure the alisity of the experiment we used the same cider for each tasting. We chose a 2014 home brewed concoction that ran at about 8% and had been christened “The Destroyer” a couple of weekends ago.

The results

Starting with the PET bottle we rated this poorly for almost every factor except atmospherics. It turned out the reason the judges had it on the list in the first place was that they all remembered their formative cider experiences involving large bottles of white lightning down the park with their mates as teenagers.

When full, a 2 L PET bottle is too heavy; when half full it becomes unwieldy and when empty you probably have a headache. The shape of the bottle opening does nothing for the mouth and can (in one instance) even lead  to a chipped tooth.

Handled pint glass. This was the class that I assumed everybody would like best. The traditional dimpled and handled pint glass that was popular in pubs up until the 1990s. The glass that looks vaguely like a hand grenade has thick sides and the comforting weight. However one or two of the judges felt that this glass made them look uncool. I pointed out that they were drinking home brewed cider. Their and my understanding of the word ‘cool’ is clearly at odds.

Next we tried drinking cider from a nonick glass. I didn’t even know that these glasses had a name. We are talking about the standard pub glass with a slight bulge about two thirds of the way up the glass. The consensus of opinion was “meh”, “neither one thing nor the other” and “it’s fine”.

The team were starting to sway slightly at this point and I became worried for the efficacy of the experiment. Nonetheless we soldiered on.

Thankfully the next class was a standard champagne glass so only a small drink. Everybody enjoyed drinking their cider from the champagne glasses. The reason was that you could see the champagne (sorry, cider) very clearly and get a great idea Of its true colour and even watch the bubbles rise.  Using a flute  like this made the whole cider drinking experience seem a lot more upper-class and indeed more jovial. We all liked this. The only downside was that you have to keep refilling the flute every couple of minutes because it only holds a small amount of cider.

Next we moved on to tulip glasses. Please very popular in Europe but less so here in the UK. Luckily we had been to Belgium recently and come back with a number of branded (Leffe I think) tulip beer glasses. Basically these are bigger, more bulbous and more solidly built variants on champagne flutes. So you get all the benefits of a flute, I.e. bubbles and sophistication, and also you get more drink in the glass. So far, this was the clear favourite.

Next I pulled out the big guns, In the shape of some pewter tankards. Now these are traditional cider drinking vessels of the highest order. We all Enjoyed the coldness that seemed to be associated with pewter. We enjoyed the historic significance of drinking from those vessels that we all remember handing from shelves at the back of pubs. Above all, there is a sort of rustic charm that chimes beautifully with the rustic nature of cider itself.

One of the judges then spoiled the whole thing by telling us that pewter lead in it and we would poison ourselves to death if we didn’t stop drinking from them right away. At this point we were to far down the path of experimentation to focus on the iPad and check on google whether this was true or not.

So we switched to the final vessel a German porcelain stein with pewter lid. I think we declared it a winner, but my memories are pretty hazy from that part of the evening and my scribbled notes are unreadable.  Oh, well the only sensible option is to re-run the experiment next weekend.  All in the name of science of course.