Sometimes I find that I just have to treat myself to a much-deserved glass of wine after a long day of work, or sip a flute of bubbly to celebrate a special occasion. But you would be surprised to learn that there are very specific rules when it comes to the way you hold your drink. Clutching your cocktail correctly might be a custom that we often overlook, but I’ve found that it is just as important as basic table manners. Whether you’re a guest at a summer dinner party or the happy hour host, these essential-yet-simple tips will remind you to grasp your glass the proper way the next time you wine and dine. Without further ado, here are my rules for holding drinks:

  • White wine & champagne. Always hold your glass or flute by the stem. Holding it by the “bowl” warms your drink, and both white wine and sparkling wine taste best when chilled. Instead of holding the bowl, pinch the stem between your index finger and thumb. Otherwise, you might get called a “bowl grabber.” No thank you!
  • Red wine. First of all, a bottle of red should always be uncorked or poured into a decanter for a while before serving so it has time to breathe. This improves the taste enormously! Like white wine and champagne, red wine should be held by the stem (contrary to popular belief). Not only does it keep your merlot or cabernet the right temperature (a little cooler than room temp), it also prevents your fingers from leaving smudgy prints on the glass too.

Now that you know how to hold your glass correctly, you might find these tips helpful too:

  • Proper placement. When setting your glass down on a dinner table, place it to the right of your water glass.
  • Eye contact. You may remember from my post on Cheers & Toasts that it is polite to hold eye contact when clinking someone’s glass. Otherwise, you risk seven years bad luck, according to the French superstition.
  • Keep glasses full. If you’re the host, make sure your guests’ drinks are never empty.
  • Direct your gaze. While sipping your drink, you should direct your stare into your glass. It is impolite to look at another person while drinking if you are in conversation.
  • Chill champagne flutes. When serving champagne place the flutes in the refrigerator beforehand to chill them. Like I said before, champagne tastes best chilled!
  • Filling facts. Know the appropriate measurements when pouring drinks. Red wine glasses should be 1/3 full, white wine should be ½, and sparkling wine or champagne should be ¾. A glass that is too heavy might result in an unladylike spill.
  • The “twist pour.”To prevent dripping, when filling your glass, twist the bottle at the end of pouring. It also looks pretty fancy!

So there you have it. You now know how to hold, serve and drink wine and champagne like a true lady. Class dismissed! Now go ahead and celebrate with a glass or two (and for those of you who don’t drink, treat yourself to something sweet for reading this anyway)!

If anything, just remember: Always hold by the stem.

Do you have a Ladylike Laws request? Let me know what you’d like to learn the etiquette for in the comments below.

XO Lauren

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Sources: Real Simple, EHow, vinnakatz.com, joannagoddard.blogspot.com, SFGate.com

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  • Suzanne Freed

    How do you hold a glass of soda (T-totaler here)?