For Bon Appétit, by Rochelle Bilow.
There comes a time in every adult's life when it becomes apparent that you're too damn old to be drinking wine out of mason jars and coffee mugs. Just kidding. That's always appropriate. But there is something to be said about investing in quality glasses. You know--the fragile ones with elegant stems. The ones that cost as much as a night in a fancy hotel. The good ones. But with those glasses comes a certain responsibility. You've got to keep them sparkling and in one piece. Here's how to properly care for (and clean!) your crazy-expensive wine glasses.
Keep your lavender dish soap far, far away
Just as you should never wear perfume or cologne to a wine tasting, you definitely don't want to ruin your sensory experience by muddying it up with scented dish soap. Garrett Smith, beverage director at Sushi Nakazawa in NYC, explains you'll be burying your nose in the glass (or, if that's not your thing, it'll at least be in the general vicinity), and washing with a fruity or floral scented detergent is an equally punishable offense. "A perfect glass should smell like nothing," says Smith.
In fact, maybe don't use soap at all
Smith says that he typically doesn't even use soap when washing his glasses at home (and admittedly, at home he's not always drinking out of expensive glasses--he'll cop to the occasional jar of wine). "I often just run the glass under very hot water," he says. Unless the glass has been sitting for days with a sip of Bordeaux left, residual wine left in the glass should come right out.
Use a gentle sponge
This is not the time for your coarse scrubbie. Use a very soft sponge and apply gentle pressure when rubbing the soap into the base. Use a little firmer touch when cleaning the rim--lip gloss, balm, and lipstick often leaves a stubborn mark that needs extra attention.
On second thought, don't use a sponge at all
Smith rarely uses a sponge or dish cloth for his stemware. If the job calls for soap, he uses his hand to gently work it into a lather before rinsing. For flutes and thin glasses, just swirl the soapy water inside the glass, then fill the bowl with water and rinse until it runs clear. Alternately, you can scrunch up a dish cloth and work that into the glass.
Letting stemware drip-dry not only invites jostling and breaking, it will likely result in water spots and cloudiness. Some places, like NYC, have hard water with lots of minerals. That's what makes the water taste so good, but it also leaves deposits on glassware. Those splotches are unsightly, and they also slowly chip away at the integrity of the glasses, weakening it over time. Instead, use a soft cloth napkin with a high thread count or a polishing cloth made specifically for the job. A basic microfiber cloth will also do the trick.
For stubborn stains...
For red wine residue and really tough lipstick marks (MAC doesn't call it a "stain" for nothin'), the industry secret is a little Fixodent mixed with hot water. It's gentle enough for your glassware (it's a denture cleaner, after all), and annihilates any trace of that big Australian shiraz. Still not satisfied? A little non-toxic Oxyclean diluted with hot water will do the trick. "Don't let it sit for more than two minutes, and rinse it thoroughly," says Smith, "Because that sh*t will leave a residue itself."
Keep those glasses out of the dishwasher
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