What makes a good cocktail?

The best cocktails mixologists don’t just focus on the ingredients. We talk to London’s finest to find out how the glass is just as important as what goes into it.

Birds of Paradise Crystal Cocktail Glasses, set of 6

17th Century England

The origin of the cocktail is one of constant dispute, however, hard liquors began to appear in England from the 17th century, and by the mid-nineteenth, the first cocktail recipe book had been printed, by one Jerry Thomas in the United States. Safe to say, since then, the mixing of spirits to create delicious drinks has been incredibly popular, with ever newer and more outrageous creations invented behind bars across the world.

Drinking Habits and Seasons

While everyone has their favourite, our general tastes shift as the seasons turn. According to Rachel Crozier-Clucas, Bar Manager of Hawksmoor Seven Dials, as the weather gets colder.

Tastes leans towards more ‘comforting’ drinks. The flip makes a reappearance, with the eggy, creamy drinks lending itself to scarf and hat weather. Hot cocktails become popular, especially as an arrival drink. Buttered rum is a firm favourite, although a few years ago I tried a buttered gin that was also astoundingly good.

Presentation is  Vital

And the presentation is important. According to Rachel, we don’t just eat with our eyes, we drink with them too.

People do make assumptions about a drink based on the way it is presented. A Martini served in a chilled cocktail glass, not overly filled and with an attractive garnish is a recognisable and attractive serve. A Tiki mug definitely gives some indication that the cocktail it contains is more than likely rum based and exotic.

Form Follows Function

And it isn’t just aesthetic.

Choosing the right glass for a cocktail can seem like a difficult decision, especially considering the number of options available. It all comes down to what will be going into it. A cold straight up drink, such as a Daiquiri, will benefit from a cocktail or coupette glass as the stem will stop the liquid becoming warm when the glass is held. A delicate, fragrant cocktail will be presented best in a sherry glass, the fluted sides will act as a funnel for the aromas while drinking, enhancing the overall experience. A drink such as an Old Fashioned, containing ice, will work best in a rocks glass as there is enough space for the liquid to move around and release aromas.

We hope you have enjoyed this post and would love to read more of our post on A History Lesson.

Autumn/Winter 2014: From the Catwalk to the Home

The worlds of interior design and fashion often cross with each other, blending to create beauty in both the way we dress and the way we live. Autumn/Winter 2014 is no different, and we are seeing styles that have been successful on the catwalk become big in interior design. Here, we take a look at three of the biggest trends this season:

tropical home decor room and model shot

Image credit – Design lovers

1. Geometric Prints

Echoing the look of the 1960s and mod subculture, geometric prints are the ultimate in style and have been used by many designers this season. So, how can we take this trend into the home? You may be adventurous and use a bold geometric print on your wall, however, there are plenty of ways to bring in the shapes more subtly. Try using them when furnishing a room e.g. using a circular lamp in your living room. Dining rooms are also perfect for geometric shapes. Choose crystal whisky tumblers or original bourbon glasses for strong shapes that act as a unique, statement feature within the room.

2. The Natural World

Nature is everywhere on the catwalk and in homes for AW14. From leafy prints and mysterious florals to bird feathers and tropical animals, your home can really become the jungle! It’s easy to buy accessories and fabrics that are patterned with natural prints. However, if you want to bring something different to your rooms, try connecting nature and luxury. Juxtapose peacock- printed plates with luxurious crystal wine glasses or floral printed fabrics in the bedroom with an opulent chandelier. The opposing looks will produce a design that is unique and guaranteed to impress.

3. Blocks and Blues

This season sees colour blocks of all forms on the catwalk. From neutral caramels and whites to all shades of this season’s colour, blue. Whether it’s navy, midnight, pastel or royal, blue has been everywhere on the catwalk. It’s also a calming colour to use in your home. Try coloured wine glasses in different shades, unusual navy furnishings or delicate baby blue fabrics in the bedroom for three unique ways to use blue. As for colour blocks, choose two or three colours and use them in any room for a dramatic and eye-popping effect.

Experimenting with fashions and being inspired by catwalk trends will guarantee you and your home are always in vogue. Have the courage to be creative and give your home the same care you give your wardrobe!

We hope you have enjoyed this post and would love to read more of our post on design inspirations and decor trends.

Six Occasions When To Use Crystal Glassware

As a beautiful and sophisticated choice, crystal glassware is the perfect way to create an impressive setting at your dinner table. The opulence and style associated with fine glassware makes it ideal for special occasions when ordinary glass just isn’t enough.

Here, we take a look at six occasions when we can use crystal glassware:


Alfresco dining table with salad bowl


Joanna Maya on how to keep the crystalware en vogue

The Gurasu Crystal founder and creative director Joanna Maya on her dream to transform the way we think about crystal.


Birds of Paradise Cocktail glass

Birds of Paradise Cocktail glass

Crystal glassware has always been regarded as something special and treasured and until recently it was not something that was used as an everyday item. In recent years, that perception has changed as cheap, machine-made crystal entered mainstream retail and Internet stores. For the classic crystal manufacturers such as St Lambert in Holland this has led to a decade of struggle. Manufacturers have found it hard to find craftsmen with hand-cutting skills, leading to a decline across the entire industry.

Making Colour Exhibition – The National Gallery

It is worth seeing…

Luxury is a great patron of the arts. Perhaps not as intense in the past as it is in the present, the luxury became the driving force behind art in the economic world. As much as I am fascinated by luxury I am interested in artistic masterpieces too. Thus, I was delighted to discover the most recent exhibition at The National Gallery in London and tell you my perspective in the nutshell.

As the press release states the exhibition called “Making Colour”, is the first exhibition of its kind in the UK. It invites the viewer to an artistic and scientific voyage of discovery. From sparkling minerals to crushed insects by an interactive display that introduces a new world of contemporary scientific thought colour. Apparently, work on this subject has long been a specialism of the Gallery’s internationally recognised Scientific Department.

Wikiart - Pierre Auguste  Renoir - The Seine At Asnieres The Skiff

Wikiart – Pierre Auguste  Renoir – The Seine At Asnieres The Skiff

An interview with Founder and Creative Director Joanna Maya

Joanna Matyjaszczuk, the founder and creative director of Gurasu Crystal keeps setting up new trends in crystalware. Her design style’s secret? It must reflect on the past but live in the now.



Birds of Paradise Crystal Collection Banner

Birds of Paradise Crystal Collection



What was the reason you decided to form Gurasu Crystal?

My desire was to produce beautiful and timeless objects designed to enrich everyday lives through the use of artisanal skills of crystal craftsmen and craftswomen. The problem, I realised is that for the past decade crystalware was considered as an object too luxurious and traditional to meet the expectations of our modern lives.

The culture of drinking beer in a glass

Travel back in history and open your mind to 1980’s Great Britain. The tradition of drinking beer in a pint glass has changed over the last three decades. Since 1920’s drinking beer was synonym of a glass with a handle called a tankard, in other words, a jug.

In 1970’s this well – known tradition of drinking from a dimpled pint pots which some of you remember from episodes of Emmerdale was replaced with a straight glass.

Beer Glasses, set of 2

The main reason was that it felt more appropriate to drink lager from the conical.

Wedding dresses as design inspiration

Last Monday, as a member of my favourite, Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), I was invited to attend the special members evening to enjoy the exhibition with a glass of champagne accompanied by a beautiful and delicate rhythm of a live music.

Joanna in wedding dress with hair stylist

With hair stylist before the big moment

However, it was not for a glass of champagne, although always my preferred companion to anything related to celebration, nor for the live music. My desire was to escape for a moment from the drawing desk of Gurasu and to contemplate on something intellectual. I was curious to find how the relationship between design and protest of different sorts influenced the ways people have created objects with a specific purpose – sometimes for effect, sometimes to communicate, often both.