Whether it’s a Soho Mule served in a tall Highball, champagne in a coupe or whisky in a rocks glass, we think how a drink tastes is 50 per cent to do with how it looks – and well-designed glasses are key. Our Barwell cut crystal glassware was created to hold our drinks exactly and add a sense of occasion to cocktail hour. A familiar sight in all the Houses, you'll find it everywhere from Chicago to Babington and Berlin.

Crystal has a satisfyingly solid, weighty feel and a polished brilliance when held up to the light. It also makes that distinctive ringing ‘ping’ when tapped, rather than the dull thud of ordinary glass. The bespoke diamond pattern etched on our Barwell crystal is cut by hand at a renowned glassworks in Slovenia.

 

The hand of an expert

Drawing on a centuries-long tradition of glass making in the region, the glassmakers are experienced artisans who use local raw materials, traditional techniques and state-of-the-art technology to produce crystal with a particular brilliance and purity.

What's in the mix

Crystal is made from a mixture of quartz sand, calcinated soda, red lead, ash and calcite or limestone. Ours has a 24% lead content which makes it easier to sculpt because the working temperature of the glass is lowered, extending the amount of time the glassblower has to shape the molten glass.

Etched by hand

After the crystal is mouth-blown, shaped and slowly cooled, the glasscutter decoratively cuts the piece by hand using traditional carborundum or diamond cutting wheels of varying levels of fineness. Finally they polish it until it feels perfectly smooth and gleams in the light.

Brilliance and Clarity

Lead is also responsible for the refractive quality and clarity of crystal – the higher the lead content, the greater the brilliance and the more it sparkles in direct sunlight. That makes it highly prized, as crystal glasses make it easier to appreciate the colour and viscosity of wines and spirits.

 

The forest glassworks of Slovenia described in historical records dating back to 1665 might have been replaced by industrial Victorian factories, but the influence of those medieval workshops is still felt in the intricately etched crystal made by today’s glassmakers. Each piece has the mark of experienced human hands on it, giving it a quality that could never be achieved with machinery.

Soho House New York

Try a Manhattan in our Barwell crystal glassware at Soho House New York