This section is from the book "The American Woman's Cook Book", by Ruth Berolzheimer. Also available from Amazon: The Domestic Arts Edition of the American Woman's Cook Book.
Beer should be kept in a cool place so that it may be made icy cold quickly when needed. However, it should not be stored permanently in the refrigerator.
Uncorking and Decanting - Careful uncorking is important. One least bit of cork dropped into the bottle will ruin great wines and can be detected in every case by the discerning palate.
A lever type corkscrew is ideal; its edges should be rounded so that it will not cut the cork. Insert it evenly, straight and to the full depth of the cork. Then withdraw it very slowly so that your wine will remain still. This prevents the mixing of any sediment in the bottom of the bottle with the clear liquid.
Note the condition of the cork. It should be long, moist and tightly inserted in the bottle. Short corks are an indication of slip-shod bottling, and dry corks, of poor after care (probably the bottle has been stored in an upright position). If the cork smells acid, the wine itself is turned and no longer in good drinking condition.
In recorking, it is usually advisable to cut off a little from the upper part of the cork (this obviates any taste of sealing materials) and insert this top end in your bottle. The moist end expands rapidly on exposure to air and can seldom be reinserted.
Decanting is the gentle transfer of wine from its bottle to a decanter. No two experts agree as to the advisability of doing this. However, there is no gainsaying the fact that old red wine with considerable sediment must be poured from the bottle by a very expert hand, or be decanted to prevent any sediment from reaching the wine glass. The simplest methods of decanting are to pour the wine slowly into a glass decanter and stop as soon as any sediment appears, or to pour the wine through a funnel topped with a thin layer of absorbent, not medicated, cotton. Decanting should be done just before the meal is served.
Fine white wines are seldom decanted. However, both white and red wines of the ordinary day-by-day sorts are often served from a handsome glass decanter. This fashion originated in Europe because wines of this grade are often bought in bulk. A decanter of white wine and another of red are frequently placed on the dinner table. It is a great convenience to own several sizes. Ordinary red wines will keep for a considerable period if the decanters are airtight. As you drink your wine, change it to a smaller decanter; the ideal is to have the wine and the stopper of the decanter meet each other. Liqueurs with high alcoholic content keep in partially filled decanters or bottles.
Sherry, Madeira, Port and Claret are served from the bottle or from a decanter with equal correctness.
Care of Wine - Wine should be kept at an even temperature and in a dark, dry place with some ventilation but no drafts. A closet equipped with metal bins is the best solution in city apartments. A cellar is, of course, ideal. Storing vegetables or other foods in such a cellar is unwise for they impart a disagreeable odor to wines even though they are bottled.
Fortified wines and brandy may stand upright. Keep all your other unopened wines in a horizontal position when stored. Upright bottles of natural wines spoil in a few days, because of the shrinkage of the corks. Do not disturb your wines by unnecessary movement, for if there are any dregs or sediment movement tends to cloud the entire bottle.
The ideal temperature for storing wines is about 55° F. Even temperature is important, for sudden changes ruin fine wines.
Glasses - Sets of glassware make so charming a table decoration that most women will find it convenient to buy water goblets, glasses for red wines, and small ones for white wines and sherry in a single pattern. Champagne glasses should match the other glasses, for those who plan that luxury. Liqueur and cocktail glasses may differ, for they seldom appear at the same time as the other glassware. So select gay bits of contrast for these special services.
In choosing wine glasses, buy rather large ones and fill them partially; one-half to three-quarters is suggested. Since color is one of the great fascinations of fine wine, connoisseurs approve clear crystal glassware with sparse decoration. A ball or tulip shaped bowl atop a long stem conserves the aroma and permits swirling. By holding the stem between the thumb and forefinger, the guest may move his glass so that the wine picks up a slight motion and licks the sides of the glass. This swirling exhibits the fine texture of your wine and gathers its bouquet so that, when the glass is lifted to the mouth, the nose also gains full pleasure from the rich, fruity aroma. Dry wine spreads like water, and sweet wine hangs and makes runnels. A Bordeaux that does this is called "a fat one."
The glory of Champagne, its sparkling quality, is best conserved by serving it in a glass with a fluted top on a hollow stem. The effervescence has a longer road to travel before it is dissipated in the atmosphere.
A set of tall glasses suitable for beer, ale, juleps and lemonade may match your water goblets or differ in pattern. Steins for beer are preferred by some hosts.
Wine in Cookery - Wine is friendly to many foods but is equally antagonistic to other favorites. Egg is the outstanding example of the latter and cheese of the former. White and shell fish, poultry, game and meat, except pork, take on added luster by the addition of a small quantity of wine. Mushrooms, truffles and sweet potatoes complement wine flavors. Beware, beware, the combining of wine with acids in the form of gherkins, vinegar and similar condiments.
For fish or meat sauces, dry wines are the dicta of most experts. Riesling and Chablis are typical dry white wines, and claret is a typical dry red one. In the case of fish, the wine must be white, always, for red wine and fish do not mix. Meats may be cooked with either red or white wine. Occasionally a dash of a sweet cordial added at the last moment improves a meat. For instance, a tablespoon of Benedictine works magic in a pot roast.