There Is A Polite Way To Pour Wine In Your Friend's Mouth At A Dinner Party

Sharing a bottle of wine is always a great way to celebrate a special occasion with friends, whether out for dinner or at a party. But if you've only ever poured from a bottle to a glass, then there's a more fun way that livens up any gathering. And it involves pouring wine from a height into your own, or someone else's, mouth.

Before you start thinking that those sorts of tricks are best confined to wild college parties, then hold fire, because this one is probably quite different from what you may be imagining. To celebrate Catalonian style, the wine is traditionally poured from a porron, which resembles a large glass pitcher or decanter with a long spout like a watering can, or a genie's magic lamp. 

And though it can be a little messy if you're new to it, there's an etiquette to the technique that actually makes it a hygienic as well as entertaining way to share a drink with friends. Drinking from a porron requires that the spout does not ever directly touch the lips. So though the wine is being passed from person to person in a single vessel, it avoids spreading germs. And did we already mention that it's a lot of fun?

Porrons are a popular way to drink wine in the Basque region

Used for centuries by drinkers in the Catalonia region, and more recently in bars and restaurants across the United States and other countries, porrons are usually made of blown glass, with a cork stopper. The vessel, which can often hold a full standard-sized bottle of wine, has a spout that narrows towards the end, allowing for a thin stream of liquid to be poured from a distance into the mouth.

While it can be filled with any liquid, from cava to cider, the drink that is traditionally consumed from a porron in Northern Spain is Txakoli (pronounced chock-oh-lee). Though occasionally found in red and rose varieties, it's most commonly a light, dry, slightly effervescent white wine made with grapes from the Basque Country. This is probably reassuring if you're worried about spillages and red wine-stained clothes when drinking from a porron.

While the porron is a convivial way to share wine, just as Spanish tapas makes for a friendly and communal way to share food, it also serves a slightly more serious purpose. When the zesty, gently bubbly Txakoli is poured from a height through the spout, the porron also helps to aerate the wine. And speaking of food, porrons of wine are also traditionally served at the calçotada, a Catalan winter festival celebrating the calçot, a type of mild green onion which is served grilled and dipped in romesco sauce.

There's an etiquette to drinking wine from a porron

Thanks to the rule that it should never touch the lips, nor indeed be inside the open mouth in any way, drinking from a porron requires a bit of practice to master the techniques, customs, and etiquette. Ideally, the porron should be held a few inches above the mouth to start, and then the arm extended so that it's moved further away as the wine is poured into the open mouth.

It helps to tilt the head back, and though you may wish to move the porron away from you gradually once it's pouring, you'll probably want to start and stop the stream of wine as quickly and neatly as possible by tilting the wrist. Once you've finished, and hopefully got some of the wine into your mouth rather than just down your front, the porron should be passed onto the next person.

As well as pouring the wine directly into your own mouth, a porron can be used to pour wine into the mouths of others. It's a sure way to liven up any party or gathering, and practice makes perfect (or at least it's fun trying) — though it may be advisable to have some napkins on hand for beginners.