A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:
How many Regency novels have you read in which the hero and his cronies share one or more rounds of brandy, drowning their sorrows, or in celebration? And how many times is that brandy served in a snifter, or a balloon? Yet that simply was not possible during the decade of the Regency or for many decades thereafter. It may surprise you to know that the brandy snifter was an American creation introduced near the end of the Victorian era. It did not become common in England until the middle of the twentieth century.
The word "snifter" had entered the English language by the second half of the eighteenth century, but it had other, quite different meanings having nothing to do with drinking vessels. So what was a "snifter" in the Regency decade, and how was brandy most probably served during those years?