Fancy Movies - Scotch in Crystal Bottles?In the Old Days LOL people didn't buy alcohol in bottles. Back before they could "make bottles" of a set size, you had to trust the wine glass blower to make you a right sized bottle, and people would be deceptive and sell you say 1 liter of wine in a glass hand blown bottle that only held say .8 liters. So imagine you're going to your deli. They shave out the amount you ask for in front of you, off the whole piece, and weigh it and give it to you. The same was true for wine. You'd go into the wine shop, ask for say a gallon of wine, they'd pour it out of their big barrel and measure it for you and give it to you.
If you go to recreation villages they usually have a Town General Goods store and in the back room are those large barrels, labelled madeira and so on. Madeira was *very* popular in olden days.
Also, if you were REALLY wealthy, you'd just buy an entire barrel for yourself, keep it in your cellar, and refresh your glass serving decanter as you needed to.
Here's a good analogy. Many people keep a sugar bowl on their table. Why not keep the entire pound of sugar there? It's just easier to have the easy-to-use bowl instead.
You have to remember that a few hundred years ago, people weren't quite as picky about sediment in wines or serving temperature :) They just went for "room temperature" on red wines which, in most French homes, was in the 50s.
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