Every drink has a type of glassware that it’s best suited to. In fact, the perfect glass shape can even improve the flavor of a cocktail. These eight definitive drinking vessels are all easy to find, and with them on the shelf, you can properly serve any classic cocktail or new concoction you come up with.
The coupe, a round saucer or bowl-shaped glass on a petite stem, was originally created in the 1600s as the first specialty glass for Champagne and remained the popular choice for sparkling wine through the mid-1900s. The four- to six-ounce glass is making an appearance in the cocktail world. Smaller than most other glasses, it’s perfect for small doses of potent cocktails served “up” (without ice): the lengthy stem and separated bowl mean that the cocktail isn’t warmed up by your hands.
A martini glass, a variation of the coupe, is also available with the best wine opener. The Martini glass bowl, which is conical in shape, holds approximately four to six ounces. The gin’s aromas are showcased on the large rim, which allows for the ideal surface area of oxygen. Also, the bowl can be used to support olive skewers thanks to its sloped sides.
The flute is a long, narrow stemmed glass designed to preserve sparkling wine’s effervescence: it was created to hold the bubbles more tightly together than the wider coupe which allowed them to dissipate. It is elegant and festive and can hold six ounces of your favorite bubbly.
A wide, stemmed glass with a well in the center, the classic Margarita glass is designed to hold a larger volume (usually nine to twelve ounces) of liquid and ice. The wide rim of the glass is ideal for rimming with salt and adding other fun garnishes.
An Old-Fashioned Glass may also be known as a rock or lowball. These glasses are usually available in 6-8 ounce sizes. For drinks that are built in glass, you can use an old-fashioned glass. This means that you don’t need a cocktail shaker to “build” the cocktail. Instead, you mix it in the same glass you are serving it in, often directly on ice. Other than the Old Fashioned, there are other classic cocktails that can be ‘built’.
Highball glasses are cylindrical glasses that can be used to mix drinks with high amounts of non-alcoholic mixers. Use your highball glasses for gin and tonic, scotch and soda, or bourbon and ginger. Highball glasses can hold eight to twelve ounces.
Narrower and taller than a highball glass, the Collins is a classic glass that takes its name from the Tom Collins cocktail and is designed for carbonated drinks. Effervescent cocktails will stay effervescent long after they are poured because of their slim, tall shape. Tiki drinks with crushed ice are also well suited for a Collins glass. The only difference between a highball and Collins glasses is their size. If you don’t own sets, they can be interchangeable. These glasses hold more liquid and ice than most barware. They are larger than many other barware items.
The sterling silver cups claim a Kentucky origin, which isn’t surprising considering their most famous use: the Mint Julep, aka the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. There are two types of julep cups. One has a beaded edge and one has bands at the top. The cups were traditionally made of sterling silver. They were family heirlooms and would be monogrammed and passed on through the generations. However, stainless steel versions are now affordable and easily available. For strong drinks, they need to be filled with pebbles or shaved-iced. There are many sizes, but they should weigh between 8 and 16 ounces.