15 Types of Cocktail Glasses that Serious Mixologists Recommend
Mixing up a drink? Serving it in the proper glass not only looks pretty, but it tastes better too! Experts share the types of cocktail glasses you need to stock your bar for the ultimate sip.
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You’ve already stocked your bar cart with the best spirits, now it’s time to get the right cocktail glasses for all of your creative concoctions. From classic rum drinks to martinis, margarita recipes and low-alcohol cocktails, having the right glass isn’t just an aesthetic choice. Sometimes the shape of the glass serves a purpose, like having a longer stem to keep the heat of your hands away from the perfectly chilled drink or making sure there’s enough room for a slice of pineapple and paper umbrella!
Our guide to cocktail glasses will have you on your way to cool and stylish sipping in no time.
If there’s one glass that comes to mind when you think of classic cocktails, it’s a martini glass. And with good reason. As with most types of cocktail glasses, its shape serves a purpose.
“Serving different cocktails in different glasses is important because they can truly enhance a drinking experience,” says mixologist Adam Way. “Presentation and appearance are affected by whatever vessel you decide to use. Certain glasses can bring out certain characteristics in cocktails, and using proper glassware shows you care.”
Martini glasses are entirely essential to any bar, and they’re perfect for cocktails served straight up. The long stem and cone shape both play a role in controlling temperature, while the wide mouth enhances aroma with each sip. Of course, this is the perfect vessel for shaken or stirred martinis, but it’s also great for cosmopolitans and lemon drops, as well as decadent chocolate espresso martinis.
Coupe glasses feature a stem with a shallow bowl at the top, creating the most photogenic shape. But that shape also serves a purpose. “Coupe glasses are designed with a stem to prevent your hand’s heat from reaching the drink. Cocktails served in a coupe heighten the sweetness of sugars, can possess less of a boozy burn and seem more well-blended and more botanical than one in a rocks glass,” says Way.
Because of the wide, round mouth, it’s one of the perfect types of cocktail glasses for anything you plan on sipping. Champagne cocktails? Definitely! But it’s also wonderful for classics served up such as a Boulevardier or Manhattan (or even a Blackberry Balsamic Manhattan).
Nick and Nora Glass
Nick and Nora glasses immediately give off a vintage glassware vibe with a stunning bell shape. They have a long stem to control temperature, with a mouth similar to a coupe for easy sipping. They’re a bit more approachable and easier to hold than a classic coupe, offering an option for drinks that should be sipped slowly. This glass can be used for cocktails such as the Sidecar and Bee’s Knees, but it can also be used for serving Champagne or pretty much any other cocktail that’s been shaken or stirred.
For many margarita fans, it’s all about the salted rim. And while you can get away with serving this drink in a variety of glasses, a specific margarita glass makes it taste better—plus it’s much more festive! The stem keeps your drink cool and refreshing, especially frozen margaritas, while the wide-mouthed rim offers plenty of real estate for your favorite salt. Mix up a classic margarita, variations such as a blueberry-mint margarita, or any favorite summer drink.
If you like pina coladas, this is one of the best types of cocktail glasses for your bar cart. This hurricane glass is tall, curvy and features a shorter stem. It has ample bowl space to accommodate a large drink—perfect to make you feel like you’re soaking up the sun on a deserted island. It’s the ideal glass for its namesake, a Hurricane, as well as other tropical sips such as mai tais, coladas and daiquiris. Top it off with a paper umbrella to complete the resort look!
Similar to a classic drinking tumbler, Highball glasses are one of the most versatile types of cocktail glasses. They’re tall, making them ideal for mixed drinks with plenty of ice such as mojitos, the tropical Planter’s Punch or a decked-out Bloody Mary. You can also use them for easy mixed drink combinations such as whiskey and soda, rum and coke or vodka and orange juice.
Snifters feature a short stem and a wide bottom that narrows up toward the top. They’re often utilized to serve brandy, whiskey or bourbon. The shape allows the concentrated aromas of the spirit to really shine through, showing the uniqueness of the spirit. It can be used for sipping spirits on their own or serving up a seasonal sip such as apple brandy.
A Collins glass is a versatile tumbler for a wide variety of drinks. They’re tall and narrow with a cylindrical shape. Use them to serve cocktails such as a Long Island iced tea, sea breeze, paloma or its namesake, the Tom Collins. Plus, they’re great drinking glasses for non-alcoholic options as well!
Moscow Mule Mug
If you’re combining vodka, lime and ginger beer, then you’re mixing up a Moscow mule. And this classic, simple cocktail definitely deserves its own cup. Moscow mules and variations, like the Kentucky mule, are traditionally served in copper mugs, whether entirely made of real copper or just coated on the exterior. Serving up this chilled drink on the rocks in a metal mug keeps it that much cooler, making it the ideal refreshing sipper for a hot summer day.
A round of mint juleps? Yes please! Whether you’re mixing up juleps for a Kentucky Derby party or any other celebration, this is the vessel for the job. The julep is a classic Southern drink made up of mint, simple syrup and bourbon, and Churchill Downs has been producing official julep cups for the drink since the 1950s. The metal cup works beautifully with the crushed ice, making it ideal for keeping a julep extra cold, all while looking beautiful thanks to the beaded detailing.
Mixing up a whiskey sour? There’s a glass for that! The long stem will keep your drink chilled, while the shape of the sour glass features a curved outward edge for enjoying the smoothness of the drink. Because of the unique shape, it helps to present the perfect blend, balancing between the sweet and sour components of each sip.
Short and stout, Bodega glasses are the most versatile glass you never knew you needed. They’re incredibly durable and easy to hold, making them perfect for parties when you’re serving up everything from wine to punch or batched cocktails. Just remember, holding them in your hand can affect the temperature of the drink over time. Another great use? Dish up mini desserts for a crowd when you need an impressive vessel!
Part of the allure of gin is the incredible botanical aromas that it brings to the taste buds. And by utilizing a large goblet, you can truly capture it. The long decorative stem of this gin goblet prevents your drink from warming up in your hands. The large bowl shape with a wide mouth provides the ideal shape for concentrating aromas with every sip. Another bonus? There’s plenty of room to add ice for a deliciously chilled gin and tonic.
Double Old-Fashioned Glass
Also known as a rocks glass or a lowball glass, the old-fashioned glass is one of the most versatile types of cocktail glasses. It’s a short cylinder-shaped tumbler that’s perfect for serving drinks on the rocks. This version is the ideal vessel to dress up anything from an old-fashioned to a white Russian or Negroni—we also recommend trying out this Negroni Sbagliato.
Glencairn Whiskey Glass
If you’re looking for the best types of cocktail glass to sip whiskey, Scotch, bourbon or aged rum, the Glencairn whiskey glass is it. This specialized glass is shaped like a tulip, with a base that makes it easy to hold. The tapered shape is specifically designed to fully capture the aromas of what you’re sipping while vapors are trapped in the bowl. Overall, it means a better experience as you enjoy the nuances of your drink. Cheers!