Stocking up on good whiskey or gin and equipping yourself with the right tools is important, but no home bar set up could possibly be complete without the right glassware. When served in the right glass, a cocktail can sing, but if served in the wrong one, it can take an irredeemable turn for the worse. And while you can manage without a julep cup or a pair of handsome copper mule mugs, you still need to collect a variety of glassware. You can’t get by with just couple rocks glasses and whatever happened to be on sale at the IKEA. If you drink a wide range of cocktails, here are the glasses you need to own.
Every Cocktail Glass You Need to Own
The home of your Gin & Tonic or Whiskey Highball, the highball glass’ tall, skinny shape ensures that no liquid is ever far from the ice, which means your drink will stay nice and cold. It should be your go-to glass for anything that requires ample amounts of cubed ice. The shape also concentrates the carbonation for fizzy cocktails.
Sometimes called an Old Fashioned glass because the cocktail is always served in one, these stout, heavy-bottomed glasses are designed to stand up to muddling (which, if you want to make an old fashioned properly, you would do in the glass). The wide opening at the top allows the aroma to waft more freely than from a narrower glass, and, should you be partial to drinking spirits straight, it allows you to warm the liquid ever so slightly with the heat from your hand, which helps release the aromas even more.
Coupes are for cocktails served without ice, or “up.” They are what you want for strong stirred drinks like Manhattans or Martinis (please, do not ever use a Martini glass or we will stop being friends with you and when someone says “hey, I was having Martinis at your name here’s house,” we will pretend not to know you). The stem means you never have to touch the bowl of the glass, which means your chilled drinks stay colder, longer.
Whether you prefer your Champagne straight or in a Champagne Cocktail, you need to have a flute to enjoy it properly. Like the coupe, the stem allows you to avoid unnecessarily warming your chilled bubbly. And the shape, like the highball, helps produce the maximum number of bubbles in the glass.
When you need a lot of room in a glass, you need a pint glass. Whether you want extra space to accommodate a shot dropped in your beer or a creative Bloody Mary garnish, a pint glass is the correct container. And let’s be real, you’re going to be drinking a beer at some point and you don’t want to doing that out of a coupe.
If you’ve given up shots, fine, we’re proud of you. But assuming you still like to start a night with friends with a round, you really need to do it out of shot glasses. Not only will they ensure you pour the correct amount of alcohol, but their compact size will help you avoid spills.
A good whisky is a terrible thing to waste—as is any other fine spirit that needs to be appreciated, not only on the tongue, but on the nose as well. A snifter’s depth and bowl-like shape allow for the liquid to really open up and the narrowing of the glass concentrates the aromas so you can fully appreciate them. If you want to go next-level, you can invest in a Glencairn whisky glass for sipping spirits straight, but a snifter is more broadly useful as you can serve some cocktails in it as well like this autumnal drink of bourbon and apple cider.