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The 7 Types of Cocktail Glasses Every Home Should Have
For your martinis and your Manhattans — and everything in between.
Going out for a cocktail is one of life's greatest little pleasures. You have someone making you a drink, and it comes in one of those fancy-looking glasses. Sure, you can make a cocktail yourself at home, but it just doesn't hit the same — especially when you don't have the right glassware. I mean, martini in a rocks glass? How profane!
Shopping for cocktail glasses can be overwhelming considering just how many styles there are — not to mention how expensive they can get. But the type of glassware you drink out of can truly tie the whole experience together, and it's an important aspect that mixologists consider when constructing a drink.
"Cocktail making, for me, is an art," Chetan Gangan, mixologist at the Indian gastrobar Baar Baar in New York City, says. "Much [research and development] goes into designing a cocktail menu, as each cocktail has different textures, flavors and aromas. It starts with the glass and ends with the garnish — nothing in between should be overlooked."
Of course not every home has enough space for a bunch of cocktail glasses, so whittling down your selection is a must. Think about what cocktails you drink most often, and which glasses have as many uses as possible.
"I think the number one most important thing when choosing glassware for your home is your affinity towards it," Linds Moore, a master mixologist and co-author of Viva Mezcal, says. "You should only own and drink from things you love and find beautiful — or at least love and find hilarious or tolerable, honestly."
Moore further explains that there are a lot of rules out there about what drinks to serve in what cocktail glass. But the most important thing to remember, they say is: "If you enjoy what you're drinking, you'll enjoy it from any glass. If you love the glass, you'll love it even more."
We asked Gangan and Moore to break down seven types of cocktail glasses and what each is good for — plus, we found a few pieces to get your collection started.
The 7 Types of Cocktail Glasses You Should Know
As Moore says, rocks, or old fashioned glasses, "are usually used for spirits on the rocks or neat pours." These are the types of drinking glasses you'll see some snooty old dude drinking from while slinking into a chair, wearing a robe and velvet slippers. They come in a number of shapes and sizes, with a capacity anywhere between six to 10 ounces. As its name suggests, you can drink an old fashioned from this style of glass. Gangan says any "spirits-forward drinks" will work well in a single rocks glass — such as a sazerac or a Negroni — as well as other small-volume cocktails.
While "double" is in its name, double rocks glasses aren't double the size of single rocks glasses. Instead, double rocks glasses are a couple ounces bigger in capacity, so expect something between 12 to 14 ounces. The extra space means it can fit more, so it may be overkill for a shot or two, but you can get more drink with fewer refills.
"Coupes can be used for all your sour drinks," Gangan says. Coupes are kind of like tiny bowls on a stem. The coupe was originally used as a Champagne glass, except its wide opening didn't lend itself well to the bubbly booze because it allowed the carbonation to fizzle out faster. Moore recommends the coupe for any chilled cocktail that's "not meant to be diluted," as in it's not sitting on ice. Plus, the stem prevents your hand from warming up the drink the same way a wine glass works.
Collins glasses and highball glasses are technically two different styles of drinkware, but many will use the two interchangeably. The highball is a tall, thin glass, usually between eight to 10 ounces, whereas a Collins glass is slightly taller, with more capacity, say between 12 to 16 ounces. If you have a drink with a large volume that goes over ice, opt for the Collins glass or highball. Moore says it's good for drinks like the Tom Collins (as the name suggests), highballs (another obvious one) and one-on-ones like vodka sodas or gin and tonics.
Nick and Nora glasses are sort of like a hybrid of coupe glasses and martini glasses, utilizing a stemmed construction with a vessel that looks like a port wine glass. The name comes from the main characters of a 1934 comedy film called The Thin Man, about a heavy-drinking couple who try to find a missing person. The glass itself is good for anything you'd put in a coupe, except they're daintier and slightly more niche. Use these glasses for any spirits-forward drink that you want to serve chilled without ice.
The Martini glass, as Gangan says is "the most important since you drink martinis from it!" Joking aside, martinis are hugely popular, and the martini glass is one of the most easy-to-recognize pieces of drinkware. With its V-shaped bowl and thin stem, martini glasses make the perfect vessel for a Cosmopolitan, a Sidecar and, of course, any variety of martini.
Don't just use Champagne glasses for Champage. Gangan recommends the style of drinkware for anything that has you using Champagne in the drink, or some other type of sparkling wine. Need some inspiration? Think the classic mimosa or French 75.