Thebar Infographic3 Essential Glassware Guide Header

Guide to glassware

Don’t do your drink a disservice by serving it in the wrong type of glassware.

Words by: Katherine Alex BeavenPhotography by: David Chow and Jeff Brown
Infographics by
Danielle Grinberg
Thebar Infographic3 Essential Glassware Guide Header

When it comes to your drink-in-hand, not all glassware is created equal. Sipping your favorite cocktail out of its proper glass only serves to enhance your imbibing experience. The shape, size and functionality of your glass all ultimately affect how your drink feels, tastes and smells — the correct glassware can even extend the life of bubbles or help keep flavors balanced as ice melts. Some cocktails are inextricably tied to the glass they are served in, while others work well in several styles.  

Unsure which glass goes with your cocktail of choice? This guide will give you a solid idea of when to grab what glass, depending on what you’re drinking.  

When to use a martini glass

Cocktails served in martini glasses are shaken or stirred with ice and strained into the glass before serving. The “V” shape and long stem help these cocktails maintain a cold temperature, while the wide rim makes for a more aromatic drinking experience. Thanks to the similar shape, it’s possible to swap out the martini glass with a coupe.  

Thebar Infographic3 Martini

When to use a Collins or highball

The height of a highball or Collins glass gives the drink more real estate for ice and garnish, making them the perfect vessel for serving mixer-heavy drinks, cocktails dressed with eye-catching garnishes and just plain pretty-looking quaffs. When it comes to swap-outs, there aren’t really any other glasses that can take the place of this tall and slender glass. 

Thebar Infographic3 Collins

When to use a rocks glass

This short and round six-to-eight-ounce glass goes by several names — rocks, lowball, short tumbler — and is one of the most versatile cocktail glasses in your arsenal. It’s designed for holding spirit-heavy drinks served neat or over ice, aka “on the rocks” and is the glass you’ll pair with many classic cocktails and short cocktails on the rocks. It can be swapped out with the double old fashioned glass for larger pours. 

Thebar Infographic3 Rocks

When to use a double old fashioned glass

This glassware is similar to your standard rocks glass with one major difference: it has almost twice the capacity, holding 10-to-12 ounces. The extra room and thick bottom afford space and support for muddling and building cocktails directly in the glass. Double old fashioned glasses hold spirit-forward cocktails that are usually (but not always) served over ice. These glasses can easily be subbed out for the smaller rocks glass.  

Thebar Infographic3 Double

When to use a margarita glass

The broad brim on a margarita glass makes it simple to sip the cocktail contents and offers plenty of leeway for a sugar or salt rim. The double-bowl design contributes to keeping the cold drink from melting quickly in warm hands. This glass is like a combination of a martini glass, coupe, and Champagne flute all in one. It’s one of a kind and is really only used to serve this famous tequila cocktail.  

Thebar Infographic3 Margarita

When to use a coupe

The coupe’s characteristic wide and shallow saucer design is meant to be held by the stem. This makes it the ideal glassware for chilled cocktails, frozen drinks and even liqueurs and cordials. Originally, coupes were used for Champagne until it was discovered the shape caused bubbles to go flat. Nowadays, Champagne is most often served in a flute glass because the narrow chamber helps keep the wine effervescent for longer, but some still prefer to serve this bubbly spirit in a coupe. Thanks to their similar shape, most drinks served in a martini glass can also be served in a coupe.  

Thebar Infographic3 Coupe

When to use a wine glass

The type of wine glass you use depends on the type of wine you’re pouring. Red wine glasses are wider and curvier to support the wine’s aromatics and exposure to oxygen so it can “breathe.” Glasses for white wine have a noticeably narrow bowl that helps contain the wine’s delicate fragrances, while the longer stem makes it easier to hold. Whether you’re drinking red or white wine, never grip the glass by the bowl as that causes the wine to warm up, which can impact flavor. In addition to wine, a few cocktails, like spritzes, mimosas and sangria, are also usually served in wine glasses. 

Thebar Infographic3 Wineglass

When to use a copper mug

Copper is a highly conductive metal, so drinks served in copper mugs keep iced cocktails colder and hot drinks warmer for longer. These metal mugs are a must for drinks that would be compromised by cooling down or too much melted ice.  

Thebar Infographic3 Copper

The perfect glassware, the perfect cocktail 

Whether you’re shaking up drinks at a festive get-together or simply pouring yourself a nightcap, now you’ve got the glassware know-how to serve cocktails — and serve them perfectly.  

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