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  • Writer's picturemhaf626

Cocktail Glassware

Updated: Mar 9


A great start in showing that you know a thing or two behind the bar is to use the correct barware for your cocktail.  There are many types of glasses, and then again, there are not too many that you can’t have a properly stocked bar. As with anything, let your style come through but I always recommend glass material for the barware, except for Mules, as its cleaner tasting and has a better mouthfeel over plastic or acrylic.  One last note, you will see in my recipes my glassware recommendations to help you pick the right glass for your drink.


Basic cocktail and bar glasses categories


Coupe Glass

A coupe glass is considered a type of stemware, characterized by its shallow, wide bowl, resembling a champagne saucer that was specifically designed for serving and presenting cocktails, particularly those that are served without ice. The origin of the coupe glass can be traced back to the early 20th century. It has a vintage and elegant appearance. The shape of the glass allows for the aromas of the cocktail to be concentrated, enhancing the drinking experience. The coupe glass was originally designed to serve champagne but gained popularity as a vessel for cocktails, especially during the Prohibition era. Classic cocktails like the Martini, Sidecar, Champagne Cocktail, and my favorite, Manhattans, are often served in coupe glasses.

TIp: Keep your coupe glasses in the freezer as it makes your cocktail even better!



Martini Glass

Like the Coupe Glass, the Martini glass is used for serving martinis and other straight-up cocktails, but they do differ.  A martini glass, also known as a cocktail glass, has a distinct shape features a long, thin stem with a wide, conical bowl. The bowl is typically triangular or V-shaped, with a wide rim and a flared design. Martini glasses are specifically designed to serve martinis, a popular cocktail made with gin or vodka and vermouth. The shape of the martini glass allows the drinker to appreciate the aroma of the cocktail while sipping.  The glasses come in various capacity sizes so play with the size that fits your cocktail.


The stemless variety are nice but for me, like stemless wine and champagne glasses, they look pretty but since the liquid in the glass is usually chilled and served up, you holding your glass is actually warming the drink up so unless you are drinking a hot drink, I prefer stemmed glassware.

TIp: Keep your martini glasses in the freezer as it makes your cocktail even better!



Nick and Nora Glass

Nick and Nora barware is a specific type of glassware that is named after the iconic characters, Nick and Nora Charles, from the classic film "The Thin Man" released in 1934. The glassware is designed to replicate the elegant and glamorous style of the 1930s. The popularity of Nick and Nora glassware has seen a resurgence in recent years, as cocktail enthusiasts and bartenders embrace the vintage aesthetic and appreciate its functional design. It has become a staple in many craft cocktail bars and home bars, adding a touch of sophistication and nostalgia to the drinking experience.


A Nick and Nora glass is a stemmed glass with a wide, shallow bowl and a capacity of about 5 to 6 ounces of a straight-up cocktail. It is similar in shape to a martini glass, but with a smaller capacity and a more rounded bowl. The stem allows the drinker to hold the glass without warming the contents, while the wide, shallow bowl provides a larger surface area for the aromas of the drink to be enjoyed.


The glass is ideal for serving classic cocktails, such as martinis, Manhattans, and other stirred or shaken drinks. Its smaller size and elegant design make it perfect for sipping and savoring cocktails without overwhelming the drinker with a large quantity of alcohol.

TIp: Keep your Nick & Nora glasses in the freezer as it makes your cocktail even better!



Highball Glass

Also known as a “Collins glass”, it is a tall and slender glassware perfect for “highball cocktails”. A highball is a mixed drink that typically consists of a spirit and a larger amount of a non-alcoholic mixer (such as soda water, ginger ale, or tonic water) like a Vodka Soda, Mojito or a Gin and Tonic.

The name "highball" is believed to have originated from railroad terminology. In the early 1900s, train conductors would use a ball on a high pole to signal the engineer to proceed at full speed. The term "highball" was later adopted to describe a drink served in a tall glass, implying a fast-paced and refreshing beverage.

The highball glass is specifically designed with its cylindrical shape to accommodate the proportions of a highball cocktail with its tall and narrow straight sides and a capacity of 8 to 12 ounces. The tall shape allows for a generous serving of the mixer while leaving enough room for ice and the spirit. The narrow design helps to preserve the carbonation of the mixer and maintain the drink's temperature. 

Highball glasses are commonly made of clear glass, designed to showcase the colors and layers of the cocktail (think Tequila Sunrise) while providing a practical vessel for enjoying a refreshing and tall drink.


Lowball Glass

Like the Highball glass being commonly referred to by another name, the Lowball glass is actually commonly referred to with three names; “lowball glass”, "old fashioned glass," and "rocks glass," as all three are often used interchangeably but the term “lowball glass” is the slightly broader term that can encompass both old fashioned and rocks glasses.


A lowball glass, is a short and wide glass with a thick base. It is generally used for serving short and strong cocktails, such as an Old Fashioned or a Negroni, as well as straight spirits or beverages on the rocks. There are really only minor differences between a lowball glass and a rocks glass. A lowball glass has a shorter and wider shape compared to a rocks glass. It has a capacity of around 8 to 12 ounces, making it ideal for serving cocktails with a higher concentration of spirits and less mixer. On the other hand, a rocks glass has a slightly taller and narrower shape, but still with a capacity similar to a lowball glass.


The reason this barware’s name is often used interchangeably to refer to the same type of glassware can be attributed to historical and regional variations in terminology.


The term "old fashioned glass" originated from the classic cocktail called the Old Fashioned, which is traditionally served in this type of glass. The cocktail dates back to the early 19th century and was named after the glassware it was typically served in. Over time, the name "old fashioned glass" became synonymous with this specific type of glass.


The term "lowball glass" is believed to have originated in the United States during the mid-20th century. It refers to a glass that is used for serving short and strong cocktails, typically with a high alcohol content. The name "lowball" is derived from the practice of keeping the ball (i.e., the amount of alcohol) low, as these cocktails are often served over ice.


The term "rocks glass" is another common name used for this type of glassware. It refers to the practice of serving drinks "on the rocks," meaning over ice and as such, the name "rocks" comes from the use of ice cubes or "rocks" in the glass. This term is also widely used in the United States.


While these terms may have originated from different sources, they have become interchangeable over time, and all three are commonly used to refer to the same type of glassware used for serving spirits or cocktails over ice.



Champagne Flute

This elegant glass is designed for serving champagne and sparkling wine, as its tall shape helps preserve the bubbles. As it with the stemless martini glass, the stemless variety are nice but for me, they look pretty but since the liquid in the glass is usually chilled and served up, you holding your glass is actually warming the drink up.



Margarita Glass

The classic margarita glass has a wide, shallow bowl, perfect for salt-rimmed margaritas. If its on the rocks can use either a a highball or lowball glass as well, but its not as fun.


Hurricane Glass

This glass is used for tropical and blended cocktails like a Hurricane or a Piña Colada. Its unique shape resembles a hurricane lamp.


Shot Glass

Small and usually made of glass, shot glasses are used for serving straight shots of alcohol or for creating layered shots.


Mule Mug

A mule mug is commonly used for serving “Mule” cocktails. Using a mule mug for serving mule cocktails serves several purposes. First, the copper construction of the mug helps to keep the drink colder for longer periods of time, as copper is an excellent conductor of temperature. This ensures that the cocktail stays refreshing and chilled, even in warm weather.  Second, the unique shape and design of the mule mug add to the overall drinking experience. The handle allows for a comfortable grip, while the rounded body and wide opening provide ample space for ice, garnishes, and mixing. This allows for the flavors of the cocktail to blend well and creates a visually appealing presentation. Lastly, the mule mug has become synonymous with the mule cocktail and has become an iconic symbol of the drink. It adds a touch of nostalgia and authenticity to the drinking experience, making it more enjoyable for cocktail enthusiasts.



Whiskey Glass

Yes, there is a specific type of glassware designed for serving whiskey, known as a whiskey glass or whiskey tumbler. Whiskey glasses are an essential part of barware and are specifically crafted to enhance the whiskey-drinking experience.


Whiskey glasses come in various shapes and sizes, but they generally have a wide, short, and sturdy design. They are made of thick glass to withstand the weight and heat of the whiskey. The wide bowl allows for the release of aromas, while the short stature helps to concentrate the flavors.


The choice of whiskey glass often depends on personal preference and the type of whiskey being enjoyed. Each glass style offers a unique drinking experience and can enhance the enjoyment of the whiskey's flavors and aromas.

Mason Jar

For fun and relaxed cocktails try using a mason jar full of ice. Great for Long Island Teas to Boozy Cherry .



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