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11 Types of Glassware you need at Home

There are a lot of different types of cocktail glass out there, and some of them are definitely more useful than others. Our guide to glassware talks about what each kind of glass is used for, and how much you really need it.

Lowball

Usefulness: 5/5

Types of Drinks: Old Fashioned, Whisky Sour, Negroni, neat spirits etc

The Lowball glass, also known as an Old-Fashioned or a Rocks glass, is a staple of your home bar. They’re shorter and sturdier than their sibling, the Highball glass, and the thickness of the base means they’re great for muddling ingredients. Serve cocktails like Negronis and Old-Fashioneds in them, or just use them to sip whiskies.

Highball

Usefulness: 5/5

Types of Drinks: G&T, Whisky & Soda, Cuba Libre etc

The Highball glass is taller and thinner than the Lowball - hence the name - and pretty much identical to the Collins glass, which is slightly taller and narrower again. Some will differentiate between Collins and Highball glasses, but honestly, for all intents and purposes, they’re interchangeable. These glasses are great for mixed drinks like whisky & soda, G&Ts, or any type of cocktail that you build in the glass. Tequila Sunrises, Cuba Libres and the like are all perfectly at home in a Highball.

Martini

Usefulness: 2/5

Types of Drinks: Martini, Espresso Martini, Manhattan etc

The Martini glass is a classy affair. Just holding one makes you feel like you just stepped out of the latest Bond movie. They’re not actually that practical, as the wide rim is prone to spillage, and they’re also very delicate and breakable, but they really enhance aromas and they look amazing. Use them to serve ice-free cocktails like Martinis (obviously) and Manhattans, and hold them by the stem so that the heat from your hand doesn’t inadvertently warm up your cocktails.

Coupe

Usefulness: 5/5

Types of Drinks: Daiquiri, Martini, Sidecar, Aviation etc

The Coupe glass is a lot like the Martini glass, but more practical. Its curved rim helps keep your cocktail stay inside the glass, unlike the Martini, which happily flings its contents everywhere. It’s also a little more solid, meaning that you can chill it in the freezer with slightly less stress about opening the freezer door to find that it has given up the ghost and split itself asunder. Like the Martini glass, use them for cocktails that are served Up (as in, without ice). Daiquiris, Manhattans, Martinis, Sours – everything looks good in a Coupe glass. 

NB: these glasses were historically used for champagne. Don’t use them for champagne; the champagne will go flat almost immediately. Whilst they may look pretty with bubbly in them, using a Coupe to serve champagne would be a very sorry waste of an expensive bottle of fizz.

Hurricane

Usefulness: 3/5

Types of Drinks: Piña Coladas, Hurricane, Planter’s Punch, Singapore Sling etc

Ah, the Hurricane glass. Do you need it? Probably not really, but it looks so pretty – especially when you fill it with some lovely, fruity cocktail with variegated colours. Just drinking out of one makes everything feel more tropical and beachy. Use them for Piña Coladas, Mai Tais, Planter’s Punches and that sort of thing.

Nick & Nora

Usefulness: 4/5 

Types of Drinks: Rob Roy, Martini, Daiquiri, Last Word etc

Nick & Nora Charles – brought to life by William Powell and Myrna Loy in The Thin Man and its sequels – were the ultimate Golden-Age-of-Hollywood snarky power couple. They were endlessly witty. They were beautiful. They solved mysteries. And they were constantly drinking. The Nick & Nora glass is a classy way to drink a Martini, Rob Roy, or any other spirit-forward cocktail served Up. This piece of glassware has been making a huge comeback in top cocktail bars and is a versatile and stylish addition to any home bar.

Margarita

Usefulness: 1/5 

Types of Drinks: Margarita, Frozen cocktails

“The Margarita glass?” I hear you cry. “What could one possibly serve in a Margarita glass?” Be mystified no more, my friend; the Margarita glass is commonly used to serve Margaritas. (We told you this blog was useful.) They’re a fun, oversized way to drink a slushy mountain of frozen Margarita or frozen Daiquiri or whatever you want to put in them. Do you really need them? Well, no, not really – but do you want them? We’ll leave that up to you.

Snifter

Usefulness: 4/5 

Types of Drinks: Cognac, Brandy, Whisky etc

For many, the Snifter glass immediately conjures up images of dark-panelled smoking rooms, leather armchairs, old gentlemen with pocket watches. It was designed especially for any alcohol you’re going to drink neat and unadulterated, with no ice. The shape of the glass lets the aromas bloom and then condense near to your nose, meaning that you get the full experience of any good spirit you pour into one. Swirl it around in the glass to let all the fragrances really come out and meet you.

Shot

Usefulness: Dependent on personality of drinker

Types of Drinks: Shots, shots, shots!

Whether or not you need to have shot glasses in your home bar really depends on your personality. They’re not necessary if all you want to do is drink a spirit neat – for that, you can use a snifter or a lowball glass, instead of a shot glass. But if you’re someone who enjoys having a bunch of friends around to get silly and slam tequila and limes, then the shot glass is probably for you. Let’s leave this one up to your discretion.

Mule

Usefulness: 1/5 

Types of Drinks: Moscow Mule, Bramble

The Mule Mug is a shimmering copper edifice, designed to retain temperature and thus keep your Moscow Mules cool. While they’re pretty, they’re generally used only to serve Mules. Mules can just as easily be served in a Coupe or a Highball glass, so the mugs are really fairly gimmicky. But if you have the space, and you really really enjoy Moscow Mules, then go for it, my friend.

Wine

Usefulness: 5/5 

Types of Drinks: Wine, Spritz, Sangria etc

Topping off our list is the common Wine glass. You know what this one’s for. Red wine glasses tend to be wider and larger than white wine glasses; this is to reduce oxidation in the whites and increase it in the reds, which enhances the aroma profiles of both (you can serve champagne in them too, if you don’t want to get a set of flutes for bubbly). As well as wines, these glasses can be used for cocktails like Spritzes or Sangrias, or even drinks like G&Ts if you’re feeling fancy.