Cocktail Glass Guide

By Everything Kitchens




Cocktail Glass Guide Everything Kitchens

Does it really matter what glass you serve a cocktail in? What’s the difference between a martini glass and a coupe? This cocktail glass guide will quickly walk you through the different styles of bar glassware and their best uses. Most cocktail glassware falls into one of three categories: Tumblers, Stemmed Glassware, or Specialty Drinkware.



Tumblers Everything Kitchens 


Tumblers are stemless cups. They are versatile and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Typically, they are large in volume to accommodate ice.

Highballs - These tall glasses are perfect for drinks that have more mixers than liquor. They are tall, narrow, and do not flare out. The glassware's straight sides help keep carbonation longer.

Nicknames: Collins Glass, Tumblers, Chimney Glass

Perfect for: Rum and Coke, Gin and Tonic, Tom Collins  


Lowballs - Used for short drinks that have more liquor than mixers. These short, straight-walled glasses are used for single spirits, mixed cocktails, and good for displaying large ice cubes or spheres. Larger lowballs are good for stirring or mixing drinks right in the glass. 

Nicknames: Single Rocks, Double Rocks, Old Fashioned Glass

Perfect for:  Drinks served neat (shot of bourbon), Spirits on the rocks, Old Fashioned, Stirred Cocktails, Shaken Cocktails 


Tumblers - These tall glasses are perfect for drinks that have more mixers than liquor. They are tall, narrow, and do not flare out. The glassware's straight sides help keep carbonation longer.

Perfect for: Bloody Mary, Mojito, Margaritas


Tall Shot Glass - Traditionally used for limoncello and liqueurs to be sipped in small amounts. Modernly used for layered shots or larger shots. Tall shot glasses (or shooters) look like a taller and slimmer version of the shot glass.

Nicknames: Shooters

Perfect for: B-52, Irish Flag, Pineapple Upside-down Cake


Shot Glass - Small 1-2oz glass with a heavy bottom. The heavy bottom helps the small glass from tipping over and also prevents shattering if it is slammed on the table. Used for a single shot of liquor and small layered shots

Perfect for: Tequila shots, Alabama Slammers, Kamikaze


Stemmed Glassware

Stemmed glassware has a bowl at the top with a stem and a foot at the bottom. This design offers a place to hold the glass without affecting the drink temperature. Stemmed Glassware is typically used for spirit-forward cocktails with no ice.

Martini - Wide cone-shaped vessel with a straight lip. The wider mouth and straight lip encourages faster drinking and the large surface area is good for releasing the aroma of the cocktail. The straight lip does mean your drink can easily spill out.

Perfect for: Martini, Cosmopolitan, Negroni


Coupe -  The lip on these glasses are curved inwards, encouraging slower drinking and sipping (a great alternative to the Martini glass). The curved lip also makes it harder for your drink to slosh out while holding and moving it.

Perfect for: Craft cocktails, Daiquiri, Egg-white Foam Cocktails


Nick & Nora - A combination of a martini and coupe shape with tall walls and a wipe opening and straight lip. Nick & Nora glasses are smaller in size designed for more spirit forward drinks.

Perfect for: Manhattan, Sours Drinks, Rob Roy


Margarita -  A wide rimmed glass, typically larger than martini glasses. The wide rim is great for salt or sugar, an important ingredient to cocktails like the margarita. The large size is perfect for frozen and on-the-rocks cocktails.

Perfect for: Margarita (Frozen and On-the-Rocks), Pina Colada, Frozen Drinks


Champagne Flute -  The tall slim sides of this glass help to keep your drink bubbly and carbonated. Great for Champagne too!

Perfect for: Mimosa, French 75, Sparkling Drinks

Semi-Stemmed Glassware


Semi-Stemmed Glassware

This segment of stemmed glassware breaks the rules of typically stemmed glassware. Instead of a long stem, there is a short stem which encourages the drinker to hold the bowl of the glass in the palm of the hand. To make sure your drink does not get warm, these semi-stemmed cocktail glasses are larger in volume to hold more ice to ensure a pleasurable drinking experience. Some semi-stemmed glasses (specifically snifter-shaped glasses) actually are meant to help the spirit warm-up to release all of its flavors and aromas.


Hurricane -  Very tall and large volume glass meant to hold lots of juice, ice, or frozen blended drinks.

Perfect for: Pina Colada, Hurricane, Tropical & Tiki Drinks


Gin & Tonic - The wide bowl is great for holding plenty of ice to keep your tall drinks chilled. The wide opening is great for releasing aromatics while you are drinking and is plenty of space for garnishes.

Perfect for: Gin & Tonic, Bee’s Knees, Bramble


Snifter - Although this glass can be used for single spirits, the large bowl shape is commonly used in tropical & tiki cocktails, usually completely filled with ice.
Perfect for: Pain Killer, Shark Bite, Sidewinder's Fang


Cognac Glass - This large, bowl-shaped glass is easy to rest in the palm of your hand. This allows your hand to warm up the spirit and release aromas. Only a couple of ounces of a top-shelf liquor is added to this glass so that you can swirl and aerate the spirit without spilling. The large volume of the glass allows you to put your nose down into glass and sniff the spirit.
Perfect for: Brandy, Cognac, Bourbon, Rye, Aged Rum


Nosing - Similar to snifter but smaller. The more narrow shape helps the raw alcohol smell to escape the glass so you can discern the other aromas of the spirit.

Perfect for: Scotch, Tequila, Bourbon, Rye, Aged Rum



Specialty Drinkware Everything Kitchens

Other Specialty Drinkware

These drinking vessels are used for special occasions and specialty cocktails. This is not an exhaustive list, but some of the more popular ones you’ll run into.

Copper Mugs - The traditional vessel for the Moscow Mule (and other mule drinks!)

Mint Julep Cup - The official drink of the Kentucky Derby is the mint julep and is always served in a stainless steel vessel. The metal makes the drink extra cold and refreshing even on a hot summer day.  

Hot Mug - A thick-walled glass mug with a handle. Used for hot cocktails such as Irish Coffee or the Hot Toddy.

Tiki Mug - Similar to a high-ball glass, this vessel is meant to be filled with plenty of ice to chill and dilute those strong tropical cocktails. 

Punch Bowls & Glasses - Essential for parties, the crystal punch bowl is the centerpiece of your get-together. Punches are historical (and delicious!) and are a fun way to serve a crowd an amazing cocktail.




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