Cocktails: A Beginner’s Guide to Glasses
Oct 28, 2021
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Cocktail glasses undoubtedly add visual appeal to drinks, but their purpose goes beyond the aesthetic. The shape and style of a cocktail glass help to both enhance the aromas and keep the drink at the best temperature. Sure, any cocktail could be served in any glass of your choosing. But the wrong glass might not bring out complex aromas or may result in too much heat transfer, diminishing the quality of the drinking experience.
Types of Cocktail Glasses
There are roughly twelve regularly used cocktail glasses you might find yourself drinking from. These glasses were engineered with a specific purpose in mind. From the shape of the glass’s mouth to the way it’s held in the hand, these glasses will each result in a different drinking experience.
The martini glass was originally introduced as an alternative to the coupe glass and was actually, at one point, used for champagne.
The easily recognizable martini glass has a v-shaped bowl design. Its structure encourages sipping, making it a good option for drinks that use little to no mixers. The sloping sides are perfect for propping up garnishes. This shape also keeps the ingredients mixed the way they’re served (shaken or stirred).
Beyond the bowl, this glass has a long stem which reduces the amount of heat transfer which prevents warming up the drink as you sip.
The martini glass, as the name suggests, is perfect for martinis. You may also find yourself sipping cosmopolitans and sidecars from this glass.
The tall and narrow highball glass is a versatile option. This glass is in between an old-fashioned and a Collins glass in height. In fact, you may find that the highball glass is used interchangeably with the Collins glass.
Highball glasses are used to serve cocktails that use a large amount of non-alcoholic mixers. The cocktails in this glass are often poured over ice if shaken or built directly in the glass.
This glass is often used to serve Bloody Marys, Gin and Tonics, and Rum and Cokes.
Collins glasses are used for drinks that are served over ice with more than one mixer. The Collins glass is quite similar in structure to the highball glass, the only difference being it is both taller and narrower.
As you might expect, Collins glasses are used to serve Tom Collins cocktails. Additionally, the next time you drink a Mojito or Paloma you may also find yourself drinking from a Collins glass.
Also referred to as the lowball or Old Fashioned glass, rocks glasses are short and wide-rimmed. These glasses are designed for spirits served with little to no mixers.
You’ll commonly find Old Fashioneds, Negronis, and Sazeracs served in a rocks glass.
Margarita glasses are another iconic cocktail glass with an easily recognized silhouette. This glass has a large, rounded bowl with a broad rim. This wide rim was designed to make the aromatics of the drink more pronounced. It also leaves quite a bit of room for various garnishes.
You’ll most often find yourself sipping margaritas and daiquiris from a margarita glass.
This tulip-shaped glass is often used to serve up tropical and fruity cocktails made with a variety of ingredients and mixers. The flare at the top of this glass helps to push the aromas of the drink to your nose. It also gives enough space to add garnishes for the perfect visual flourish.
Hurricane glasses are often used to serve Pina Coladas, hurricanes, and Singapore slings.
Coupe glasses, also called champagne saucers, are a less commonly used cocktail glass. These glasses initially gained popularity in the early 1900s. At the time they were used to serve syrup-based champagnes. Today, however, the coupe glass is more often used to serve craft cocktails rather than wines. This is largely due to its large, shallow bowl that is unable to maintain the bubbles and aroma.
You’ll find the coupe glass used to serve the Martinez, sidecar, aviation, and daiquiri.
The zombie glass was originally made for the zombie cocktail. This glass, like the Collins, is tall and straight-sided. It tends to be a bit larger than a Collins. However, in some cases, these glasses are used interchangeably.
Zombie glasses are most often used to serve zombies, fuzzy navels, and tequila sunrises.
Copper mugs are iconic and known for being used to serve Moscow mules. The key to this glass’s usefulness is in the material itself. Copper helps to enhance the flavors found in cocktails like the Moscow mule. Today, however, most copper mugs are actually lined with stainless steel or another material. This is to avoid any copper from leaching into the drink itself.
You’ll often find Moscow mules, mint juleps, and greyhounds served in copper mugs.
Nick and Nora
The Nick and Nora glass got its name from the book and movie series The Thin Man whose main characters, Nick and Nora Charles, sipped from these glasses.
Nick and Noras are a bell-shaped glass that looks like a cross between a coupe and a small wine glass. Its small size allows you to consume the cold drink before it has time to warm to room temperature.
Less commonly used than its counterparts, the Nick and Nora can be used for any cocktail served in a coupe or martini. In more recent years, it has become more commonly used by craft cocktail bartenders who want to put a spin on classics.