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Types of Cocktail Glasses Fact Sheet

by Angela Tague

Unique cocktail glasses

A well-stocked bar not only requires different types of drinks, but also coordinating glasses and barware for serving various beverages. While most drinks have traditional glassware, you can be as creative as you want with your cocktail glasses. Mix and match glasses and barware or choose unique cocktail glasses to reinvent your favorite drinks. Cocktail glasses can also be used for nonalcoholic beverages, such as bubbling punches and sparkling cider. To make sure you have enough bar glasses for all your guests, plan for one to two glasses per person for each beverage served at an event or party.

Types of Cocktail Glasses:

  1. Highball and lowball glasses: The tall, straight highball glass typically holds between 12 and 14 ounces of liquid. The base and rim of the glass are the same size. Highball glasses are often used to serve Bloody Marys and mixed drinks such as cranberry and vodka or gin and tonic. Drinks served in highball glasses are commonly served with ice. Lowball glasses are smaller than the highball, holding between 8 to 10 ounces of alcohol. Lowball glasses are commonly used to serve mixed drinks or a couple ounces of fine whiskey or scotch, served neat or on the rocks.

  2. Martini glass: Also referred to as the classic cocktail glass, the martini glass has a slim stem and a wide, cone-shaped bowl. The cone shape of the bowl helps to keep ingredients from separating. Martini glasses are used to serve martinis, Manhattans, gimlets and various mixed drinks.

  3. Shot glass: The smallest cocktail glass is the shot glass, or shooter. The ingredients of the shot glass are intended to be consumed in one swallow. The average shot glass contains 1.5 ounces of alcohol. Straight whiskey, vodka and other liquors are served in the shot glass. Some shot glasses include decorative embellishments, labels and pictures.

  4. Wine glass: This thin, elegant stemmed glass is used for various wines. Red wine glasses have wider bowls to increase oxidation, while white wine glasses are slightly narrower. Wine glasses are meant to be held by the stem so as not to change the temperature of the wine. It is also important to hold the glass by the stem to avoid fingerprints on the glass, which can be distracting when looking at color and clarity of the wine.

  5. Champagne flute: Made to serve sparkling wine, the flute is an elegant, ultra-slim goblet. The elongated shape of the glass prevents the champagne or other carbonated beverage from going flat; the long shape lets bubbles rise slowly, adding to the visual effect of the drink. Besides champagne, you can serve mimosas, champagne cocktails and even sparkling water in champagne flutes.

  6. Brandy snifter: Unlike other types of stemware, the bowl of the brandy snifter is meant to be held in the palm of the hand in order to warm the brandy or cognac. The glass has a wide base and a smaller rim, allowing the aroma to linger in the top portion of the glass and not escape.

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