Essentials That You Need To Know About Cocktail Glasses

While you can put a mixed drink into any glass you wish, classic cocktails call for specific types of cocktail glasses for each drink. Although the various types of cocktail glasses may appear to be only for presentation, they are only part of the recipe. It is crucial to determine the glass’s capacity to hold the drink, but not too large to overpower it. The glass also needs to be the right size and shape to accommodate garnishes and ice. You may notice a difference in how the drink is delivered to your tongue. This can impact the way you experience the taste. The shape of the glass can also influence the aromas of the drink in a way that enhances your enjoyment.

Collins Glass

The collins is one of the most popular and versatile cocktail glasses. The collins glass is a tall cylindrical glass tumbler that has no taper. It’s straight up and down along its sides. Some versions have a slight bulge in the middle to add some decorative elements. A collins glass can hold approximately 10 to 14 ounces of liquid or ice. It is almost always used for serving cocktails on the rocks. A collins glass is traditionally used to serve the following cocktails:

  • Tom Collins
  • John Collins
  • Paloma
  • Mojito
  • Harvey Wallbanger
  • El Diablo
  • 7 and 7
  • Ramos gin fizz


Although the collins and highball glasses are often interchangeable, there is a significant difference between them. A collins glass is slightly shorter and squatter than the highball. The highball glass is taller, more cylindrical, and narrower than a collins, but holds less liquid. It can hold between 8-12 ounces. You may notice a slight taper at the sides. These drinks are often served in highball glasses:

  • Gin and tonic
  • Dark and stormy
  • Tequila sunrise
  • Long Island iced tea
  • Cuba libre
  • Cape Codder

You can use either a collins or highball glass for your home bar. This means you don’t need to stock up on glassware.

Pint Glass

The pint glass rounds out the long, straight glasses. As the name suggests, the pint glass holds about a pint of liquid; typically beer. Pint glasses have a tapered rim that extends outwards from the rim. They are therefore wider at the rim and lower than the bottom, which makes them look different from highball or collins glasses. Pint glasses can hold 16 fluid ounces. You will find different shapes for different beers. Pint glasses are also often included as part of a Boston shaker set, which is the type of cocktail shaker that bartenders use. You’ll find the following drinks served in pint glasses:

  • Beer
  • Bloody Mary
  • Bloody Maria
  • Michelada

Hurricane Glass

Hurricane glass is a mix of tall and stemmed glasses. Some have shorter stems while others have longer stems. The hurricane glass is curvy and fluted, and it’s the traditional glass you’ll find with a tiki drink in it and an umbrella poking out of the top. The hurricane glass can hold approximately 20 ounces of liquid and is used for cocktails that are served chilled without ice, such as frozen drinks or blended drinks. You can use a larger capacity wine glass, a pint or collins glass to replace the hurricane glass.

Commonly, hurricane glasses can be used interchangeably with poco grande glasses. This glass has a similar fluted design but has a longer stem. It holds approximately 12 ounces more. These drinks are often served in a hurricane or poco grande glasses:

  • Hurricane
  • Pina colada
  • Singapore sling
  • Blue Hawaiian
  • Blue lagoon
  • Mudslide

Rocks Glass

A rocks glass is a shorter version of a highball or collins glass. Rock glasses are cylindrical and squatty. However, you can also find a tapered version. The rocks glass is commonly used for single our double pours of whiskey either neat or on the rock, but it is also used for a number of cocktails served both up and on the rocks. You may also find the rocks glass called an old-fashioned glass because it’s the glass used to serve the classic whiskey drink, the old-fashioned. You may also call it a lowball. There are two types of rocks glasses: single rocks and double rocks. A single rocks glass holds 6 to 10 ounces of liquid. A double rocks glass is wider and can hold approximately twice as much. Common drinks served in rocks or double rocks glasses:

  • Whiskey on the rocks or neat
  • Old-fashioned
  • Penicillin
  • Negroni
  • Sazerac
  • White Russian
  • Whiskey sour
  • Pisco sour

Martini Glass

A martini is a stemmed, tapered glasses with a conical shape. It has a wide rim. The martini glasses are designed to be used for serving drinks that have been chilled. It is best to chill the glass before adding the cocktail. A standard martini glass can hold 3-10 ounces. Martini glasses are used to serve the following drinks:

  • Martini
  • Vodka martini
  • Dirty martini
  • Gimlet
  • Gibson
  • Vesper martini
  • Manhattan
  • Espresso martini
  • Cocktail Glass

A martini glass and a cocktail glasses are very similar in appearance. Both have a conical shape with a wide rim and a long stem. The main difference between the two is their capacity. A cocktail glass can hold 6-12 ounces of liquid and is often used for double martinis and other cocktails.

  • Cosmopolitan
  • Lemon drop
  • Aviation cocktail
  • White lady
  • Daiquiri

Margarita Glass

It’s not hard to suss out the purpose of a margarita glass: it holds frozen or on the rocks margaritas. Margarita glasses have a stemmed shape and a wide rim. They are not conical in shape but instead of a tapered conical shape, they have a stacked, rounded, or bowl shape. Margarita glasses can hold 6 to 20 ounces, with some mondo glasses holding more. They also have a thicker rim that is sturdy enough for salt dipping. You can use hurricane glass, rocks glass, cocktail glass, or poco grande glass to make your margarita.


A coupe is a stemmed cocktail cup with a wide, shallow bowl. Sometimes, coupes are also called a Champagne coupe and a Champagne saucer. Although a coupe was traditionally associated with Champagne, it is no longer used to serve sparkling wine. However, it is still very popular for other cocktails. A coupe can hold 5 to 7 ounces of liquid and is most often used for drinks that are served up. You can substitute a coupe with a cocktail cup if you don’t own one. A coupe is a glass that can be used to hold a drink such as:

  • Sidecar
  • Boulevardier
  • Vieux carre
  • Clover club
  • Grasshopper
  • Dubonnet

Shot Glass

You can use shot glasses to double the job of serving and making drinks. You can use them to create alcohol shots, and, in the absence of a jigger, you can use them for measuring as you mix cocktails, although the measurements will be less precise. They come in many sizes and shapes. There are many sizes available for shot glasses, including single, double and larger. They can hold approximately 1 1/2 to 3 ounces of liquid. Shot glasses are intended to be drunk straight from the bottle, without garnish or sips. You’ll find some drinks served in shot glasses:

  • Tequila
  • Snake bite
  • Kamikaze
  • B-52
  • Jager bomb
  • Irish car bomb

Wine Glass

Wine glasses with wine pourer are stemmed glasses with a slightly tapered and rounded bowl or a tulip shaped bowl. You can choose from a variety of shapes depending on what wine you are serving, but all glasses are made to ensure that the wine is delivered to the right place on your palate and to direct the wine’s aromas to maximize enjoyment. Wine glasses can hold between 4 and 14 ounces. Stemmed wine glasses remain the most common, but stemless wine glasses have also been growing in popularity. You may also find wine glasses for other beverages, such as:

  • Aperol spritz (Spritz Veneziano)
  • Wine spritzer
  • Amalfi spriz
  • Sangria

Champagne Flute

The Champagne flute is the most common vessel for serving Champagne. It is a stemmed glass that has a tall, narrow, and slightly tapered flute shape. This shape allows bubbles to rise up to the top, tickling your nose. Flutes usually hold six to seven ounces. Champagne flutes can also be used to hold other beverages such as:

  • Prosecco
  • Kir royale
  • Sparkling white wine
  • French 75
  • Bellini
  • Mimosa
  • Champagne cocktail

Cordial Glass

Cordial glasses are stemmed glasses of small capacity with fluted shapes. They can hold cordials and liqueurs and have a small capacity of approximately one ounce and a quarter. These glasses can look like a miniature Champagne flute, wine glass, stemmed shot glass or mini hurricane glass. Cordial glasses are used for drinks such as:

  • Orange liqueur
  • Coffee liqueur
  • Limoncello
  • Amaretto
  • Other liqueurs

Glencairn Glass

A Glencairn glass is a whisky glass designed especially for serving Scotch whisky, although it works for other types of whiskey as well. The glass is a tulip-shaped and looks somewhat like a small, squat hurricane. It is ideal for Scotch whisky because of how it delivers the Scotch to your palate and how it directs the Scotch aromas to your nose while you drink it. A Glencairn glass holds approximately six ounces. This glass is a must-have item for whiskey enthusiasts, but it can also be used to hold other brown spirits like anejo tequila and dark rum.

Irish Coffee Mug

Irish coffee mugs have a tall, narrow clear glass mug. Clear glass allows you to see all layers of your drink. It’s ideal for making pretty presentations for warm cocktails. The mug holds approximately 8 ounces. You can also serve hot cocktails in any mug if you don’t own an Irish coffee cup. You can serve these drinks in your Irish coffee mug:

  • Irish coffee
  • Hot-buttered rum
  • Hot toddy
  • Wassail

Mule Mug

Mule mugs, copper mugs made for Moscow mules, are copper mugs. They come with straight or rounded edges. Copper mugs can hold between 16 to 20 ounces. Since the 1940s, the copper mug has been the standard vessel for mule drinking. The mug’s exterior becomes frosty when the drink is placed in it. You can hold the handle of the mug. You can also serve your mule in a collins or traditional highball glass if you don’t own a mule cup. Along with a classic mule, some bartenders like to serve any ginger beer drink in a mule mug, and in a pinch it serves as a great alternative for a mint julep.

Julep Cup

Julep cups are traditionally sterling silver or pewter cups. They are designed specifically as the traditional vessel in which to serve a mint julep. Juleps are made with lots of crushed ice. This frosts the outside of your mug beautifully and makes the mint julep a refreshing, elegant drink. Julep cups can hold 7-10 ounces. You can also serve your julep from a rocks glass if you don’t own a julep cup.


A snifter is also known as a brandy snifter or brandy glass. It’s a stemmed glass with an oval-shaped bowl and a balloon-shaped opening at the top. It holds six to eight ounces. The stem is small and squat. The design is shaped to deliver the aromas of brandy to the nose and the flavors to the right spot on the palate. You can enjoy the following drinks in a snifter:

  • Cognac
  • Armagnac
  • Pisco
  • Calvados
  • Other brandies
  • Scotch and dark rum are brown liqueurs
  • Mixing glass

Cocktails are not served in a mixing cup, but many cocktails can be mixed and chilled in one. It’s the preferred vessel for stirring and chilling a martini, for instance, and it’s also used to mix other drinks that don’t require shaking in a shaker. Mixing glasses are tall, broad, and have a large opening. They can be used to pour and stir drinks. To strain the drink into a glass you will use a strainer like a Hawthorne or julep strainer to keep out the ice and other solids. The capacity of mixing glasses is 18-20 ounces. This allows you to mix up two cocktails and chill them with lots of ice.

Specialty cocktail glasses

You’ll also find many specialty glasses from different manufacturers, such as absinthe glasses and grappa glasses. You will need at least the following items to stock your home bar.

  • Cocktail glasses
  • Wine glasses for red and white
  • Champange flutes
  • Collins glasses
  • Rocks glasses
  • Mixing glass
  • Shot glasses

With a few of each type of the above glasses, you’ll be able to make attractive classic and modern cocktails in an appropriate vessel, regardless of what drink you’re serving.

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