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Cocktail Glass Class—the Basics for General Cocktailing

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If you’re among the hedonists out there, you know that glassware tends to be an underrated part of the drinking experience. The weight, height, shape, texture, delicacy or sturdiness of a glass, all influence your perception of what is actually inside the vessel.

But there are also practical reasons why certain drinks are served in specific cocktail glasses.

For example, did you know that sparkling wine was originally served in a coupe?

It’s true. You get more of the aromas and complexities from the wine that way. (And obviously, you can make those overindulgent champagne towers with ’em…)

But what do you lose faster? The effervescence. There is a method to the glassware madness!

Considering how many shapes and sizes of cocktail glasses exist out there, how do you know which ones you really need for your collection?

Bar Glass Collection: The 2 Schools of Thought

While utility is important for day-to-day stuff, there is something special about getting a cocktail in a glass that looks as if it was born to hold your Boulevardier.

Curated:

Neat and tidy, matching sets all lined in perfectly. Everyone gets the same experience. This makes pouring perfect wash lines easy as the liquid volume is predictable and consistent.

Wash Line: the level on the glass where the finished cocktail pour reaches. (Ideally, unless it is a sour with egg whites or something similar where you want a perfect meniscus…you should leave about a centimetre to prevent spillage.)

cocktail glasses on shelves

Chaos:

Related:  The Hidden Benefits of Cocktail Making Classes

Funky, eclectic pieces from all over that have different styles, colors and random shapes. Every time you mix it is a chance for a new adventure!
Pro tip: You don’t need to rack up a bunch of debt for this! Consignment and thrift are absolute home runs for vintage glassware, including Waterford crystal! (😆 Drunk thrifting, anyone?)

Here’s an article on checking for quality in used glassware.

The Cocktail Glasses You Actually Need

rocks glass

Rocks/Tumbler/Old Fashioned

The workhorse; sturdy and ergonomic. Ideal size around 9→11oz

Use for Negronis, Boulevardiers, Whisky Sours, Margaritas, Old Fashioneds, etc. Also great for just serving neat pours of whisky or other spirits.

collins cocktail glass

Tall Highball or Collins

Vertically endowed. This style keeps bubbles tight together for drinks that contain a fizzy element, or “long” cocktails that contain a fair amount of mixer that can be enjoyed with a straw. Ideal size 12→16oz.

Think Tom Collins (its namesake), Dark & Stormy, Paloma, Bloody Mary, Pimm’s Cup, etc.

large coupe cocktail glass

Large Cocktail Coupe

Ideal size 6→9oz. When you have shaken cocktails that are served neat but have a large quantity of juice, liqueurs, egg whites, etc.

Think Espresso Martini, Cosmo, Clover Club, Blood and Sand, etc.

small coupe cocktail glass

Small Cocktail Coupe

Ideal size 4→6oz. This is the must-have if you like short, strong cocktails that are enjoyed with elegance.

Think Martini, Manhattan, Toronto, Hanky Panky. Or even drinks that have a small citrus element like a Daiquiri, or Sidecar.

Extra Curricular Glasses for a more advanced setup

variety of cocktail glasses

May the thrifting glassware gods be with you.

Authors

Nathan Caudle

Nathan Caudle

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