The Ultimate Guide to Cocktail Glasses

Sarah Buckholtz
Post by Sarah Buckholtz
June 28, 2022
The Ultimate Guide to Cocktail Glasses

Certain cocktails benefit from a wide range of glasses that enhance both their appearance and taste. Picking the right drinkware boosts a beverage's aroma and temperature. All this means that using the right cocktail glass is incredibly important.

But what type of glass does your bartender need for some of the most common cocktails on your bar’s menu?

Read on to learn about the most common types of cocktail glasses and how their design brings out different aspects of each beverage.

Why Are Certain Cocktails Served In Certain Glasses?

Developed in order to improve a drink’s appearance and flavor, appropriate cocktail drinkware accentuates aromas and regulates temperature.

Both contribute to showcasing the cocktail recipe in its intended form. And at the end of the day as a bar or restaurant owner, that should be top of mind for you, creating a more memorable drinking experience.

Once you familiarize yourself with cocktail glasses, get some inspiration from our well guide along with 15 unique cocktails to make.

Martini Glass

The chalice-like design of the martini glass forces you to sip your drink, making it perfect for drinks without mixers. Or for adding a toothpick with a row of olives across the top. The traditional martini glass holds about 4 to 4.5oz.

Classic cocktails to serve in a martini glass include:

  • Martini
  • Cosmopolitan
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Rocks Glass

Wide and short with a thick base, rocks glasses, also known as old-fashioned or lowball glasses, hold between 6 to 8oz of liquid. Because of the shape of the glass, rocks encourage bartenders to muddle ingredients, stir, and add large chunks of ice. Hence on the rocks, which in the cocktail world literally means a drink served undiluted with ice cubes.

For that reason, rocks glasses predominantly hold spirit-based drinks, unlike their counterparts, which contain more ice and mixers.

Classic cocktails to serve in a rocks glass include:

  • Old Fashioned
  • Negroni

Margarita Glass

Identified by its large, round bowl, the margarita glass also has a distinctive wide rim that allows for ample garnishes. Both play a large role in this glass. The bowl enhances the aroma of the drink, while the broad rim provides room for that characteristic salty or sugary component.

Additionally, the tall stem makes the glass easy to grasp even on the largest sizes.

Classic cocktails to serve in a margarita glass include:

  • Frozen Margarita
  • Daiquiri

Highball/Collins Glass

Photo by wu yi on Unsplash

This long, straight glass holds 8 to 12oz of ice and is suitable for serving rock cocktails. Based on its narrow shape, a highball/Collins glass maintains the right temperature and carbonation for the cocktails traditionally served in them.

Because a highball glass is slightly shorter and wider than a Collins glass, it is frequently used interchangeably with one.

Classic cocktails to serve in a highball/Collins glass include:

  • Rum and Coke
  • Paloma
  • Gin and Tonic

Copper Mug

Photo by Wine Dharma on Unsplash

The copper mug is excellent for keeping cold beverages cold on a hot day, thanks to its conductivity. Historically, the Moscow Mule cocktail, a vodka-ginger beer-lime juice mixture, has been served in copper mugs.

Copper is said to enhance the flavors of ginger beer and citrus as well as the fizziness. Although nowadays, many copper mugs are lined with stainless steel in order to prevent copper leaching into beverages.

Classic cocktails to serve in a copper mug:

  • Moscow Mule
  • Mint Julep

Coupe Glass

Originally created to accommodate champagne, the coupe glass’s round shape actually isn't suited for fizzy beverages. The large surface area makes it difficult for bubbles to dissipate. Instead, a coupe glass is best suited for drinks that require straining and serving 'straight up' without ice, such as a Manhattan.

This glass has a very long stem, which prevents your hand from warming the drink.

Classic cocktails to serve in a coupe glass include:

  • Manhattan
  • Gimlet

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Sarah Buckholtz
Post by Sarah Buckholtz
June 28, 2022
Sarah Buckholtz is a Content Writer and Editor for Untappd, Oznr, and Hop Culture. For more than a decade she has interviewed everyone from artisan makers to Grammy nominated musicians to Jefferson Award winning preservationists. She is a former blog writer and marketing manager for American Pickers creator and host, Mike Wolfe, covering stories about heritage tourism and preservation coast-to-coast. Sarah grew up on the shores of Lake Erie in Pennsylvania and is currently drinking a Jackalope Thunder Ann in Nashville, Tennessee.