The Sipsmith Blog

An Essential Glassware Guide for Home Bartenders

in Gin Culture June 11, 2018
Cocktail Glassware Guide

From Martini glasses to Nick and Noras, coupes to flutes, we’re highlighting the 10 drinking vessels that home bartenders should consider adding to their collections.

So you’ve brushed up on your home bartending skills, and you’ve got all the essential tools needed to stir and shake up a range of cocktails. But if you’re still serving your Red Snappers in pint glasses or are using chipped Ikea cups for your Negronis, then it’s time to upgrade your glass collection.

In our glassware guide, we’re highlighting the 10 key drinking vessels that crop up most frequently in cocktail recipes, and which home bartenders would do well to acquire. Read on to learn more about the basics—and why choosing the right glass for each serve is about much more than just aesthetics.

1. Martini Glass

Its more petite predecessor was known, creatively, as the “cocktail glass,” but we’re pleased the Martini glass’s current moniker has stuck. The wide brim of this glass allows for gin’s aromatics to shine, while its steep sides help keep garnishes in place. There’s no question: the Martini glass is a design icon in its own right, and no home bartender should be without a set.

Use for: A Martini

2. Coupe/Coupette

Coupes are a classic cocktail glass that every home bartender should have in their collection.

Before it was used for cocktails—and even before it was known as a coupe or coupette (which is French for “cup”)—this glass was dubbed a Champagne saucer, and was a hit in the early 20th century. While it eventually fell out of favour amongst bubbly enthusiasts (its shape was said to dissipate carbonation too quickly), the coupe became fashionable amongst cocktail drinkers at the turn of the 21st century. Today, it’s a go-to glass for cocktails that are served up.

Use for: A Bee’s Knees

3. Nick and Nora 

Think of the Nick and Nora as a kind of hybrid of the Martini glass and the coupe. Named for Nick and Nora Charles, the fictional couple in The Thin Man, this small glass has a high, narrow rim and slightly rounded, sloping sides. Use it for spirit-led, stirred-down drinks that aren’t served in great volume.

Use for: A Blessed Lime

4. Rocks/Old-Fashioned Glass

Technically, rocks and Old-Fashioned glasses are distinct, and differ ever so slightly in size, but in common parlance these short, heavy-bottomed glasses are used interchangeably. Employ a rocks glass for any spirit-led drink that, yes, is served on the rocks—Old-Fashioned or otherwise.

Use for: A Negroni

5. Collins Glass

The long and lean Collins glass takes its name, unsurprisingly, from the Tom Collins. Its height and narrow shape are designed—similarly to a Champagne flute—to preserve carbonation. Use a Collins glass for long and refreshing serves made with plenty of fizz and ice.

Use for: A Tom Collins

6. Highball Glass

Like a slightly shorter take on the Collins glass, a highball is an essential part of any glassware guide, and can be used for most drinks that are served long. Many industry professionals prefer it, in fact, to the Collins glass; its smaller size often makes for less dilution and a more balanced drink.

Use for: A Daisy

7. Flute

French 75

When serving a bottle of Champagne—or cocktails made with bubbly—reach for your flutes.

The age of the Champagne saucer has largely passed, and so—whether you’re quaffing Prosecco or the rarest Dom Pérignon—the flute is the standard when it comes to bubbles (and the cocktails that are made with them).

Use for: A French 75

8. Copa/Balloon Glass

While Collins or highball glasses are frequently used for G&Ts, reach for a copa (also known as a balloon glass) when making a Spanish-style gin & tonic. The wide bowl of the glass holds enough ice to keep the drink chilled for longer, has ample room for all manner of creative garnishes, and lets drinkers swirl and release bright aromas with every sip.

Use for: A Spanish-style G&T

9. Toddy Glass

No glassware guide would be complete without the toddy glass: an elegant piece of glassware that resembles a teacup, and is designed for hot drinks. Its handle might be a separate piece of metal or attached to the stem to prevent the glass from warming too much in your hand. Either way, it’s undoubtedly chicer than your average mug.

Use for: A Hot G&T

10. Sling Glass

This glass might be somewhat on the niche side, but if you regularly sip Singapore Slings—or enjoy similar long, tropical drinks—then it may well be worth investing in a few sling glasses. Tall and slender with a small, squat stem, these glasses are also favoured by lager sippers.

Use for: A Singapore Sling

Feature images © MaximFesenko/iStock; sergmam/iStock

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