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The Basics of Serving: Cocktail Glassware

Part of Home Bar

Words by Eric Azran, .


Ready to bring your home cocktail game from entry-level beginner to seasoned veteran? One of the quickest ways to get there is with some nice glassware - you’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel about the final product. Serving a classic cocktail in the appropriate glass is one of those bartender cardinal rules, and one you definitely don’t want to break. Luckily, with just a few “archetypes” of glassware you can cover a lot of ground without dishing out too much cash.

Cocktail Glass or Coupe

Also known as stemware, these will be your go-to glass for anything served up, with just a few minor exceptions. This includes both stirred and shaken cocktails. A standard coupe is a really classy way to serve most drinks, and you'll find that they are more versatile than the term "champagne coupe" would ever imply. It's hard to make a cocktail look bad when served in one of these. If you have extra space or want to make an investment, you could grab a set of nice Martini glasses, which are great for Martinis and Manhattans, or a nice v-shaped cocktail glass or Nick & Noras for a bit of variety. By forcing the drinker to hold the glass by the stem, you'll avoid having a chilled cocktail with no ice warm up too quickly.

 

Rocks Glass or Lowball

There's about a million different ways to call these things, but the goal is generally the same: you want to be able to fit a large ice cube in there with your spirit or cocktail. A 10-12 ounce glass is usually the ideal size. Smaller than that and you may have trouble serving some drinks that need a bit of ice, or call for more volume-intensive ingredients. l like a glass that looks great when serving a cocktail, but also when serving some whiskey neat.
 

An All-Purpose Glass

If you've got the first two covered, the next best thing you can add to your collection is a glass to serve, well, everything else. This includes things that require specific serving vessels that you don't own yet(Tiki drinks, Moscow mules, Mint Juleps, etc.), and drinks that require a bunch of ice (Tom Collins, Bloody Mary, etc.). The first thing that comes to mind is nice Collins glass because they're super versatile, generally look good, and are easy to maintain. I've found myself using mason jars more than most, however, and they're usually easy to find close to home. If you're into the style you have an easy solution. 

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