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Glassware for Spirits and Cocktails

Cocktail glasses
The right glassware can enhance an experience, whether it's hosting a formal dinner or holiday party or just relaxing at home. Upgrading your home bar with basic glassware—receptacles that are suitable for a variety of drinks—enables you to optimize your cocktail service. Learn about the most common glassware for spirits and ways to pair them with cocktails.
Cordials cocktail glass

Cordials Glass

Similar to the shot glass but with added elegance, the cordial glass holds 2 to 3 ounces. Designed for sipping, the graceful stem or deep base provides a way to hold the drink without warming the liquid.

Use for: Apéritifs, digestifs and liqueurs

Coupe cocktail glass

Coupe Glass

For a vintage look with a splash of history, add coupe glasses to your glassware collection. Popular during Prohibition, the graceful stem and wide bowl creates a stunning visual presentation. Historically, this 4 to 7 ounces stemmed glass was used for sparkling wine; however, the wide surface area causes the bubbles to dissipate too quickly. Coupe glasses are now used to show off the clarity of cocktails that have been strained.

Use for: Daiquiri, Manhattan, Paper Plane, Vodka Gimlet

Fluted cocktail glass

Flute Glass

Sparkling drinks are presented elegantly, as bubbles rise dramatically through this tall, narrow glass. Often used in celebrations, champagne flutes are more fragile than many of their glassware counterparts, so be sure to toast lightly with this one!

Use for: Champagne cocktails like the D’Artagnan, Kir Royal and Mimosa

Highball cocktail glass

Highball / Collins Glass

Highball and Collins glasses are perfect for cocktails served with ice that include a nonalcoholic mixer like juice or soda. Tall and slender chimney-style glasses, the Collins glass holds 8 to 12 ounces, and highball glass holds 10 to 12 ounces.

Use for: Gin and Tonic, Screwdriver, Vodka Collins

Margarita cocktail glass

Margarita Glass

This stemmed glass features a curved bowl to house its namesake drink. While enjoyed year-round, chilled fruity beverages like the Margarita are most popular in warmer weather. Margarita variations include several flavors, frozen or on the rocks, with a salted rim or no salt.

Use for: Margarita, Daiquiri, or Ready to Drink Margaritas

Martini cocktail glass

Martini Glass

Nothing whispers class like a V-shaped stemmed martini glass. Holding only 3 to 6 ounces, these sophisticated vessels are perfect for sipping shaken cocktails served without ice. The wide surface lifts a cocktail’s aromas up to the nose before each sip, allowing for full enjoyment of the taste. Pro tip: Hold the glass by the stem to avoid warming the drink!

Use for: Martini and variations like the Cosmo and Gimlet

Mug for hot cocktails


Not just for hot beverages, mugs can be used for cold cocktails like the Moscow Mule. Copper mugs with a thin handle are traditional for Mules. Glass mugs make the best presentation for hot cocktails with layered ingredients. Ceramic mugs are great for toddies and allow beverages to stay warm longer.

Use for: Moscow Mule, Hot Toddy, Hot Chocolate with Liqueur or Irish Coffee

Rocks cocktail glass

Rocks / Old Fashioned Glass

Old Fashioned glasses have a wide brim and solid base so that ingredients can be muddled before the main spirits are added. Serve cocktails straight up, over ice or with a splash of water in this tumbler-style glass. Holding 6 to 10 ounces of liquid, this glass can be used to serve a single or double shot of your favorite spirit, especially bourbon or scotch. 

Use for: Negroni, White Russian, Old Fashioned

Shot glasses

Shot Glass

Holding only 1.5 to 2 ounces, shot glasses guarantee that a shot is merely a shot! Don’t fill it all the way to the top or you’ll cause a spill. Beginning in the mid 20th century, some mixed cocktails were served in shot glasses, making the most out of the layering of ingredients.

Use for: A shot of straight spirits or shooters such as the B-52 or Kamikaze.

Snifter for spirits


Holding about 16 ounces, only 2 ounces of spirits are typically poured into these glasses. Gently swirl the liquid while cupping the generous bowl in your hand to warm the beverage and tease out its aromas and flavors. The snifter’s tapered, narrow mouth traps aromas to concentrate them at each sip.

Use for: Brown spirits like brandy, bourbon and cognac

Wine glass

Wine Glass

Wine glasses can be split into three categories: red wine, white wine (also known as tulip glasses) and flute (listed separately above). White wine glasses’ shape helps keeps chilled beverages cold longer. Red wine is typically served in larger glasses so that the larger surface area allows aromas to circulate.

Use for: Red, white, rosé and any other variety of nonsparkling wine

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