9 Types of Drinking Glasses Every Bar Needs

Once you’ve stocked up on booze for your home bar, make sure you’ve got the right glassware.

By Rachel Baron
Nov 21, 2022
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Drinking glasses can seem pretty interchangeable. Why buy different glasses for red and white wine, for example, when they both serve essentially the same purpose? Are beer glasses really so different from water glasses, and do you really need different glasses for a mojito and a martini?

The truth is, while you could technically use any glass for any beverage, some glasses really are designed for you to get the maximum enjoyment out of your drink. To get you started, here’s our guide to the most common types of drinking glasses and what drinks they’re best suited for.

What are the Different Types of Drinking Glasses?

Depending on how your drink is served—chilled, room temperature, or on the rocks—the size and shape of your glass does matter.

1. Cocktail or Martini Glass

If you order any “up” (without ice) drink, like a martini or Manhattan, chances are it’ll come in a delicate, V-shaped martini glass or similar-looking cocktail glass. While there are some minor differences in size and shape between the two, you can easily swap one out for the other.

Best for: Martini, Manhattan, or almost any drink that’s served up.

2. Highball and Collins Glass

Highball and Collins glasses are both “chimney-style” glasses, meaning they’re both tall and skinny, perfect for sipping gin and tonics or other drinks served over ice. The main difference between these two is height: Collins glasses are usually taller, and can hold a couple of ounces more than a highball glass. For home use, feel free to buy one or the other and use them interchangeably.

Best for: Drinks best served over ice, like gin and tonics, gimlets, and mojitos.

3. Rocks Glass

Rocks glasses are squat, wide-brimmed glasses that hold anywhere from 6 to 14 ounces, depending on whether it’s meant for a double- or single-shot drink. The more spacious design is ideal for drinks like old-fashioneds, which are built in the glass—i.e., stirred, not shaken—and which often involve muddling ingredients like citrus peels. Rocks glasses are also commonly called lowball or old-fashioned glasses.

Best for: Water or classic on the rocks cocktails, like Negronis

4. White Wine Glass

Because white wines are usually best enjoyed chilled, glasses designed for serving white wine are usually smaller with a narrower brim to preserve the temperature, and to hold onto their delicate aromas. They typically also have a longer stem, which helps prevent heat being transferred from your hand to the glass.

Best for: White wines and sparkling wine, as well as chilled red wines.

5. Red Wine Glass

With their gutsier, more robust flavors and aromas, red wines generally need more ample space to “breathe,” or aerate, in order to smooth out the wine’s tannins—compounds that make wine taste bitter or astringent—and help the flavors and and aromas reach their full potential. To allow for this, Red Wine Glasses usually have wider brims and bowls than White Wine Glasses.

Best for: Red wines, beer, and cocktails.

6. Champagne Glass

The traditional glass for serving champagne is a flute, which is a tall stemmed glass with a narrow brim to preserve the gentle carbonation. While flutes are lovely to look at and hold, we actually prefer the more rounded Coupe Glass—with their wider brims, they help open up the aromas of sparkling wines like champagne, and also work beautifully for an elevated cocktail experience.

Best for: Champagne or cocktails like the Royal Daiquiri or classic Manhattan

7. Beer Glass

While you’re probably used to seeing beer in a mug or pint glass, there are actually a number of different beer glass styles. Aside from these classic styles, you have your pick of styles like tulip, which works best with ales and hoppy, malty beers; pilsner, which is great for pilsners, lagers, and other light beers; and our personal favorite, the tulip-like teku glass, which works for almost any beer.

Best for: Any kind of beer, water, or iced tea.

8. Drinking Glass

Typically around 15 ounces in size, drinking glasses are a perfect everyday glass everyone should keep on hand for everything from water to smoothies. They’re even great for sipping cocktails from.

Best for: Water, cocktails, and smoothies.

9. Shot Glass

Whether you’re throwing back shots of Patrón or measuring out vermouth for your Negroni (or Negroni Sbagliato), the shot glass is a handy addition to your home bar. If you’re using it for making cocktails, make sure you know how many ounces it holds: shot glass sizes range in size from 1.25 to 1.5 ounces.

Best for: Shots and shooters, as well as measuring hard liquor.

Ready to Shop?

Now that you know the difference between a Coupe and a Highball glass, you can start building out your home bar with the perfect glassware for your lifestyle. Like we said, feel free to experiment: we love sipping cocktails like Manhattans out of our regular drinking glasses, and water from our wine glasses.

To get started, check out our Glassware Set, which includes three super-versatile drinking glass styles—all perfect for your Thanksgiving cocktail, wine, or digestif.