Give cocktails the vessels they deserve with these specialty glasses
By Jacey Gibb, Distribution Manager
Like any hobby, purchasing specialty glasses can be an absolute money pit. There’s an astonishing spectrum of costs for cocktail glasses, where a pair of bourbon crystals can run over $40. Fortunately, chain stores like Walmart and IKEA have been getting into the cocktail game and you can purchase single piece of glassware for a measly $3. (Keep in mind that you’re absolutely sacrificing quality here; in most cases, $3 glasses feel like $3 glasses.)
My best advice for those starting out on their cocktail journey: Hit up your favourite thrift shops and see what kind of glasses they have. You can usually find a pair or set for a quarter of what it would cost brand-new, and you don’t have the weighted responsibility of drinking out of glasses that cost a ton.
I’d also recommend only purchasing a pair of each specialty glass. Realistically, in most situations you’ll only need two, and you can easily sub in other glasses if entertaining more than one person. If after a while you continuously find yourself short on a particular glass, then invest in more.
Round, shallow glasses perfect for champagne, but also a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to other cocktails. Some coupe glasses are deceptively small though, so make sure you’re buying one with decent volume or you’ll be restricted in what you can serve in them.
You may already own some of these tall, narrow glasses, which are ideal for mojitos, gin fizzes, and other cocktails with lots of millilitres.
Often used interchangeably with coupes, flutes are tall, slender, and generally reserved for champagne, mimosas, or French 75s. Flutes are essentially a mash-up of coupe and Collins glasses, with the best of both worlds. If you’re limited for space though, I’d recommend only stocking the more versatile coupes.
Also known as rocks or lowball glasses, these are the essential vessel for most traditional cocktails. Old Fashioned glasses also have the greatest variance in terms of flair, with an endless amount of crystal designs and general shapes to choose from.
Wine glasses serve a time and place, whereas stemless goblets are a blank cheque. You could serve almost any cocktail in a stemless goblet and no one would think twice about it, and they’re also great for serving wine, beer, or any other kind of alcohol. Presentation-wise they’re pretty bland though—hence the other glasses on this list.
Similar to flutes, if you’re working with a budget or minimal space in your apartment, absolutely forgo adding martini or margarita glasses to the mix. They’re incredibly niche for what’s served in them, and they take up an exorbitant amount of space on any shelf. Martini glasses are slightly more versatile however, and they have a nice iconic look to them that few other cocktail glasses can offer.
Okay, this is as far from essential as your home bar can get, but if you’re a fan of Moscow Mules then copper mugs are a must-have. They have a killer aesthetic and add a nice colour to any home bar set-up. Copper mugs usually have a hefty price tag though, so shop around and make sure you buy one with a decent capacity (20 to 24 ounces).