Your Guide to Glassware for Your Home Bar
January 29, 2024

So, you’re trying to set up a home bar to impress your guests, but the process is overwhelming. Is there any difference between a highball and a Collins glass? Are martini glasses reasonable? How many different types of wine glasses does one need?

The good news is that buying cocktail glasses doesn’t have to be all that complicated — or expensive. At Angry Otter, we’re here to help you understand all aspects of setting up your at-home bar! To help you find your perfect matches, we took a deep dive into cocktail glassware and put together this guide to get you started!

Shot Glasses

A staple when making any cocktail, the perfect shot glass is in the eye of the beholder. Traditionally, they will have a thicker glass base to help reinforce it and prevent shattering. However, this can make the size deceiving. It is not uncommon for ones with wider bottoms to look bigger but hold the same amount as a smaller glass.

Do keep in mind that there are different sizes for a reason. And although you may want to choose an ounce, those can get messy when making drinks. Many bartenders prefer one-and-a-half as this allows a little room to cheers.

Want an Angry Otter Liquor shot glass? Stop by any of our locations to pick up these exclusive glasses!

Coupe Glasses

Perhaps one of the most common, a coupe glass is by far the most versatile for the creative bartender. On average, they hold about 6 ounces, although if you would prefer to leave a little room in case the person drinking may spill, opt for a larger size of seven or eight ounces. With a wider rim, it allows for a fun rim or garnish.

Coupe glasses are meant to be paired with cocktails shaken or stirred with ice and served chilled. The stem allows the drinker not to heat the cocktail with their hand as they sip.

Nick and Nora Glasses

Nick and Nora glasses are becoming as common in craft-cocktail bars as coupes. The name comes from the fictional characters Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man movies. They are very similar to a coupe glass but slightly smaller. Perfectly fitting three to four ounces, they are best for stirred drinks, while a coupe is better for shaken.

Martini Glasses

Sometimes referred to simply as a cocktail glass, sometimes called a martini glass, a cocktail glass is best for drinks between 3 and 6 ounces, aromatic mixed, strained and served without ice.

Rock Glasses

The rock glass, also known as the old-fashioned glass, is a short tumbler with a thick bottom. Rocks glasses can be found in either single, 6 and 8 ounces or double, holding up to 10 or 12 ounces.

Commonly, a single serves a neat pour of liquor, like whiskey. A double glass is more versatile, ideal for serving a mixed drink or a single pour with a large ice sphere. However, these glasses can also be used for martini-style cocktails chilled; spirituous cocktails served “down,” meaning they’re served chilled but in a glass without a stem.

Highball and Collins Glasses

While they may look the same, there is technically a difference between a highball and Collins glass. While a highball is tall and narrow, a Collins will be taller. That said, for the average at-home bar, they can be used interchangeably.

They tend to be anywhere from eight to sixteen ounces and are versatile. Cocktails are often built directly in this glass by pouring the ingredients over ice and stirring to mix. Despite the large size, the glass is designed to be filled nearly to the top with ice first. This keeps the drink cold. The more ice you add, the longer you have to enjoy the semi-undiluted cocktail.
Highballs also make excellent everyday glasses for soda, juice, iced tea, and other nonalcoholic drinks at home.

Champagne Glasses

Champagne glasses are worth the investment if you enjoy Champagne or bubbly wine. It is often best to purchase these in sets of four or eight as when opening a bottle; it is difficult to store for long.

There are several types of glasses to choose from. The obvious is a Flute, a tall, thin glass with a tapered rim to keep the bubbles longer. Typically, they are designed to hold seven to eleven ounces of Champagne. A Tulip glass has a longer stem and bowl, but the rim flares out instead of in. It will resale the bubbles quicker, but it is better for mixing champagne, like mimosas. Champagne saucers are like coupe glasses and better serve Champagne to large groups.

Wine Glasses

Although there are several types depending on the wine’s variety, every bar should have two basic types. A white wine glass has a taller, narrower bowl that is more open at the rim. A red wine glass has a round bowl with a more tapered rime. While traditionally, both have stems, stemless glasses are becoming more popular.

Although any wine glass is best for wine-based cocktails, those with ice are often best in white wine glasses.

Beer Glasses

Although each beer style has its own glass, like wine, a few basic types can be used interchangeably. A pint glass is a tall, tapered glass with straight sides. Typically holding sixteen ounces, there is enough for a full bottle and foamy head. A pilsner glass is slightly smaller, holding between ten and fourteen ounces. It is exclusively used for pilsners, although often lagers as well. The wider rim allows for a foamy head. If you enjoy ales, ale glasses are worth considering. Not only do they show off the beer’s head and colour, but the round glass shape traps the complex aromas.

Regardless of what you make, the right glasses are based on preferences. It is about elevating the entire experience. Our guide is only meant to be recommendations, not necessary to building your perfect bar.

Of course, once you have the glasses down, don’t forget to check out our complete guide for a full list of essentials

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