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Serving in Style
Every good home bar will have a good selection of drinks and mixers, but those flavors can only shine when used in the right glass. After all, you’ll have an entirely different experience if you gulp a port wine out of a beer stein than you would in a port wine glass.
Not only that but having generic glasses for water and other non-alcoholic beverages is the best way to cater to all of your guests. With alcoholic beverages, in particular, glasses are designed and sized in specific ways to maximize the flavor profile of a particular drink. It’s always best to have a variety of glasses to best enjoy your beverage options.
This guide will cover the most commonly stocked glasses for any home bar. We’ll also give you helpful tips on which drinks pair best with certain glasses.
Water glasses come in just about every shape and size. Most standard-sized water glasses will hold eight fluid ounces. With that said, you may want to opt for a set of drinking glasses that come in varying sizes. This way, guests can feel less pressure when deciding how much they want to drink. Additionally, different sizes of drinking glasses can cater to different non-alcoholic beverages. For example, you may want a six fluid ounce cup for water but an eight or 12 fluid ounce cup for a smoothie.
In addition to standard drinking glasses, you’ll want drink-specific bar glasses for your favorite boozy beverages. For cocktails, in particular, there are a few different glasses that work for specific drinks. While you don’t necessarily need to stock every single one of these glasses in your home bar, it’s helpful to know which ones you may use the most.
These stemmed glasses are notably known for the broad and shallow drink saucer. Coupe glasses are best used with cold shaken drinks served without ice. To help prevent your drink from warming up too quickly, hold the stem of the glass. Carbonated beverages aren’t ideal in this glass as the carbonated bubbles can escape easily and cause your drink to fall flat. Several drinks are best served in a coupe glass. Among those beverages are daiquiris, frozen margaritas, and pornstar martinis, to name a few.
Martini glasses are also commonly referred to as “cocktail glasses.” However, martini glasses are a specific subtype of a larger family of cocktail glasses. These glasses are easily distinguishable by their long stem, circular base, and v-shaped cup. Like other cocktail glasses, you’re meant to hold the stem to avoid prematurely warming your drink. The best drinks to serve in a martini glass are any martini recipe, cosmopolitans, and sidecars.
Tiki glasses, or hurricane glasses, commonly serve tropical drinks. This glass gets the name hurricane as it’s shaped like a hurricane lamp. Its other name, tiki, comes from this glass being used for tropical drinks. The glass is tall and curved and is best for frozen beverages as it holds a large amount of fluid at 20 fl oz. The best drinks for tiki glasses are Pina Coladas, hurricanes, and blue Hawaii, to name a few.
Highball glasses are tall and thin glasses that are commonly used for a variety of cocktails. These glasses are typically used for drinks served on the rocks and get their name from their original use: to serve highball drinks. The best drinks to make in a highball glass are mojitos, gin and tonic, and long island iced teas.
Another essential home bar glass comes in the form of mugs. Some drinks are best served in a mug, though you may not always think about it. While we commonly attribute the use of mugs to drinking coffee, tea, or other hot drinks, several alcoholic beverages are best in a mug. Mugs shouldn’t be skipped over when stocking your home bar from Moscow Mules to a good stout beer.
Copper mugs are ideal for drinks best served cold. Because of the composition of copper, the mug takes on the temperature of the drink it holds. If you pour a cold beverage into the mug and some ice, the mug will instantly take on the same temperature as your drink. Therefore, the drink stays cool for longer. These mugs can easily be distinguished by their copper color. Mint juleps and Moscow mules are best served in copper mugs and cups.
Frosty mugs are large glass mugs meant to be used with beer and other chilled spirits. It’s recommended to frost a frosty mug by sticking it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it. This process is referred to as sublimation and is common practice for beer drinkers who like a frosty taste.
Beer mugs are essentially standard-sized glasses with a handle attached to the side. Additionally, the glass walls are usually thicker than other drinking glasses to help insulate your beverage and keep it cool for longer. Beer mugs can have wide or narrow openings. The opening of your mug dictates how your beer will taste. For example, a wider berth allows the foam to remain and exposes you to the full flavor profile. However, a more narrow berth traps in the beer’s carbonation for drinkers who prefer that texture.
In addition to beer mugs and frosty mugs, other glasses are commonly used for beer drinking. In fact, some beer brands also sell specific glasses that allow you to enjoy their brews to the fullest. Let’s take a second to cover the best glasses for beer drinkers to add to their home bar.
Beer growlers are containers meant to hold and transport beer. The growler is an air-tight container commonly made out of glass, ceramic, or stainless steel materials and gives you the ability to enjoy your beer from place to place without compromising the quality of the brew. Some commercial bars may offer growlers of their unique brews for you to take and store at home for later enjoyment.
Beer steins are the OG of beer glasses and mugs. In fact, beer has been enjoyed out of beer steins for centuries. Steins can be easily distinguished from other beer mugs by the lid that comes with them. The lid’s original function was to keep beer uncontaminated during the plague. However, today’s use is geared more toward keeping out bugs and other unwanted pests from getting into your drink.
Pilsner glasses are tall beer glasses that are narrow at the base and slightly wider toward the top. These glasses are generally meant to be used for lighter beers and hold slightly less than a pint’s worth of brew. The slim design of the glass is meant to allow the drinker to admire the colors and carbonation of the beer without compromising the foam head at the top of the brew.
The Stella Artois chalice is a beer glass meant to be enjoyed by this beer company’s Belgian beer. The chalice has a narrow lip meant to capture a Stella Artois beer’s fruity and Earthy scent. The tulip shape and unique angles of the glass also help enhance the aroma and release the carbonation from the brew. The chalice stem is designed to help hold the heat from your hand rather than the heat reaching your beer.
Wine glasses are certainly a must of all the glasses necessary for a well-stocked home bar. There are a plethora of wines available that cater to just about anyone’s taste, so it’s the perfect universal drink to have on hand. With that said, several different glasses work with specific wine types, and it’s important to get it right. Doing so will greatly enhance the taste and experience of drinking your wine.
Champagne flutes are unique glasses in that they look like a wine glass that was squeezed. Champagne flutes can come with or without a stem but will always have a long and narrow cup to hold your drink. The narrow bowls are meant to hold in the carbonation that comes from champagne and have several uses beyond a simple champagne toast. Some other great drinks to serve in champagne flutes are mimosas, bellinis, and other brunch cocktails.
Stemless wine glasses are also often referred to as wine tumblers. These wine glasses have the same cup shape as a standard wine class but lack the stem and base a typical wine glass comes with. Stemless glasses are excellent for use with wine, liquor, or a non-alcoholic option. However, it’s important to note that the lack of stem means your drink won’t stay cool for long.
White wine glasses generally have a smaller cup and have a less defined “U” shape. The curvature of the cup is more minimal when compared to its red wine counterpart. This specific design is meant to give the wine enough room to breathe while also helping to maintain the cool temperature a white wine needs to be at its best. There are two different kinds of white wine glasses: glasses for high acidity and glasses for full body.
High-acidity white wine glasses are smaller and more narrow than others, and full-body white wine glasses are bigger with a wider opening. However, full-body white wine glasses are still smaller and more narrow than red wine glasses.
Red wine glasses are bigger and have a wider opening than white wine glasses. The wider opening of red wine glasses gives the drinker a better visual of the color and viscosity as it swirls around the glass. Red wine glasses also have shorter stems than their white wine counterparts. There are three kinds of red wine glasses: Bordeaux glasses, medium-body glasses, and burgundy glasses.
Bordeaux glasses are the biggest of the three and are meant to create a large amount of space between the glass and your nose. Medium-body glasses are slightly smaller, which softens the flavor and stifles some of the aromas of the wine. Burgundy glasses are ideal for light wines.
Port wine glasses are best used with dessert wines after a meal. These wine glasses are the smallest of the wine glass family and are designed to showcase the complex flavors of the wine you’re drinking. The small bowl and rim help keep the aroma and flavors within the cup and give the drinker an optimal drinking experience. These glasses also typically come stemmed to help prevent natural heat from your hand heating your drink.
Carafes can hold just about any drink, but they’re most commonly used for water, coffee, and wine. When talking of wine, specifically, a carafe is generally used to aerate wines that need to breathe before being enjoyed by a group of people. Carafes can also be used as a decanter to help separate old wine from any sediment buildup that accumulates with time.
If you’d rather have hard liquor over anything else, there are also specific glasses to bear in mind for your home bar. Whether you’re looking for something to hold shots or you want a good Scotch, the shape and size of your glass will make all the difference in the world with the taste of your drink.
Whiskey glasses are shaped the way they are in order to enhance and optimize your full whiskey-drinking experience. There are six different glasses used for whiskey, and each one is used for a different reason. Tulip-shaped whiskey glasses are best used for sampling whiskey and getting the full sensory experience. Glencairn glasses are similar to tulip-shaped glasses, but Glencairn glasses are thicker and have a shorter stem.
Whiskey tumblers are best for enjoying whiskey on the rocks or whipping up a good old-fashioned. The highball glass, as mentioned earlier, is best for making cocktails, while the snifter is better for a wide-bodied experience. Lastly, the NEAT whiskey glass has a unique design that helps stifle the aroma of strong whiskey.
Shot glasses come in several different sizes and are designed to help drinkers consume more alcohol content in less time. The high concentration of alcohol makes shots much stronger than full glasses and is also used to measure out the alcohol for mixed drinks. The exact number of ounces in a shot glass varies, but the unspoken standard is generally between 1-2 ounces of alcohol.
For drinkers who like to enjoy more than just a shot of tequila, tequila glasses are a good option to consider. These glasses look very similar to white wine glasses but are slightly bigger and have a wider middle. When using these glasses for tequila, many tequila drinkers will line the rim with salt before enjoying their drink. You may also use this glass to make a margarita or another tequila cocktail.
Scotch glasses are commonly referred to as old-fashioned glasses as scotch is often used in making old-fashioneds. They’re also very similar to whiskey tumblers as both liquors are used in a number of drinks. Scotch glasses usually have a short and wide brim with a thick base. In some cases, you may also hear people refer to scotch glasses as “lowball” glasses.
Snifter glasses are short with a wide brim and are commonly used to serve Brandy. It looks very similar to a wine glass but has a squattier look with a large bowl and low gravity center. This type of glass is commonly used in various drinks, but you’ll most often see it used with brandy, cognac, and other heavy wines. Brandy snifters are designed specifically to concentrate aromas and aid in aroma evaporation. Some common cocktails best served in brandy snifters are burning berry, plum blazer, and sacred cenote, to name a few.
Mason jars are commonly used to bottle and preserve a variety of alcoholic beverages, including gin and whiskey. Because they offer an airtight seal, you eliminate any worry of the drink losing its aroma and flavor notes. When storing alcohol in mason jars, it’s best to do so in a cool and dark storage area to prevent light exposure. In addition to storing your alcohol in mason jars, they also make excellent serving vessels for mixed drinks.
When stocking your home bar, you may want to consider installing a glass rinser. Glass rinsers make rinsing out glasses much easier and less time-consuming. After a long night of entertaining guests, the last thing you want is to let half-finished drinks fester in your sink for the next few days.
Not only will they make things more convenient, but they’re also relatively simple to install without the need to hire a professional. Glass rinsers are also beneficial if you’re hosting people and plan to offer a four-course meal, complete with wine pairings. This way, you can adequately rinse out your guests’ wine glasses before offering them the next tasting.
Making sure the wine glass is properly rinsed is integral in ensuring you don’t compromise the taste of subsequent wines. Glass rinsers achieve this by shooting a strong jet stream of water throughout the glass without causing any cracks or breaks.
Glass rinsers are typically installed right within your home bar sink. To install a glass rinser, you’ll need to have a sink and proper plumbing already installed within your home bar. Most glass rinsers can be retrofitted right onto your sink by attaching the rinser to either your hot or cold water line.
While it’s relatively straightforward when it comes to glass rinser installation, you should always consult with a professional if you aren’t confident. A professional installation is also a good idea if you don’t have an existing water line within your home bar. This way, you don’t risk messing up your home bar, and you can be sure the job gets done correctly the first time around.
No home bar is complete without a good variety of drinking glasses and a glass rinser at the ready. Keeping a variety of different glasses is important to cater to all of your guests’ needs. However, you can usually get by with a few different wine glasses, beer mugs, and scotch glasses just fine.
Regardless of your preferred drink, a well-stocked home bar with all the right drinkware will make you the go-to place for entertaining.