The Must-Haves and Must-Do in Bar Glassware

The glass matters as much as the drink – and it’s so true in cocktails! You should ideally pour a shot of Chivas Regal whiskey, for example, into an old-fashioned glass, especially when it’s served on the rocks. You will then be able to enjoy it more than when, say, it’s poured into a wine glass.

Here, we will discuss the must-have glasses that should be in your bar and the must-do when buying and strong them. Keep in mind that your collection of bar glassware should be in accordance with your preferred drinks.

Must-have Glassware

Building a bar, especially in your home, requires careful thought because of the investments in time, effort and money involved. Stocking your bar obviously starts with choosing the glassware and we suggest the following types for starters.

Cocktail glasses

Also known as the martini glass, the cocktail glass has a conical shape that makes it the best glass for martinis. While there are stem-less cocktail glasses that can also be used for martinis, the traditional stem glasses are still preferred because the stem has a purpose. You can hold the glass without warming your drink (i.e., body heat from your hands), an essential aspect in keeping non-iced beverages as cold as possible for a longer period.

Cocktail glasses are used for drinks served “up” without ice, such as classic cocktails, martinis, and short drinks, usually between 3 and 6 ounces. These come in several styles, too, such as painted and frosted, as well as sizes including a jumbo 10-ounce glass; it’s overkill, if you ask us. But if you’re choosing cocktail glasses, stick to the 6-ounce glass since it can accommodate a 4-ounce drink while still giving splash room.

Highball and Collins glasses

These glasses have similar characteristics, such as their capacity ranging between 8 and 16 ounces. But there are also differences – the highball is stouter with a top capacity of 10 ounces while a Collins is narrower and taller (i.e., chimney-shaped). Both types of glasses can be used interchangeably although many connoisseurs prefer the high-ball glass.

Both glasses are also suitable for tall drinks, also known as highballs, which are usually filled with more ice cubes than short drinks. Highballs are likely to be built on the glass – ice is placed first inside the glass, the ingredients for the drink are poured next, and the mixture is stirred. A good example is a shot of liquor with either a fruit juice or soda; other examples include Bloody Mary, Zombie, Tom Collins, Long Island Iced tea, and Harvey Wallbanger.

Old-fashioned glasses

These are short tumblers that are also known as rocks glasses and lowballs. These are usually used for on the rocks drinks, or short mixed drinks served with ice, such as the Old-fashioned, Rusty Nail, and White Russian.

These are available in varying sizes from 6 to 8 ounces, as well as double old-fashioned glasses with a capacity between 10 and 12 ounces. The smaller versions are used for serving dark spirits, such as whiskey, either straight or in neat pour style. The larger version is suitable for a straight pour of liquor either with an ice ball or a single large ice cube, as well as for mixed drinks.

These are the must-have glasses for a bar but you can also add wine and beer glasses, if you’re into these drinks, too. But if you’re into cocktails and mixed drinks, then you should have at least half a dozen of these glasses on stock.

Must-do for These Glasses

With dozens upon dozens of bar glassware, it’s so much fun just looking at them! But of course, you have to choose the right ones for your bar and here are tips for doing so.

  • Consider the types of drinks that you’re likely to make and serve. You may have more highballs, for example, than cocktail glasses if you’re into highball drinks.
  • Think about the overall style of your bar and take it into consideration with your choice in glasses. You may want to look for interesting design details, such as crystalline-like patterns.
  • Go for thicker glasses, when necessary, since these are likely to be more durable. You don’t want the stem of a margarita glass, for example, to break off while you’re holding it.

And remember that you’re making an investment, of sorts, in bar glassware so go for quality even when it means paying a bit more.

Don’t forget to take good care of your bar glassware, too, with these tips.

  • Be careful when washing the glasses by hand.
  • Rinse the glasses thoroughly since soap can leave unsightly residues on the surface.
  • Dry the glasses immediately so that water spots won’t develop. Don’t place them while still wet on a glass rack or cupboard; otherwise, mold can develop.

When you take good care of your bar glassware, you will find that drinking your favorite alcoholic beverage becomes more enjoyable. You don’t only feel sophisticated but also get the best flavors from your drink, whatever that may be.

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