Whether you’re always mixing new drinks or enjoy a whiskey on the rocks, having the right cocktail glasses on hand can help to elevate your drinking experience and make you feel like you’re enjoying a nice cocktail at a fancy bar even if you’re sitting on the couch in your sweatpants. As for what types of cocktail glasses to stock your home bar with, that’s up to you. Max Stampa-Brown, partner at Den Hospitality and beverage director at The Garret Bars in New York City, recommends thinking about what you’ll be serving most frequently. “Glassware can be pricey, so choosing carefully based on the vessels that will best amplify what you’re serving is a smart approach to take,” he says. “If you plan to make a lot of margaritas, then maybe invest in a great set of margarita glasses and forgo the martini glasses (or find a more affordable set). The concept of essential glassware is subjective; your essentials might be different than your neighbor’s, and that’s okay!”
In addition to the types of drinks you’ll be enjoying, investing in glassware that reflects your personality is also important. “Whether it’s a set of petite coupe glasses, tiny vintage martini glasses sourced from an estate sale, or modern, cutting-edge styles, think of glassware as a way to express yourself,” Stampa-Brown says. “There are no wrong choices, and the best glassware is whatever set that you feel proud of showing off to your friends.”
While some glassware is named for the cocktails typically served in those drinking vessels, that doesn’t mean that you can only serve that cocktail in that particular glass—or that you even need that specific glass to enjoy that cocktail, though the shape and capacity of different cocktail glasses are optimized for specific types of drinks. “Although tradition has always been the underlying factor with glassware or cocktail choice, in the privacy of your own home, you can put whatever you want in whichever glass you choose, but keep in mind the volume of the cocktail and the capacity of the glass,” Ian Bishop, portfolio manager at Flavors of Italy in Honolulu, Hawaii, says. He adds that a tall, narrow collins or highball glass, for example, is designed to keep carbonated cocktails from losing their fizz.
These colorful coupe glasses are hand-blown by Polish artisans and are the perfect vessel for both Champagne and cocktails. They come from a company based in Charleston, South-Carolina, whose founder who grew up seeing colorful glasses at the Sunday dinner table because her grandmother collected them from antique shops. Each glass has a capacity of 7.25 ounces and you’ll want to hand wash them.
Shop Now: Hand-Blown Colored Cocktail Coupe Glasses, $195 for six, food52.com.
Part of Riedel’s Extreme collection (named for the extreme contours of each glass), this diamond-shaped martini glass has an understated elegance. Each glass holds eight fluid ounces and is dishwasher-safe, a convenient feature as cleaning glassware after a few martinis can be a risky endeavor.
Shop Now: Riedel Extreme Martini Glass, $49 for two, amazon.com.
Best Old Fashioned
For your cocktails, whiskey, and other types of liquor on the rocks, these stylish, yet sturdy, glasses are a solid option. They’re part of a glassware collection named after a charming Scottish town on the island of Orkney. Each glass has a capacity of 13.5 ounces and is dishwasher-safe.
Shop Now: Schott Zwiesel KirkwalI Double Old Fashioned Rocks Glass, $40 for two, surlatable.com.
Serve up mojitos, gin and tonics, and other iced cocktails in these sparkling crystal highball glasses. Produced at a Slovenian glassworks that’s been around since 1927, these glasses are accented with hand-cut fluting. Each glass holds up to 13.9 ounces of liquid and hand washing is recommended.
Shop Now: Dorset Crystal Highball Glasses, $119.95 for four, williams-sonoma.com.
While definitely heavier than your average cocktail glass (it’s made of copper-plated brass, after all), this copper pineapple is an absolute showstopper and sure to be a conversation piece when guests are over. Absolut Elyx’s copper drinking vessels are a nod to the fact that the luxury vodka is manually distilled in a vintage copper still. When you’re not using it, the copper pineapple makes for a stunning statement piece on a bar cart or even a bookshelf. Each pineapple weighs 2.4 pounds and can hold 27 fluid ounces.
Shop Now: Absolut Elyx Copper Pineapple, $99, absolutelyxboutique.com.
Best Moscow Mule Mug
We’re digging the vintage vibes of these Moscow mule mugs, which look like they came straight from a fairy-tale tablescape. They’re made of a heavy-gauge copper which keeps drinks cool, are tin-lined, and the elaborate brass handles are hand-shaved. The mugs have an 18-ounce capacity and must be hand washed and dried thoroughly.
Shop Now: Vintage-Inspired Copper Moscow Mule Mugs, $165 for four, food52.com.
Best for Foamy Cocktails
Part of Riedel’s Drink Specific Glassware, a collection of functional glasses optimized for seven classic cocktails, this glass has tall parallel sides which create the perfect conditions for foam-topped cocktails like a gin sour. Each glass holds up to nine fluid ounces and is dishwasher-safe.
Shop Now: Riedel Drink Specific Glassware Fizz Cocktail Glass, $33 for two, amazon.com.
These crinkle-cut glasses by an Italian maker have a unique texture, and the light-reflecting facets add an extra layer of dimension to your cocktails. They’re made of durable glass that the company claims is highly resistant to breakage and chipping. The cooler glass holds 15.75 fluid ounces while the rocks glass holds 11.25 fluid ounces, but both are dishwasher-safe.
Shop Now: Bormioli Rocco Cassiopea Bar Glasses, $33 for six, westelm.com.