35 Different Types of Drinking Glasses & Their Uses
Author: Rick Worst | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
Drinking is not just about the drink in your hand, but also the experience that comes with it. If you want to relish your enjoyment to the fullest, the right types of drinking glasses can make all the difference.
From cocktails to margaritas, drinking is a chasm of many flavors and textures infused together. For each type of premium liquor, there is a particular type of glass with peculiar features to enhance each separate drinks properties.
Some glasses have a narrow mouth to retain the aroma; some have a long stem to prevent the drink from warming up by body temperature. Each glass is designed to make the drink better, and they actually do work.
However, with the wide variety of drinks out there, it can be confusing to keep up with the many available glasses. Here is a list of the different types of drinking glasses for best aesthetics and tastes.
Different Types of Drinking Glasses
Below are 35 options suited for different beverages, locations, and atmospheres. Getting to know them is a part of being a sophisticated party host or bartender. Study well!
You may have seen the flute glass often in movies with champagne pops and exuberant party themes. It is a narrow and slightly tall glass.
It's used for drinks that don't have to be aerated so much; a narrow mouth and slim bowl prevents the frizz from dying down too soon. This glass can be used to enjoy a glass of plain champagne or champagne cocktails as well.
Red wines must be aerated well to enhance the flavor of the drink. As a result, the red wine glass has a full bowl and a wide mouth, fairly typical of most of the types of wine glasses. These features help you show off your wine swirling skills to the best without worrying about spills and stains.
The red wine glass also has a long stem to prevent the hand holding the glass from touching the base of the bowl. This insulates the wine from the heat of your hand. Warm wine is a lot of things but pleasing to taste.
White wines also must be aerated but not as much as red wines. Keeping this in mind, the white wine glass falls somewhere in between the red wine glass and the flute glass.
Its bowl is more comprehensive than that of the flute glass but not as wide as a red wine glass bowl. This feature allows the drink to be aerated without oxidizing it too fast. This way, the white wine’s subtle flavors and tints can be enhanced.
A lowball glass is also called a an Old Fashioned glass. A lowball glass is a short but full glass with a very thick base. The thick base creates a wide surface area and this helps with mixed drinks remaining that way.
The lowball glass is frequently used for having liquor in a “neat” way. This means other liquids are not mixed with the liquor. It is a pure concentrated shot of goodness.
A highball glass is a large and tall glass. It's common to confuse it with the Collins Glass, but this is shorter and wider in its design.
A highball glass is used to serve drinks that are poured over a tower of ice. These drinks have a more substantial non-alcoholic portion than otherwise. A highball glass is used to serve exceedingly popular drinks like Bloody Mary or a Mojito.
A cocktail glass is shaped like an inverted cone. It is a short glass but has a full mouth. This glass is used to serve cocktails, which have fascinating blends and aromas.
The comprehensive mouth feature allows your nose to come as close to the drink as possible. This way, you can enjoy the fragrance and the taste of the cocktail. Some feature long stems but the trend is moving towards stemless glasses.
Martinis used to be served in cocktail glasses or highball glasses. However, as time went on, martinis evolved to include a significant portion of vodka. To suitably cater to this new martini, the martini glass was invented.
It's similar to a cocktail glass as it has the same inverted cone shape. However, the martini glass has a very pointed end to its cone shape and a more giant bowl than that of a pure cocktail glass.
Margaritas are another example of specialty drinks. A margarita glass is similar to a cocktail glass, but its cone narrows into a second much thinner segment at the narrow end, and a margarita glass has a very wide mouth.
These glasses, although especially made for margaritas, are not commonly used now. This is because these unique features do not compliment other drinks well and create more dishwashing work, and thus margaritas are now often served in different glasses such as a lowball glass or a pint glass.
An Irish coffee glass is designed especially for hot drinks. This includes, as the name suggests, an Irish coffee or a hot whiskey (whiskey with honey and warm water).
This glass is made with heat resistant glass, making it a glass that's safe to microwave usually (double check with the manufacturer labels), and its handle is placed strategically at the lower side of the glass. This feature allows you to hold the glass comfortably while you enjoy your hot drink.
The snifter glass is primarily used for amber liquors like whiskey or brandy. A snifter glass has a full bowl so that the drink can be swirled easily. The snifter glass also has a short stem, so the hand holding it can warm the liquid.
Even though the bowl is extensive, it tapers towards the end to form a comparatively narrow mouth. This feature is designed to trap the aroma of the drink. This way, you can conveniently enjoy the intense scent as well as the taste of the liquor.
A whiskey glass is uniquely designed to bring out all the complex flavors whiskey is known for. These are often interchangeable with juice glasses these days.
Whiskey glasses have retained the comprehensive tumbler look of lowball glasses to show the color of the whiskey and the aroma. However, the mouth is tapered to decrease the size, so drinking from it is more comfortable.
A goblet glass is also sometimes called a chalice, though this isn't entirely accurate. These are rather medieval in style and often ornate in design, though they can be had in simple designs as well.
A goblet glass is thick in order to retain the temperature of the drink poured in it. It can be used for hot or cold beverages.
As the name suggests, a Collins glass is used to serve mixed drinks like Tom Collins or John Collins. A Collins glass may look like a highball glass, but it is narrower and taller than a regular highball class.
A Collins glass is cylindrical and can contain around four hundred and ten milliliters of liquid. They're often used to serve an Arnold Palmer (iced tea and vodka), as well.
This glass was invented by Pat O’Brien, a tavern owner in New Orleans in 1940. The drink that he concocted was initially served in a hurricane lamp-shaped glass.
As a result, the drink and its associated glass became known as the hurricane glass. This is curvy glass, which can hold up to twenty ounces of liquid. It is used to serve mixed drinks, especially the Hurricane.
Pint glasses are tall and conical, though some are more cylindrical like the classic pint glass. The tulip glass is also a pint but has a more bulbous body and a very slight outward curve at the lip. They have no stems.
These types of drinking glasses serve three main purposes: they're clear so you can see your beverage, they're broad at the top so you can maintain a foamy head, and they hold exactly one pint of liquid. They're mainly used for beer but are perfect for soda and water as well.
A tumbler is very similar to a pint but may feature non-smooth features about 3/5ths of the way down. These flat ridges make the glasses easier to hold, but are otherwise exactly like pints.
These are typically used at home and at restaurants to serve any kind of drink. Sometimes they're plastic and colored, other times they're glass and clear. They are probably the most common type of drinking glass available.
These are very similar to whiskey glasses in that they're short and not very voluminous. They're in between whiskey glasses and shot glasses in size.
The benefit is that they don't risk tipping over, they hold plenty of liquid for whiskey, and can accommodate ice as well. The larger mouth ensures the drink can be taken in all in one pour into the mouth.
These are designed for serving juice, obviously, like fresh-squeezed orange juice during breakfast. They're about medium height (no more than 5 inches) and not incredibly wide in terms of diameter, which keeps your sugar intake down.
Some restaurants or bars will use these interchangeably with low-ball or rocks glasses, depending on the style they want to project to their customers. As long as they hold the typical 4 to 7 ounces of liquid, nobody seems to care.
These were originally designed to serve a special drink called the Zombie. They have a very upscale and classy appearance thanks to their tall and thin appearance with straight lines and increased opacity as you move to the bottom.
They aren't always frosted, and even when clear their sleek 7 inches of height shows the beauty of the 13.5 ounces of beverage within it. They're taller than most other types of drinking glasses, giving off a special air of uniqueness. You can frost your own glass if you want, too.
Similar to the Zombie, the Sling is also tall and thin but more tapered at the bottom, terminating in a food that is almost equal in diameter to the mouth of the glass. You'll see these used when serving Long Island Ice Tea.
The thin base above the foot make them comfortable to hold and makes your party goers feel classy. Thanks to the wide foot, they are far less likely to be knocked over as well when a table is bumped.
The Poco Grande glass is almost identical to the Hurricane at first glance, but if you sat them next to each other you'd notice that the stem is taller and the bowl has less depth but more width. Otherwise they're the same.
These feminine glasses are the epitome of class. The stems provide insulation from the drinker's hands so the beverage stays colder for longer. They're beautiful for display in a china cabinet or as set pieces when you stage your dining room table.
Imagine taking the Flute glass meant for champagne and squashing the cup portion down vertically. You end up with the Sour, often called the Delmonico glass. These aren't easily found for purchase these days.
As the name describes, these are typically used to serve sour drinks. They capacity is around 5 ounces, as the drink is meant to be sipped slowly or it would be overpowering. If you can't find these, a smaller set of Flute glasses are a perfect alternative.
Nothing brings back fond memories, even if you didn't experience them, of the friendly and colorful diners of the 1950's and 60's than the Milkshake glass. These retro glasses are tall with very deep bowls that accommodate all types of spoons.
The curves are gentle starting about halfway down the glass, terminating in a big and broad foot that has enough weight to help lower the center of gravity. That's needed because milkshakes can be fairly heavy once you add whipped cream and a cherry on top.
If you've ever ordered a Side Car, Aviation, or Martinez, you were likely served it in a Coupe glass. They tend to have very tall and ornate stems on a wide base, with an even wider cup on top. This wide top is also pretty shallow.
They're top heavy with a high center of gravity, so even with the wide foot there is a risk in tipping them over causing a spill. Though, for holding in your hand and walking around greeting your guests, there's hardly a more comfortable glass.
The bowl of a Coupe glass resembles actual types of bowls that you would serve or eat food from.
The Nosing glass has a name specifically referring to the human nose. It's designed to concentrate the delicious aroma of the drink and waft it into your nose as you take a sip. It's a favorite of whiskey drinkers who want a classier feel than glasses without a stem provide.
The base of bowl flares out right above the stem, providing a low center of gravity. It's seated upon a wide foot and a short stem, meaning there's very little risk of them being knocked over.
Cordial glasses are small like a shot glass but of a higher class appearance. They're designed for high diesel drinks, typically layered ones that shine through the clear glass.
The base is usually of a solid color without a foot. The top flares out slightly at the mouth, making for a comfortable drink and easy pour. These after-dinner glasses can really class up your bar or dining room.
These were designed for serving the Grappa drink. This drink is meant to be maintained at a specific temperature and has a wonderful fragrance. That's why this glass has such a long stem and the flare at the mouth.
The middle portion of the glass squeezes in, making a smaller surface area to concentrate the fragrance. It's a uniquely pretty glass, and one of the rare ones where the foot is wider than the mouth, much like the type of glass directly below.
This glass is similar to the Grappa, but have an even longer stem, shorter bowl, and wider foot. The mouth flare is much more prominent as well. They're designed to serve a sweet liquer and to hold less liquid to encourage the drinker to take their time.
Due to the height and flare of the mouth, if these are tipped over you can pretty much guarantee that they will shatter, so take extra care. They're extremely attractive and give off a bit more of a masculine feel.
Shooter glasses are essentially taller shot glasses. They're designed to serve double shots or even triples or smaller amounts of mixed drinks meant to be taken in in one swallow. There's not much more to say about these that the picture can't say that won't be repeated below.
Everyone is familiar with the shot glass. These types of drinking glasses are used to serve shots of whiskey. The mouth often is wider than the base so they can be stacked beneath or above a bar, though some are straight cylinders instead of slightly tapered cones.
Many people collect these and they've been come to be sold as souvenirs all over the world. People have display cupboards just for this purpose, though my mom prefers collector's spoons and charm bracelets.
A tankard is meant to serve beer. Unlike the stein, it doesn't feature a lid and is cylindrical and clear. It features a prominent handle to lift the large amount of drink. The walls are extra thick to serve as insulation to keep the drink ice cold.
There is also a stein, which is basically an ornate tankard that has a lid you can flip up with your thumb as you hold it by the handle. You'll find the tankard at nearly any restaurant that serves large beers.
Looking at the Thistle, you may wonder how it's any different than a Tulip, but these are designed to drink beers instead of wine. The only real difference is a bit more of a curve as it extends up to the mouth.
These are meant for drinks like Scottish ales rather than a beer like a porter, lager, or pilsner. As usual, the design is supposed to concentrate the smell for the drinker.
In my opinion, these are the coolest looking glasses ever made. The Pokal can be used to serve any kind of drink but you'd be surprised to find they're used for high-gravity beer.
The wider bottom of the bowl and thinner mouth gives off a masculine feel even though it sits on a stem with a dainty foot. These are just incredibly enjoyable for anyone and work for any dinner party.
The Pilsner glass is designed for (gasp) drinking a pilsner beer. They're similar to pint glasses but feature curves as the glass tapers down to the base. There's also the Footed Pilsner that tapers more strongly and terminates at a wide foot.
The more conical shape of the pilsner over the pint allows for easier gripping and helps keep your drink's carbonation intact for longer. As long as you drink a lighter beer from it, you'll enjoy the experience.
The Weizenbier is close to a Pilsner except it opens up at the base more and has a wider portion just before the mouth opens up at about the same diameter as the base. They're often a bit taller than a pint glass.
These feature straight lines despite the several angles built into them. Usually a sliced orange or lime will be placed on the lip, where the liquid and the head will absorb some of the flavor of the fruit.
A chalice is similar to a goblet glass but shorter and broader at the most extreme width. They have a short stem and sit atop a medium width foot. The glass is typically thin and clear so you can see the dark beer it's meant for, like a stout or porter.
You'll often be served a nicer, high-gravity beer in these, usually ones with a very thin head. Though it's not easy to tip over, be careful because they're likely to break if they're made of glass due to the thin sides.
Sake glasses come in a set. There's one taller glass meant to hold the drink, with four smaller cups that are similar in size to a shot glass. You're meant to pour for your friends (and allow them to pour for you), a small amount at a time.
Cleaning & Storing of Drinking Glasses
While most types of dishwashers are a lifesaver (some just make things worse) when it comes to cleaning a tall pile of plates, they are not helpful with glassware. Drinking glasses should always be gently washed by hand and rinsed thoroughly to remove any soap residues and cloudy substances.
Glasses should always be kept or hung upside down. This prevents particular top-heavy glasses like margarita glasses from being knocked over. This also prevents any dry watermarks or the collection of dust in the bowl of the glass.
Drinking glasses are aesthetically pleasing to look at; if you want to display your drinking glasses, dust them regularly. Another tip for storing glasses is to store them in appropriate racks.
Racks are made, especially according to the glasses' width to store them securely, so not all types of drinking glasses can be placed in one rack.
And Those are the Types of Drinking Glasses
Now hosting a party should not be so intimidating. Having the right type of glass for all of the different types of drinks can enhance the drinking experience by far. Each glass is uniquely designed to highlight the strong features of the drink.
You can best enjoy your liquor fanaticism without compromising on the aesthetics. The design of the drinking glass does not only cater to this aspect of the drinking experience, but also must be comfortable for use.
There are plenty of glasses available. Ultimately, it all comes down to the type of drink you are having that will lead you to pick a certain type of glass. Remember, picking the wrong glass can really mar the drinking experience (or your reputation), so choose correctly.
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