Types of Cocktail Glasses: The Beginner's Guide

Types of Cocktail Glasses: The Beginner's Guide

The Beginner's Guide to Cocktail Glasses: Becoming a Savvy Home Bartender

Hello budding mixologists! Diving into the world of cocktails can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. A crucial aspect of cocktail making, which is often overlooked, is the right choice of glass. The shape and size of a glass can influence the drink's temperature, aroma, and even its taste. In this post, we'll embark on a journey to explore the various glasses you might come across in your cocktail-making adventures. Let's get started!

Highball Glass

  • Shape and Dimensions: Tall and straight-sided. Capacity: Typically 8-12 ounces.
  • Cocktails: Gin and tonic, Bloody Mary, Mojito.
  • Description: The elegant skyscraper of the cocktail world. Holding a Highball glass feels like you're gripping a piece of the city skyline, standing tall with a sense of purpose. Its towering stature is perfect for drinks that are built, layer by layer, showcasing the harmonious dance of flavors within.

Lowball (or Old Fashioned) Glass

  • Shape and Dimensions: Short, with a wide brim. Capacity: Typically 6-8 ounces.
  • Cocktails: Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour, Negroni.
  • Description: Sturdy, dependable, and brimming with character, the Lowball is the best friend every bartender needs. It's got a weighted feel, like an anchor grounding you to cherished traditions, setting the stage for cocktails that are a nostalgic ode to simpler times.

Martini (or Cocktail) Glass

  • Shape and Dimensions: Wide, shallow bowl with a long stem. Capacity: 4-6 ounces.
  • Cocktails: Martini, Cosmopolitan, Manhattan (though traditionally in a coupe).
  • Description: A symbol of sophistication, the Martini glass speaks of whispered secrets, jazz tunes, and the unmistakable buzz of a 1920s speakeasy. Holding it, you’re not just sipping a cocktail; you're embracing a legacy of elegance and flair.

Coupe Glass

  • Shape and Dimensions: Short stem with a wide, shallow bowl. Capacity: 4-8 ounces.
  • Cocktails: Daiquiris, Manhattans, Sidecars.
  • Description: With its vintage charm, the Coupe feels like a treasured heirloom, a delicate reminder of old-world glamour. It harkens back to the Roaring Twenties, to parties filled with laughter, the clinking of glasses, and the promise of romance.

Collins Glass

  • Shape and Dimensions: Similar to a highball but taller. Capacity: 12-16 ounces.
  • Cocktails: Tom Collins, Fizz cocktails, Paloma.
  • Description: Lean and graceful, the Collins glass is like the ballet dancer of the cocktail world. Perfectly poised to let long, refreshing drinks stretch out and pirouette on your palate, offering a performance you won’t soon forget.

Margarita Glass

  • Shape and Dimensions: Wide-brimmed bowl with a long stem, resembles an upside-down sombrero. Capacity: 6-12 ounces.
  • Cocktails: Margaritas.
  • Description: Every time you hold a Margarita glass, it's an invitation to a fiesta! Its festive form promises a drink that's both vivacious and vivifying, echoing the vibrant spirit of Latin celebrations, complete with rhythmic beats and joyous dances.

Nick & Nora Glass

  • Shape and Dimensions: Like a smaller version of the martini glass but more rounded. Capacity: 4-6 ounces.
  • Cocktails: Classic martinis, certain daiquiris, and other stirred or shaken cocktails.
  • Description: Delicate, yet full of mystery. This glass is reminiscent of classic detective tales, where every sip could lead to a clue, every glance could hide a secret. It’s an homage to an era where every cocktail told a story.

Hurricane Glass

  • Shape and Dimensions: Tall, curvy, often resembling a hurricane lamp. Capacity: 15-20 ounces.
  • Cocktails: Hurricane, Piña Colada, Blue Hawaii.
  • Description: A glass that guarantees an adventure, the Hurricane beckons you to tropical shores. With its curves reminiscent of distant horizons and exotic breezes, you’re instantly transported to a beachside cabana, with the lullaby of waves in the background.


  • Shape and Dimensions: Short stem with a wide bottom and narrowing top. Capacity: 6-25 ounces.
  • Cocktails: Used primarily for sipping spirits like brandy, cognac, and certain aged rums.
  • Description: The library of the spirits world. When you hold a Snifter, you're cradling centuries of craftsmanship, tradition, and passion. It's an experience akin to diving into a gripping novel, where each aroma and note tells a chapter of its rich history.


  • Shape and Dimensions: Tall, narrow bowl with a long stem. Capacity: 6-7 ounces.
  • Cocktails: Champagne cocktails, Kir Royale, Bellini.
  • Description: The celebratory anthem in glass form. Elegant and effervescent, the Flute is all about marking moments, from gentle beginnings to grand crescendos. It’s like holding a stringed instrument, and with each sip, you hear a harmonious note of celebration.

Choosing the right glass is more than just a functional decision; it’s about setting the mood, evoking emotions, and truly celebrating the essence of every cocktail. So, the next time you raise your glass, remember the story it tells and the emotions it stirs. Cheers to the poetry in every pour! 🍸🍹🥂🥃