Learn / Types of Cocktail Glasses & When To Use Them

June 20th, 2023

Types of Cocktail Glasses & When To Use Them

In the artful world of mixology, glassware is as fundamental as the ingredients poured within them. These vessels do more than simply contain; they amplify, they celebrate, and they invite contemplation. Each glass tells its own story through its design and the whispers of the liquid it cradles.

Understanding the different types of cocktail glasses and their proper usage is not merely about knowledge acquisition. It is akin to unlocking a secret garden of sensory delights, an enhanced appreciation of every sip. Each glass type is an unspoken invitation to a different shared moment, an intimate conversation, a toast of triumph at a lively party, or a quiet, introspective evening.

The Beauty of Glassware in Mixology

Like magical mirrors, cocktail glasses reflect the very essence of the drink they hold, each designed with a purpose that transcends aesthetics.

The curves and lines are not just shapes but decisions rooted in the philosophy of taste and presentation. They influence the temperature, the aroma, and the flavor of our elixir. They can even influence how much we drink; they touch upon wellness and the enriching facets of botanicals and spirits.

Selecting the right glass for a drink is a ritual steeped in tradition and functional wisdom. Think of the robust roundness of an old-fashioned glass, designed to spotlight the robustness of its contents. The elegant height of a highball glass, crafted to celebrate the effervescence of a fizzy mixer. The inviting breadth of a margarita glass, an open blossom designed to enhance the taste of salt on the rim.

Each glass type lends itself to a distinct sensory exploration, thereby transforming the act of drinking into a deeply personal experience. The clink of glasses at a lively party, the shared silence of intimate conversations, the moments of solitude where one finds peace — these are amplified, made more magical, by the choice of glassware.

This exploration of the beauty of glassware in mixology serves as a reminder that life’s richest moments are often found in the details. Like selecting the right glass for your drink, they require attention, mindfulness, and appreciation of the intricate dance between form and function.

What Are the Different Types of Cocktail Glasses?

And so, we delve deeper into understanding these silent but significant contributors to the art of drinking — the types of cocktail glasses and when best to use them. After all, knowledge enhances enjoyment, and in the world of mixology, there is much to enjoy.

1. Old Fashioned Glass

An old fashioned glass exudes an air of quiet sophistication. Broad and short with a thick base, it cradles the liquid with assurance. Its robust form is perfect for drinks that command their presence, allowing for the natural diffusion of intense aromas.

The glass's design has a rich history, taking its name from the iconic cocktail — the old fashioned. Ideal for serving whiskey-based concoctions, its sturdiness enables the muddling of ingredients right in the glass.

2. Highball Glass

The highball glass is tall, lean, and versatile. Its design caters to the needs of both effervescent mixers and hearty spirits. Born from the highball cocktail, the glass's height is purposeful — it preserves the bubbliness of sodas while its clarity showcases the colorful symphony of the mix.

This glass is perfect for any recipe that calls for tall drinks or a high volume of your mixer, lending a touch of elegance to the simplest of mixed beverages.

3. Coupe Glass

With its shallow, broad bowl and long stem, the coupe glass is the epitome of timeless elegance. Originally designed for champagne, this glass has a long and legend-steeped history and has since found favor with many cocktails.

While its open rim allows the champagne bubbles to dissipate quickly, it enhances the aesthetic appeal of a cocktail, making every sip a celebration.

4. Martini Glass

Synonymous with sophistication, the martini glass, with its iconic cone-shaped bowl and lengthy stem, is a classic addition to any bar. Invented in the early 20th century, it was designed to keep the cocktail ingredients from separating, with its wide brim allowing the delicate aromas to waft upwards. Perfect for cocktails served 'straight up' without ice, its elegant form also allows for beautiful garnishes.

5. Margarita Glass

Like a coupe glass with a twist, the margarita glass is playful and functional. Its double-bowl design and wide rim serve a purpose — the top bowl holds the cocktail, while the lower allows for additional ice or shrimp for the more adventurous drinker. It's the perfect accompaniment for any lively gathering, allowing for the serving of margaritas and a range of frozen concoctions.

6. Collins Glass

Taller than a highball but similar in shape, the Collins glass is named after the Tom Collins cocktail. Its tall and narrow body is designed to keep carbonated beverages from going flat, while its shape accentuates the visual appeal of layered cocktails. Perfect for serving mixed drinks, it adds an air of refinement and modernity to any occasion.

7. Brandy Snifter

The brandy snifter, with its short stem and wide-bottomed vessel, is designed to be cradled in hand to warm the spirits within. Its narrow top traps the aroma of the brandy, enhancing the overall tasting experience. This glass has been a constant companion to brandy drinkers since the 18th century, providing an intimate setting for enjoying rich, aged spirits.

8. Hurricane Glass

Shaped like a hurricane lantern, this glass is a festive addition to any bar collection. The hurricane glass, with its tall, curved shape and broad rim, allows for plenty of ice and garnish, enhancing the sensory experience of the exotic drinks it often holds. Believed to be created in New Orleans in the 1940s, it is the go-to glass for tropical, fruity concoctions.

Understanding the design and purpose behind each type of cocktail glass enriches the experience of both making and partaking in beverages. Each glass, in its form and function, resonates with the shared moments it facilitates — from intimate conversations to lively parties. After all, every clink of glasses is a toast to shared moments and the magic therein.

Essential Tools for Home Mixology

When it comes to crafting the perfect cocktail, the right tools are just as important as the appropriate glassware. A well-stocked home bar is not just a showcase of beautiful bottles but a repository of the right equipment, each contributing to the artistry of mixology.

Here are a few essential tools you should consider:

  • Cocktail shaker: Whether you're crafting a mojito for your highball glass or pouring a piña colada into your hurricane glass, the shaker ensures every sip is a perfect balance of flavor.
  • Bar spoon: Longer than the typical teaspoon, a bar spoon is perfect for stirring and layering cocktails. Its elegant form adds a touch of sophistication to the process.
  • Muddler: For drinks that require a release of flavor from fresh ingredients, such as mint or citrus peel, a muddler is crucial. Like the slow release of our botanical essences, the muddler enhances the depth of flavors in your drink.
  • Jigger: Accuracy is key in creating the perfect cocktail, and a jigger ensures that you're getting your proportions right.
  • Strainer: A strainer helps remove solid particles from the drink, resulting in a smoother cocktail.
  • Ice tray: The quality of ice can impact the flavor of your drink. Consider using trays that make large, slow-melting ice cubes for a prolonged savoring of your drink’s delicate, nuanced flavors.

Just as each type of glassware accentuates certain aspects of your drink, these tools, too, contribute to the beauty and enjoyment of the mixology process. Each clink of a spoon, each shake of a mixer, and each pour into a glass is a step towards creating a shared moment.

The Role of Aplós in Glass Selection

Our non-alcoholic functional spirits at Aplós have been mindfully crafted with wellness in mind, allowing the nuanced flavors and beneficial aspects of botanicals to shine through.

For instance, our Calme offering, infused with broad-spectrum hemp, is a bright and soothing sensory delight, while Arise, enriched with our proprietary blend of adaptogens, is a bold and earthy blend perfect for vibrant parties and late-night conversations.

A recalibration in how we approach moments of revelry and unwind, we encourage you to explore our curated collection of cocktail recipes, each thoughtfully crafted with a range of supportive natural ingredients and designed to be savored in its ideal glass.

The Bottom Line

Selecting the right cocktail glass is an art, a sensory journey where every choice is an opportunity to enhance your enjoyment of our functional spirits. With our botanical-infused wellness, every glass, every shared moment, and every intimate conversation becomes a testament to life’s simple yet profound pleasures.

With Aplós, you can savor the magic of shared moments and elevate your drinking experience, all without the negative effects of alcohol. Embrace the luxury of mindful sipping and let the hand-selected ingredients of your elixirs guide your glass selection.

Remember, you're not just choosing a drink — or a glass — but, rather, you’re intentionally stepping into a lifestyle that values wellness, sophistication, and the art of savoring the moment. We’ll raise our glasses to that.


Glass shape influences drinking behaviours in three laboratory experiments | PMC

How To Muddle Drinks | The Cocktail Project

The history of the champagne coupe | Apollo Magazine

Getting to Know the Brandy Snifter, the High Brow Glass for Everyone | Eater