Types of Wine Glasses, Beer & Cocktail Glasses
Stocking a home bar goes far beyond lining up your favorite beer, wine and spirits to sip. You also need to invest in proper bar glasses. Different types of drinking glasses in a variety of shapes, materials and sizes keep your beverages at the right temperatures, providing premium aroma and flavor experiences. Here's everything you need to know about buying the perfect drinkware.
Wine Glasses and Stemware
Making wine is an art, so it's not a surprise that stemware is too. Studies prove that certain shapes and constructions really do influence the wine-drinking experience. You can test it for yourself by pouring any wine of your choice from one glass to another, then smelling and tasting the differences.
Types of Wine Glasses
Red wine glasses and white wine glasses vary not only by the wine's color categories, but by varietals within those designations. You can tell which is which by the shapes and sizes of their bowls, which controls how the wine breathes and moves onto the palate.
Red Wine Glasses
The right vessel will bring out the best in your reds.
- Bordeaux: This tall, long-stemmed glass has a large, deep bowl, allowing room for rich varietals of wine to breathe and develop.
- Syrah/Shiraz: This glass has a tall stem and gentle taper for balancing the tannins and fruit in bold reds such as Tempranillo and Malbec. It's one of the most versatile glasses for red wines, accommodating a large range of varietals from Côtes du Rhône Rouge to Rioja.
- Burgundy: More sharply tapered and wider than the Bordeaux, this glass is more bottom-heavy and almost triangular or diamond-shaped for softer reds like Pinot Noir.
White Wine Glasses
Here's what you'll need to sip your whites in style.
- Sauvignon Blanc: Also called the generic white wine glass, with a shorter stem and more narrow bowl than the Bordeaux glass, this glass is best for floral, acidic wines like Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Lambrusco, Sancerre, Chenin Blanc and Pouilly Fumé.
- Chardonnay: With a big, round bowl and no taper, this glass evens out the oaky, buttery aromas and flavors of its namesake. This glass is ideal for white wines including Saint-Emilion, Montrachet, white Burgundy and Pouilly-Fuissé.
Stemless Wine Glasses
Once seen as a novelty, stemless wine glasses are now made of both glass and crystal. While this style will never replace the more elegant stemmed glass, it works well for wine drinkers with young children, pets and any other household members who knock tend to over stemware. Stemless wine glasses are also easy to throw in the dishwasher.
Crystal vs. Glass Wine Glasses
While crystal is usually better quality than glass, there isn't a ton of difference between drinking from crystal or glass wine glasses. Glass is more practical for every day and a good set of glass stemware even offers the same qualities when it comes to bouquet and taste. The real distinction comes with top-of-the-line crystal, which has such a thin lip that the flow of wine goes directly from glass to palate.
Even if you're used to drinking your beer straight from the container it came in, you'll likely have guests who prefer it in a glass.
Why Drink from a Beer Glass?
Most beer enthusiasts will tell you that brews taste best when they're poured out of the bottle or can into a glass. This is because you can:
- Stimulate the carbonation.
- Create a creamy, foamy head.
- Release the aromas and flavors.
- Judge the color and texture.
How to Pour Beer into a Glass
There's really only one method to pour a beer from a can, bottle or tap, no matter the kind of glass. You may need to adjust for the carbonation, which creates the amount of foam on top at the end. Here's a step-by-step guide:
- Tilt the glass at a 45-degree angle.
- Aim the beer at the midpoint of the glass.
- Pour at a medium rate.
- When you reach halfway, hold the glass upright.
- Finish pouring straight down.
- Aim for half inch to one and a half-inch head.
What Are the Different Beer Glass Sizes?
Depending on how and what you're consuming, you'll generally see one of three sizes:
- 4 ounces (tasting size)
- 8 ounces (half pint)
- 16 ounces (pint)
Beer Glass Types and Uses
Just as there are many types of beers, there's a variety of vessels from which to drink them.
- Pint glasses: The 16-ounce American pint glass, sometimes called a Shaker pint, is one of the most commonly used, versatile beer glasses.
- IPA glasses: An IPA (India Pale Ale) is a British-invented beer often noted for its hoppiness and carbonation. Tulip, thistle and snifter glasses, which have a bulbous bottom and a curve near the rim, allow for aromas to rise and keep the IPA colder and fizzier.
- Stout glasses: Stouts are strong, thick and dark porters. Good stout glasses include the pint, ceramic mug, traditional beer stein and snifter glass.
- Goblets: Bowl-type glasses with a stem, goblets are good for the aromatics of malty Belgian ales and German bocks.
- Steins: Short for the Steinzeugkrug, steins are generally made of ceramic, porcelain or metal and have a hinged lid, which was once believed to prevent transmission of the plague.
- Beer mug: Usually made from glass that is occasionally dimpled, beer mugs have handles. The thick walls and handles prevent the drinker from warming up the beer, while the dimples improve color clarity.
Barware and Cocktail Glasses
Devoted barware fans believe you can never have too many kinds of drink glasses and bar accessories on hand for serving up specialty concoctions. Just as certain liquors and liqueurs pair best with particular flavor profiles, they're also best enjoyed when poured into the perfect receptacle.
Types of Cocktail Glasses
For cocktail hour in your kitchen, your choice of glass is wide and varied.
- Nick and Nora glasses: Named after fictional characters in a novel, these short-stemmed, six-ounce, belled Art Deco glasses are for shaken or stirred cocktails.
- Martini glasses: The wide-angle version of the Nick and Nora glass, stemmed martini glasses are usually conical, although sometimes they take more of a fishbowl shape.
- Whiskey glasses: Also called rocks glasses or lowball glasses, these short tumblers are for serving two ounces of spirits either neat or over ice.
- Old-fashioned and double old-fashioned glasses: These cut-glass versions of whiskey glasses have a thick base so you can muddle other ingredients without breaking the glass. A single old-fashioned glass is 6-10 ounces; a double (sometimes called a DOF) is 12-16 ounces.
- Highball and Collins glasses: While these two terms are often used interchangeably, they're not quite the same. Tall and slim, they're both filled with ice first, then with the cocktail. Shorter highball glasses (8-12 ounces) are best for cocktails with one mixer, like a gin and tonic. Taller Tom Collins glasses (10-14 ounces) are better for a drink that has more than one mixer, such as a mojito.
- Shooter and shot glasses: The standard size shot glass is 1.5 ounces, although they are unregulated and can range up to 1.75-2 ounces. Shot glasses are often sold as souvenirs and used as shooter glasses to toss back straight liquor. Barware shot glasses are to measure a jigger for single-mixer cocktails.
- Margarita glasses: The curvy, shapely margarita glass is a cross between the martini glass and the French Champagne saucer. They're almost always reserved for the signature tequila, lime and triple sec cocktail, although there are many variations of the margarita.
- Champagne saucer (coupe): This stemmed French Champagne glass was supposedly modeled on a certain part of Marie Antoinette's anatomy. What is certainly true is that this style of Champagne glass goes in and out of fashion. Champagne lovers often prefer flutes because they retain carbonation longer. Today, mixologists like to make coupe glass cocktails.
- Snifters glass: A footed, short-stemmed vessel with a wide-bottom, large bowl and a smaller opening, the snifter is ideal for aged, brown liquors that require cradling, swirling and warming in the hand.
Now you should have everything you need to satisfy your guests' drinking preferences, as well as your own. Perhaps it's also time to invest in a new bar cart?