A Short Guide to the Different Glasses used for Alcoholic Beverages
What are the different kinds of glassware used to serve alcoholic beverages?
- Beer glass
- Wine glass
- Coupe glass
- Martini glass
- Collins glass
- Rocks glass
- Shot glass
In the world of alcohol-drinking, one thing that doesn’t get enough attention is the glassware that people use to serve, drink, and enjoy the alcoholic beverages themselves. Most people probably don’t even care about them, and that is something that should change. Drinking vessels make a world of difference to the whole experience of drinking alcohol, so it would be important for you to learn more about what the different alcohol glasses are and how they can be of use for your drinking endeavors.
No alcoholic beverage glassware list would be complete without the beer glass. This type of glassware is the general term for all the drinking vessels that are designed or generally used for drinking beer.
There are many different kinds of beer glasses being used around the world, but here are some of the most common ones:
- Beer mug – a sizable cylindrical glass with a handle. Usually thick and can hold 445 ml (15 oz.) of beer or more.
- Pint glass – the pint glass is still the most used glass for beer in most countries around the world. However, you might not always get the same pint from different places in the world. A US pint is about 473 ml, while a pint in the UK is about 568 ml. Pint glasses have a simple and somewhat skinny cylindrical shape that gets wider as they go up.
- Pilsner glass – this type of beer glass is tall and skinny. The pilsner glass is designed and used primarily for lighter beers and lagers.
No matter what beer glass you use for your favorite beer, as long as you’re enjoying the whole drinking experience, you really can’t go wrong.
Just like how beer glasses are made and used for drinking beer, wine glasses are also a thing and are mainstays at most home bars. Wine glasses are a form of stemware. This means it has three sections: the bowl, stem, and foot.
There are different types of wine glasses and they vary based on what kind of wine you are going to drink. For example, if you are going to drink red wine, then the type of glass you should be using has to have a rounder and wider bowl than others. This helps bring out your chosen wine’s flavor and aroma through oxidation. White wine glasses are similar to their red counterparts, but they are noticeably less rounded. That is because white wine is better consumed with less oxidation.
If you’ve heard of the term ‘champagne flute’, it would refer to a slender stemmed glass that is used to drink champagne and other sparkling wines. The slender shape helps the sparkling wine retain its prized carbonation and showcases its usual golden brown color.
Moving on to a smaller/shorter kind of glass stemware, a snifter is another staple drinking vessel that is used primarily to drink brandy and other aged brown spirits like bourbon and whiskey. In terms of design, its bowl is similar to that of a wine glass — wide and rounded.
Since the stem of a snifter is around an inch or so in length, holding the glass in between your ring and middle finger is optimal. Held in this way, your hand will warm the brown spirit of your choice, which adds to the whole drinking experience.
The coupe glass is what many bartenders and mixologists consider to be the modern cocktail glass. If you enjoy drinking margaritas and daiquiris, then you are probably well acquainted with the coupe glass already. This stemmed glass has a broad albeit shallow bowl and was originally created for the purpose of drinking champagne. It quickly fell out of favor due to the widespread use of champagne flutes.
Its resurgence is mainly because of its newfound use as the drinking vessel of choice for many modern craft cocktails — especially ones that require a salt component as the rim of the coupe glass is commonly dipped in salt.
While we’re still on the subject of stemmed glassware, the Martini glass is also one of the more iconic drinking vessels due to its frequent appearance in pop culture and its notable inverted cone bowl. It usually has a capacity ranging from 90 to 300 milliliters. That might seem small at first, but considering that beverages served in this type of glass never come with ice, you are getting a fair amount of alcohol.
This glass is also called a cocktail glass because it is the glass of choice for cocktails served ‘straight-up’, a term denoting an alcoholic drink shaken or stirred with ice then strained into the glass (e.g. the Martini and all its variations, Cosmopolitan, Gimlet, and more).
When it comes to mixed drinks and cocktails, the Collins glass is one of the most-used types of glassware in the world. It can come in varying forms but the defining qualities of a Collins glass are that it’s cylindrical, narrow, and has a capacity that ranges from 300 to 410 milliliters. It takes its name from the Tom Collins, a cocktail that is served in the eponymous glass and made using gin, lemon juice, sugar, and carbonated water.
The Collins glass is often mistaken for a highball glass because of their similar qualities. However, highball glasses are shorter and wider than their Collins counterpart and are used for serving highballs — a family of mixed alcoholic drinks that are notably popular in Japan and composed of an alcoholic base spirit and a larger proportion of a non-alcoholic mixer (e.g. whiskey and soda, gin and tonic, etc.)
If you like to enjoy your preferred alcoholic spirit neat or over ice i.e. “on the rocks”, then you’re probably already familiar with what a rocks glass is. It is a short, wide-brimmed drinking vessel with a thick base that is predominantly used for drinking whiskey or any other single spirit of your choice.
It is also called an ‘old-fashioned’ glass because it is the glassware of choice to serve an old-fashioned, a classic (early 1800s kind of classic) cocktail that consists of whiskey, sugar, angostura bitters, and a citrus garnish. Other names of this glass include: lowball glass, single or double rocks glass (referring to how many King ice cubes it can hold).
The final type of glassware on this list is the shot glass, a partygoer’s favorite. It is a glass that was originally designed as a tool to measure liquor but is now being used to consume it in one gulp. Alcoholic beverages that are served in a shot glass are also known as shooters, something that is served in practically every bar around the world. Shooters are also typically high in alcohol content and can be served alongside a larger drink — contributing to its notorious reputation as the glassware of inebriation.
Whether it’s a shot of tequila, vodka, or any other spirit of your choice, you are surely in for a great time. Just make sure to not get carried away because shots are small but terrible when it comes to drinking.
As you’ve read above, the glassware used to serve alcohol has multiple purposes beyond their varying aesthetic qualities. Now that you know what the different alcohol glasses are, make sure to use the right one the next time you are going to be serving an alcoholic beverage at home or elsewhere.