Which Glass For Which Drink? Using Correct Types of Glassware

Wondering which wine glasses to use? Which glass for which drink when it comes to cocktails? Tall and neat drinks? Highball or lowball drinking vessels? Learn how to use glassware and select the correct type, whatever your tipple, with this handy guide.

(Looking for advice on the best types of beer glasses to use? Try this blog post instead.)

Why Use Different Types of Glassware?

Different glassware has evolved in order to make each different drink better. It may be that you have a perfectly measured cocktail, but the size of the mouth can help release the aromas. It may be that you have a wonderful new liquor in your hand, but once in a drinking vessel it can be helped warm up, or stay cool, by the design of the glass. Enhanced aromas and correct temperatures are two key factors to improving the drinking experience.

Which Glass For Which Drink: Wine

Which Glass For Which Drink? Red-Wine-SQ Which Glass For Which Drink? White-Wine-SQ Which Glass For Which Drink? Flute-SQ

(1) Red Wine Glass
Glassware for red wine should have a larger, rounder bowl in order to swirl the wine easily and help aerate it. A long stem will also keep the hand away from the drink in order to prevent it becoming too warm.
Examples: Pinot Noir, Syrah.

(2) White Wine Glass
White wine glasses will have a smaller mouth area, and therefore a smaller surface area to aerate, so that wine does not oxidize too fast. This is in order to retain the lighter, more delicate notes that white wines will generally have.
Examples: Chardonnay, Sauvignon.

(3) Flute Glass
Sparkling wine needs even less surface area, as this will help preserve the bubbles and stop it from going flat too quickly. Hence, the flute glass, with its tall, thin bowl and small mouth. Also used for Champagne cocktails.
Examples: Champagne, Prosecco, Bellini.

(related read: The Benefits of Wine on Tap)

Correct Cocktail Glassware

Which Glass For Which Drink? Cocktail-SQ Which Glass For Which Drink? Highball-SQ Which Glass For Which Drink? Lowball-SQ

(4) Cocktail Glass
The classic, traditional cocktail glass is an inverted cone bowl, which can come in a variety of sizes, usually around 3 to 6 ounces. It is used to serve cocktails without ice, or ‘up.’ Its shape evolved from the fact that all traditional cocktails would have interesting aromas, and the large mouth allows the nose of the drinker to get close to the surface of the drink and fully enjoy its scent and taste.
Examples: Martinis, Cosmopolitan, Brandy Alexander, Kamikaze.

(5) Highball Glass
A highball glass is a glass tumbler used to serve ‘tall’ cocktails and other mixed drinks that contain a large proportion of a non-alcoholic mixer, and are poured over ice. It is often used interchangeably with the Collins Glass, although the highball glass is shorter and wider in shape.
Examples: Dark ‘N’ Stormy, Bloody Mary, Mojito, gin & tonic.

(6) Lowball Glass
The lowball glass, Old Fashioned glass, or rocks glass, are all names for a short tumbler with a solid base which holds around 6 to 8 ounces of liquid. A solid base aids with drinks which require ‘muddled’ ingredients. These low glasses can also be used for serving a neat pour of liquor.
Examples: Old Fashioned, Negroni, White Russian.

Speciality Glassware

Which Glass For Which Drink? Irish Coffee-SQ Which Glass For Which Drink? Hurricane-SQ Which Glass For Which Drink? Martini-SQ

(7) Irish Coffee Glass
Hot cocktails such as an Irish Coffee or a Hot Toddy are best served in an Irish Coffee glass, which is made with heat-resistant glass and has a handle attached, to enable you to hold the drink comfortably.

(8) Hurricane Glass
The Hurricane cocktail, developed by New Orleans tavern owner Pat O’Brien in the 1940s, was first poured into hurricane lamp-shaped glasses; hence the name. The drink and the name stuck, and it has been a mainstay in the French Quarter ever since.

(9) Martini Glass
Martinis were originally served in cocktail glasses (above), but the drink evolved into a variety of vodka-based ‘tinis’ through the ’90s, and the serving sizes grew. Martini glasses differ from the traditional cocktail glass by generally having a larger bowl and being fully conical at the bottom.

Which Glass For Which Drink? Margarita-SQ Which Glass For Which Drink? Glencairn Whisky-SQ Which Glass For Which Drink? Brandy Snifter-SQ

(10) Margarita Glass
Another specialty drink with its own unique glassware, Margaritas were traditionally served in a margarita glass; a “stepped-diameter variant of a cocktail glass.” These may be rarely seen in general bars and homes, as it has become the norm to serve margaritas in many other vessels, from pint glasses to double Old Fashioned glasses.

(11) The Glencairn Whisky Glass
This specialty piece was developed by Glencairn Crystal Ltd. with the purpose of getting the maximum flavors when drinking whisky. It derives from traditional nosing glasses used by master blenders, borrowing the wide bowl to show off the color and help expose the aromas, but instead uses a tapered mouth to allow easier drinking.

(12) Snifter Glass
The snifter glass has a very short stem which is supposed to be cradled in the hand, helping warm the drink it contains. The large bowl allows the drink to be swirled, and a shorter mouth traps aromas and allows the drinker to enjoy a more prominent smell as they sip. Mostly used for brown spirits, such as brandy and whisky.


by .

P.s. Fear not beer-lovers, here is a blog post on using the correct glassware for your beer.

Image credits:
(1) Red Wine – https://www.flickr.com/photos/chewychua/88817686
(2) White Wine – https://www.flickr.com/photos/dcbauer/3485439452
(3) Flute – https://www.flickr.com/photos/alanant/3117691436
(4) Cocktail – https://www.flickr.com/photos/preppybyday/5076311907
(5) Highball – https://www.flickr.com/photos/dinnerseries/6331425703
(6) Lowball – https://www.flickr.com/photos/stuartwebster/4599786176
(7) Irish Coffee – https://www.flickr.com/photos/jf-sebastian/6811030343
(8) Hurricane – https://www.flickr.com/photos/bigberto/2826375336
(9) Martini – https://www.flickr.com/photos/greentrench/2578752055
(10) Margarita – https://www.flickr.com/photos/preppybyday/5076907896
(11) Glencairn – https://www.flickr.com/photos/photobyaaron/8034556198
(12) Snifter – https://www.flickr.com/photos/preppybyday/5076313963

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Ekemini December 01st, 2015

I like this information because it really educates a person without prior knowledge. Can you or do you have information on restuarant and kitchen wares?

Best regards,

bottleneck December 08th, 2015

Hi Ekemini,

That is a good idea, thank you for the suggestion. We will work on putting a post together on kitchenware and other tools / utensils / receptacles.


[…] out this post at Bottle Neck for a full explanation of cocktail glasses – it’s really quite […]

[…] P.S. – For other types of glassware suitable for all types of wine and cocktails, try this blog post instead. […]

Sushii March 09th, 2016

But what the hell I thought it was all the glasses they were going to be listed……kmt!!! 🙂

maldaz April 20th, 2016

Did you copy and paste an article from Liquor.com and sign it as if you wrote it?

maldaz April 20th, 2016

Sorry, I’ve just read you actually wrote the Liquor article!

Carol May 08th, 2016

What is the correct way to drink from a Hilo wine glass? The low side or high side?

Elmer June 03rd, 2016

What about beer glasses?

jitu July 14th, 2016

Here is only12 i want to know more glass s

basketpam September 29th, 2016

On a site of a commercial supplier I noticed today a “Bubble” glass. Now this isn’t bubble as in the collectible ones where the glass looks as if it has bubbles all thought the glass (I guess they are actually bubbles when you think about it), this is a round shape with the top half cut off and angled to the side. It won’t let me paste a picture of it into the comment block here but if you don’t know what it is try checking the site for Central Restaurant Products or sending me an email where I may send you a picture of it. I’ve searched the internet and so far the only bubble glassware I can find is the collectible type. thanks

nevy December 16th, 2016

what are these glasses make for?

Greg April 23rd, 2017

That was great, thanks.

[…] pieces of glassware go a long way towards making your drinks look extra fancy, and there are specific glasses designed for specific beverages. If whiskey is your thing, tumbler glasses are ideal for tasting the whiskey in drams, as it is […]

digoo May 22nd, 2017

which glasses use for whisky ?
is there different glasses for RUM or you can use same glass for both purpose?
plz put light on it-

Ridhit Sharma July 08th, 2017

Great article on educating people about the usage of correct type glasses.

jupiter September 26th, 2017

It is very useful for me.

Elena Rosal November 14th, 2017

it made me refresh from my college days of BSHRM. Now i finally worked in a school that offers the course i took.familliarizing those, are my likes

Louisa Whyment November 25th, 2017

What glass would you put cinzano in? Cocktail glass????

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Bottleneck Management is a restaurant group based in Chicago.

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