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May Your Glass(ware) Always Be Half Full

Cocktail glassware
The most common glassware used for cocktails

There are literally hundreds of different styles of glassware, some of which are simply aesthetic, whilst others have more practical qualities to enhance your drinking experience. We take a look at a few of the glasses that you’ll most commonly find in a cocktail bar.

Highball/Collins Glass

The only major difference between a highball and Collins glass is that the latter is slightly larger. Traditionally the highball was used for a cocktail with a ratio of 1 part liquor to 2-3 parts mixer, and – due to its volume – is commonly used for drinks that require a lot of ice.

Rocks/Tumbler/Lowball/Old-Fashioned Glass

The rocks glass has a weighty bottom that can accommodate the muddling of spices used for whisky-based cocktails—designed to be held, so the heat from your hand warms the drink encouraging the release of alcohol and flavours from the liquor.

Martini/Cocktail Glass

Unlike the lowball, the martini glass possesses a long stem to keep the heat from your hand away from the drink itself. The wide surface area disperses the cocktail’s flavours, creating a softer smelling and tasting drink. Traditionally a genuine cocktail glass was slightly smaller than a martini glass, but the term is generally interchangeable today.


Originally designed as a glass for Champagne, the coupe has pretty much the same profile as the martini glass, reducing the alcohol’s intensity. This glass is famous for Daiquiris, Manhattans and other cocktails served ‘straight-up’ (without ice). Incidentally, the coupe is possibly the worst shape glass for drinking Champagne as its large surface area allows the faster release of bubbles.

Glencairn/Nosing Glass

What you’ll recognise as a whisky-tasting glass, the Glencairn facilitates the release of intense flavours from your bourbon or Scotch. The design encourages the aromas of the whisky to hit your nose before you take a sip, making for a much more profound and pleasurable drink.


By Nick Mosley @brightonn1ck. This story first appeared on @thehaguecocktailweek


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