Your Guide to Cocktail Glasses | Matchbox

One of the things people don't realise about cocktail glasses is the assumption that they're all about style. While a stunning cocktail glass can definitely upgrade your happy hour, what you might not know is that this type of glassware has been carefully designed to carry the aroma, flavour, and even temperature of your favourite drinks.

Everything about spirit & cocktail glasses — from the shape of their glass rim to their capacity or size, plays a part in your drinking experience. Today, Matchbox's brand new glassware guide is going to uncover what cocktail glass types there are, including when to use them and why.


How to Serve with a Cocktail Glass

Among the many cocktail glass uses, there is a secret to how bartenders bring out such amazing drinks served in fresh, stunning glassware. One word: chilled.

Pre-chilling your cocktail glassware is a game changer for when you're hosting or entertaining your guests. (Excluding drinks meant to be served warm of course!) This applies best for drinks served "up" — which means shaken or stirred with ice and then strained into the glass.

Most people pre-chill their cocktail glasses by placing their glassware in the freezer for 30 minutes prior. But if you're short on time, the quickest way to chill a cocktail glass is by filling it with ice (crushed or cubes), and then adding a small amount of cool water over the ice. Stir it if you need, and leave the ice in while you mix up your drink. This is known as the "quick chill" method. Once you're ready, toss the ice out and strain or pour your cocktail into the glass.

Be mindful also for crystal glassware, which is made of lighter, more fragile material — for crystal glasses, simply place them in the refrigerator or use the "quick chill" method.

Read Also:5 Quick & Easy Mocktail Recipes


9 Types of Cocktail Glasses

Martini Glass | Your Guide to Cocktail Glasses | Matchbox

1) Martini Glass

What better way to start a cocktail glass guide than the sleek martini glass? Characteristics of a martini glass include an elongated stem, a wide rim, and a funnel shaped bowl with steeply sloped sides.

While traditional martini glasses appear triangular from the side, there are also plenty of coupe style martini glasses nowadays in the market. Coupe style cocktail glasses are also sometimes known and used as champagne coupes or champagne saucers.

 Coupe Glasses and Nick & Nora Glasses | Your Guide to Cocktail Glasses | Matchbox

Any deeper, and you might go for Nick and Nora glasses, which have a more bell-shaped bowl that curves towards the stem. The name comes from a 1930s film The Thin Man, with main characters Nick and Nora Charles.

Martini glasses are most commonly used for drinks that are shaken and stirred - apart from any martini such as espresso martinis or vodka martinis, Daquiris, Cosmopolitan, Manhattan, and more. 

Margarita Glass | Your Guide to Cocktail Glasses | Matchbox

2) Margarita Glass

The difference between a margarita and a martini glass is that a margarita glass have a tiered, stacked appearance with a wide bowl at the top and a narrow dip at the neck of the glass. Margarita glasses can hold a little more capacity compared to a coupe-style or martini cocktail glass. Sometimes, they're even used to serve hors d'oeuvres such as shrimp and dips!


Shot Glass | Your Guide to Cocktail Glass | Matchbox

3) Shot Glass

Shot glasses are more than just a travel souvenir! Coming in varying shapes and designs, shot glasses are normally small in size (only 30-60ml in capacity) as they're intended to be gulped in one go.

As the name suggests, shot glasses are used to serve shots like tequila, Jager bomb, and other spirits or liquor you want to drink straight from the glass. If you prefer mixing them into a cocktail, shot glasses cansometimes be used as cocktail jiggers by bartenders. Cocktail jiggers are small bar accessories used by bartenders to measure spirits as they mix.

Read also: How to Make Your Own Signature Cocktail


Hurricane Glass | Your Guide to Cocktail Glasses | Matchbox

4) Hurricane Glass

If you've ordered a juice or smoothie from a restaurant, chances are you've seen this hurricane shaped glass topped with a paper umbrella or a fun-coloured straw. Distinctive by their curved sides, hurricane glasses are also known as pina colada glasses or port glasses, ideal for serving pina colada, Blue Hawaiian, or other thicker drinks like juices and smoothies.


Wine Glass | Your Guide to Cocktail Glasses | Matchbox


5) Wine Glass

Who doesn't love a classic wine glass? Traditionally, wine glasses are stemmed glasses with a wider rounded bowl around the bottom, and then tapers in towards the rim. The purpose of the stem is to prevent our hands from radiating heat onto the wine when we're holding the glass, keeping its temperature and flavour pure.

On top of that, serving wine in stemware makes it easier to swirl the wine around; a method used in wine tasting to bring out the wine's aroma. The rounded bowl shape of wine glasses is also designed to oxidate the wine and bring out their aroma. The main difference between red and white wine glasses is their bowl shape and height. Red wine glasses have wider and/or taller bowls than white wine glasses - because red wine has richer, more full-bodied aromas.

Although most wine glasses are stemmed, stemless wine glasses have become increasingly popular too. Apart from wine, wine glasses can also be used to serve spritzers or sangria.


Champagne Flutes | Your Guide to Cocktail Glasses | Matchbox

6) Champagne Flute

The narrowest type of white wine glasses would of course be the classic champagne flutes. This type of champagne glass is known for their tall, slender designs with a stemmed base. (Although like wine glasses, there are also stemless champagne flute varieties.)

These straight, elongated glasses are made to showcase the fizzof your drink, allowing the bubbles to travel up to the surface of your drink and for the carbonated flavour to reach the tip of your nose. They're most commonly used for champagne, Prosecco, Bellini, or other sparkling white wine drinks.


Highball Glasses | Your Guide to Cocktail Glasses | Matchbox

7) Highball Glass

Highball glasses, sometimes spelled hi ball glasses, are a type of drinking glass that can be used for a multitude of drinks. Highball tumblers' main characteristic would be a slightly thick base and straight, long sides which forms a cylindrical shaped glass. They can be used interchangeably with collins glasses - the only difference is highball glasses are slightly shorter with less capacity.

They are ideal for serving drinks on the rocks (with ice cubes) such as a Long Island, gin & tonic, mojito, tequila sunrise, Tom Collins, and more.


Tumbler / Whisky Glass | Your Guide to Cocktail Glasses | Matchbox

8) Tumbler

Also known as whisky glasses or rocks glasses, tumblers are among one of the old fashioned glass types, typically used for serving a double old fashioned or classic whisky. While they also have straight edges, tumbler glasses are squatter in size with a weighted base that gives a comfortable hold for the spirits connoisseur.

Whisky tumblers can also be used for Negroni, Whiskey sours, White Russian, and other spirits that are normally served on the rocks.


Pint Glass | Your Guide to Cocktail Glasses | Matchbox

9) Pint Glass

You might think that beer glasses look a lot like normal highball glasses. Rather than a straight edge, though, the rim of a beer glass would be slightly bigger than their base. Also called pint glasses, they typically hold 450-600ml in capacity. Traditionally used for beer, pint glasses can also be used for bloody mary and other mixed drinks.



What Cocktail Glasses Should I Buy? | Your Guide to Cocktail Glasses | Matchbox

What Cocktail Glasses to Buy

Unless you're building a full home bar with a glass for every drink, simply having 3-4 staples should do just fine when it comes to glassware. The combination would largely depend on what drinks or cocktails you enjoy drinking or serving the most!

You can't go wrong with a set of wine glasses, highball glasses, and martini glasses to give you that range of variety though.

If you're a gin lover, you can go for a highball glass and a gin cocktail glass (which have a wide, almost bubble-shaped bowl). If you're a whisky fan, then maybe a set of tumbler glasses and a decanter would come in handy.


Lucky for you, there's plenty to discover at Matchbox's wide range of glassware! With so many brands, styles, sizes, even colours to choose from – a new set of glassware can be just what you need to make your next happy hour or dining occasion that much fancier.

Don't forget that Matchbox also offers FREE Shipping on all orders over $69 Australia wide. You can also choose online and pick up at a local Matchbox store, with over 15 different locations across Australia.

We'll cheers to that.

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