You might be working, cooking and dining at home more than usual or maybe it's not easy to get to your favorite restaurant or bar these days. Or, maybe you just moved into a new place.
No matter the situation, you keep thinking about that perfect martini (or insert other beverage here) your favorite bartender makes. You know the one, with just the right amount of ice chips and olives and filled just under the rim of the icy cold glass...
You firmly believe you can replicate that ideal experience at home. But it's time to upgrade your bar glassware game.
It's just a glass, right? Well, we won't go into the science behind the reason each type of glass is made but bottom line they all serve a purpose. For example, the stems on a White Wine Glass allow you to hold it there, keeping the contents of the glass cool and away from body warmth. And the thickness of a Shot Glass was made that way so that it doesn't shatter when slammed down on the bar after use.
When setting up or improving your home bar situation consider these three additional things:
Pick glassware that compliments your decor and personal style.
Consider the thickness of the glass - you don't want it to chip easily or have a wine glass stem break off when you drop it in the sink while washing.
Think about how many of each type you really need. If you host parties and events then it might make sense to buy sets or boxes. But if it's just you, some loved ones and a few friends that come over from time to time, then you really don't need that case of 24 wine glasses. Start with a few and see how it goes and add later where it makes sense.
Best Bar Glassware
Whether daydreaming about being back in your favorite food & drink spot again or feeling motivated to replicate the experience at home, it all starts with the right GLASSWARE. It's not that hard, you can do this, right? It's now time to improve your home bar set up. No more plastic tumblers. Here's some suggestions and a few recipes to start you off...
OLD FASHIONED GLASS
6 to 8 ounces
aka Rocks Glass or Lowball Glass.
Used to be referred to as a “small bar glass” in the 19th century.
The wide brim and thick base make it easier to muddle ingredients before adding liquid.
1 1/2 ounces of Gin
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
3 ounces ginger-ale
Pour Gin and lemon juice in an old fashioned glass filled with ice. Add ginger-ale and stir with a bar spoon, stirring rod or bar whisk.
14 to 16 ounces
Tall and narrow
aka Fizz Glass or Highball Glass (see next)
Originated approximately the latter half of the 1800’s with popularity of the Tom Collins - a Gin cocktail with lemon juice, powdered sugar and club soda. This is a popular glass for famous and common drinks like the screwdriver. They also pair well with stainless steel cocktail shakers in drink mixing. We like this glass for Mojitos and Palomas.
Brandy and Soda
2 ounces of Brandy
Pour brandy into a collins glass filled with ice. Fill and top off with club soda.
8 to 12 ounces
Sometimes called a tumbler
This glass is taller than an old-fashioned glass and shorter than a collins glass.
Originally used for sodas in the late 1800’s and then became famous when used by bartenders for scotch whiskeys and soda. Bubbles stayed effervescent longer because of the glasses narrow shape and tall height.
1 1/2 ounce bourbon
1/2 ounce brandy
1/2 ounce Créme de Menthe
Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour bourbon, brandy and Créme de Menthe over the ice. Fill and top with club soda. Stir. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
1 1/2 to 2 ounces
A “shot” is a drink of alcohol that is meant to be enjoyed quickly. In the 18th century they were known as whiskey tasters. Almost since their inception they were made with advertisements on the side. Today they’re popular souvenirs and adorned with everything from first names, liquor brands and vacation destination hot spots.
1/2 ounce coffee liqueur
1/2 ounce Irish cream
1/2 ounce amaretto liqueur
Layer each ingredient, in order, in a chilled shot glass. The Irish cream should float on the coffee liqueur and the amaretto liqueur should float on the Irish cream.
6 to 8 ounces
Another example of a stemmed glass that allows the drinker to hold it without affecting the beverage temperature. It is tall with a curved taper towards the top. The height, narrow shape and opening limit the amount of oxygen to the liquid which is ideal for preserving champagne’s bubble effervescence. It is also pleasant to watch champagne bubbles float towards the top. In addition to champagne, the flute is acceptable to use for most general sparkling wines, proseccos and even some sweet, fruity flavored beers.
1 ounce white peach puree
5 ounces chilled Prosecco
Small dash of lemon juice
Pour peach puree into the champagne flute. Slowly top with the chilled prosecco while holding the flute at a slight angle to limit foaming action. Finish with the lemon juice.
6 or more ounces
aka martini glass
V-shaped with stem
Used for martinis, cosmopolitans, Manhattans and gimlets. Their tall stems allow the consumer to hold the drink without warming it; an important feature since ice is usually not present but the glass can be chilled beforehand. The wide rim allows for beverage aromas to please the nose of the consumer. The cocktail glass surfaced in the 19th century. Originally used to hold champagne, it fell out of popularity because of it's ability to tilt and spill easily.
1 1/2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce cranberry juice
Lime wheel slice
Chill the cocktail glass. Put all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into the cocktail glass and garnish with the lime wheel.
Usually 16 ounces
A pint glass is a generally acceptable all-purpose glassware for most beers. Some beer aficionados would dispute that and offer a specific glass for the many varieties of beer. However, for the purpose of your home bar, having a pint glass to offer guests is acceptable. They will comfortably hold most ales and lagers, IPAs, light beers, etc. Of course other acceptable glassware for beer include pilsner glasses, beer mugs, goblets and even snifters.
HINT: If you find pint glasses with an "M" and a number next to it inside a box on the glass, that has meaning. The "M" stands for "measure", meaning it has been measured to contain exactly a pint. The number stands for the year it was measeured. "M18" would mean it was measured in 2018 to contain a pint of beer.
RED WINE GLASS
12 to 24 ounces
Stem glassware made for red wine are usually wide at the base and slightly narrower at the rim. Red wine is generally not served chilled and this glass design allows the aromas to be released, noticed and part of the wine drinking experience. Red wine glasses should be filled only about half full or less.
WHITE WINE GLASS
10 to 18 ounces
White wine is typically served chilled. Therefore there is less of a need for a wide body and rim to play with the aromas. Typically white wine glasses are filled to about 6 ounces.
4 to 6 ounces
Sometimes called a schooner. The sherry glass is ideal for serving alcoholic beverages with nice aromas. It is also acceptable to use in place of a cordial glass (a short-stemmed glass holding about 2 or 3 ounces). These get used most often after dinner or with a dessert. Examples of what a sherry glass can hold are sherry, port and liqueur.
Remember, if just starting out or looking to refine your bar glassware collection choose what you like and that matches your style. Look for quality. Thicker glassware will avoid chipping and breaking. And start with a few pieces and build up from there if you aren't sure how many or what kind of bar glassware you really need.
If you already have a favorite drink and / or have started bartending at home, which glassware type will you shop for first?