A Guide to Glassware

Sipping your gin and vermouth out of a sleek martini glass isn’t just about keeping your drink classy. The conical container actually serves a utilitarian purpose—helping to preserve the cocktail’s taste and temperature. In fact, almost all of the glassware stored away in your cupboards functions to heighten the flavor and maintain the integrity of a specific drink. Here is a breakdown of the most basic bar glasses and the libations to sip out of them:

The Champagne Glass. The tapered bowl of this tulip-shaped glass prevents the bubbles in champagne and sparkling ciders from dissipating too quickly, while the flute’s subtle curve enhances the drink’s smell and taste.

The Cocktail Glass. Also known as the martini glass, the cocktail glass’ conical shape helps keep liquids like gin and vermouth from separating, while its long, narrow stem keeps the drinker’s hands from warming the glass.

The Cooler. This tall, high-volume tumbler is commonly used to serve drinks containing a large amount of ice, especially non-alcoholic beverages and extra-large mixed drinks.

The Highball Glass. Much like the cooler, the versatile highball glass is popular for serving cold, non-alcoholic beverages and mixed drinks with a lower alcohol content. Similarly, the Collins glass, a slightly taller and more slender version of the highball glass, is often used to serve frosty, fruity drinks.

The Old-Fashioned Glass. This short tumbler, also known as a lowball or rocks glass, can be used to serve spirits neat (without ice) or on the rocks (poured over ice). Its name pays homage to the Old-Fashioned cocktail—whiskey or bourbon served on the rocks with a lemon twist.

The Pilsner Glass. This tall, tapered glass captures the effervescence and sparkling colors of Pilsner beers, enhancing the drink’s flavor and accommodating its large, foamy head.

The Pint Glass. Also referred to as a nonic or tumbler, the pint glass is ideal for robust lagers and beers with larger heads.

The Red Wine Glass. This glass’ tulip shape allows the drinker to swirl the wine and release the aromatic compounds that contribute to flavor, while its long stem keeps hands from altering the temperature of the glass.Large-bowl glasses are best for fruity reds, like Pinot Noir, Beaujolais and Burgundy, while elongated, smaller-bowled glasses are better suited to robust reds, such as Cabernet and Bordeaux.

The Snifter. This short, stout, tulip-shaped glass is designed to hold brandy, but also works well for serving cognac, liqueurs and premium whiskeys. Its wide bowl and short stem allow the drinker to cup the glass in his or her hand, warming the liquid and releasing a more potent aroma and flavor. Certain beers, particularly ales and stouts, are served in snifters as well.

The Weizen Glass. With a narrow bottom and wide top, the shape of this lengthy glass causes the aromas of wheat beers to be much more pronounced while also allotting room for their foamy heads.

The White Wine Glass. A smaller version of the red wine glass, this glass’ shape and stem accentuate the wine’s aromatic flavor while maintaining its temperature. Light-bodied white wines, such as Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc, are best served in slender, tulip-shaped glasses, while robust white wines, like Chardonnay, are best suited to bowl-shaped glasses. a&s

Sources: The Pink Drink Book: A Cocktail Recipe Book for Women by Jaclyn Wilson Foley, huffingtonpost.com, kegworks.com.