Essential Cocktail Glassware

Essential Glassware

The Essential 3 Cocktail Glasses

We’ve compiled a list of 13 types of glassware that are common behind bars but if you are making cocktails at home then we recommend restricting it to the Essential Three types of cocktail glassware. An in-depth guide for glassware, washlines, garnishing and techniques can be found in the Death & Co. Modern Classics Cocktail Book.


The coupe would have to be my go to cocktail glass for stirred and shaken cocktails that are served straight up (no ice). They vary in size from a approximately 165mL up to 250mL. I personally use the smaller of the two due to the convenience of transport for events but the large glass can have a real impact with a stunning garnish. If using the smaller size coupe glass you’ll have to limit your ingredients to 90mL for a stirred drink and around 110mL for a shaken cocktail.

Great for Martinis, Margaritas and Daiquiris – Buy Coupe Glasses

Double Old Fashioned

The Double Old Fashioned glass is also known as a double rocks glass. These usually have a capacity of 355mL+ and are perfect for a large sphere or cube when serving Old Fashioneds, Negronis, whiskey, etc. Try picking an Old Fashioned glass with a thick base so you can prechill your glass and keep your drink cold. You can also use a single Old Fashioned / single rocks glass, the key difference being the smaller capacity, normally around 270mL.

Great for Old Fashioneds, Negronis and whiskey – Buy Double Old Fashioned Glasses


The Highball glass comes in varied shapes, sizes and capacity. You can use specialised glasses in place of these such as a pilsner for swizzles and other drinks with crushed ice but the highball is a great substitute for home. Try finding a highball glass that has a capacity of around 330mL. They are also known as a Collins glass.

Great for Slings, Collins’ and Mojitos – Buy Highball Glasses

The Not So Essential Glassware

These are the remaining glasses that are common in a lot of bars. They aren’t essential and can be substituted with The Essential Three listed above – but they definitely contribute to a better drinking experience – my personal favourite, the Nick and Nora glass.


The Martini is probably the most recognisable cocktail glass available. Varying in size from as small as 130mL to a larger 250mL capacity glass. I reserve the martini glass for Martinis and Manhattans but lately prefer to utilise something a little more unique, such as the Nick and Nora glass.

Great for Martinis and Manhattans – Buy Martini Glasses

Nick and Nora

The Nick and Nora is an elegant substitue for a Martini and Coupe glass but with a limited capacity of approximately 150mL. Partner with a pretty garnish for a truly stunning cocktail. These were popularised by Audrey Saunders in 2005 when she opened her pioneering New York cocktail bar Pegu Club. The glasses originally debuted in the 1934 movie, The Thin Man that featured husband-and-wife characters Nick and Nora Charles.

Great substitute for the Coupe and Martini Glass – Buy Nick and Nora Glasses


The Port glass is less commonly used for cocktails but can be utilised for amplifying the aromatics of a drink due to it’s inward tapered sides. You can also use it for fortified wines =)

Great for aromatic drinks.

Fizz Glass

The Fizz glass is used for….Fizzes! The outward tapered vertical sides of the glass are important for a fizz involving egg white as it allows the foam to elevate above the rim of the glass.

Great for Fizzes – Buy Fizz Glasses

Champagne Flute

Surpise surprise! A Champagne flute is reserved for cocktails that contain, yep, you guessed it – Champagne!

Great for Champagne-based cocktails – Buy Champagne Flutes

Brandy Balloon (also known as a Snifter)

The Brandy Balloon makes for a very attractive cocktail when featured with an elaborate garnish. Serve cocktails over a large cube or more tropical / tiki style cocktails over crushed ice. The inward tapered glass also concentrates the aromas straight towards the nose, amplifying the aromatics.

Great for Tropical / Tiki Cocktails – Buy Brandy Balloon Glasses

Julep Cup

I almost exclusively use the Julep Cup or Tin for Mint Juleps. Ideally these should be silver plated but they will be a bit pricey when compared to the commonly available stainless steel Julep Cups. There are copper plated stainless steel options available too. The stirring or swizzling of a drink when filled with crushed ice will cause the outer part of the cup/tin to frost up

Great for Mint Juleps – Buy Julep Cups

Tiki Mug

Tiki Mugs are a little more hard to come by in Australia – some rare ones fetch a hefty price tag. They are pretty much exclusively used for tropical and tiki cocktails such as the Zombie, Fogcutter, Planters Punch, etc. Usually tiki mugs/drinks are acommpanied by elaborate tropical garnishes, citrus, orchids, etc.

Great for Tiki Drinks – Buy Tiki Mugs

Pilsner Glass

The repurposed beer glass has a larger capacity of around 480mL, therefore making it great for drinks served over lots of crushed ice. A prime example being the Swizzle – fill the glass full of crushed ice, add ingredients and use a swizzle stick to mix your drink, causing the glass to frost up. The original swizzle sticks were created in the 18th century at a rum plantation in the West Indies. They were used to stir up Bermudian cocktails.

Great for Swizzles and other drinks with crushed ice – Buy Pilsners Glasses

Punch Bowl

You can use anything for a punch bowl but a vintage piece can elevate the drinking experience for a group. Ideal for serving small groups of 2-6 people (of course depending on the size of your Punch Bowl!). p.s. pictured is actually a fruit bowl, if you’ve read this far and picked it up, comment below!

Great for Punches – Buy a real Punch Bowl Set

What’s your favourite cocktail glassware to use?

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