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Glassware Tour

By SpruceEats

Cocktails (or Martini Glass)

The familiar conical shape of the cocktail glass makes most people think of a martini. After all, it is the most popular drink served in this style of glass which is why it’s often called a “martini” glass.

Cocktail glasses are used for drinks between 3 and 6 ounces that are most often served “up” without ice. This includes a variety of martini-style cocktails such as the cosmopolitan and many classic cocktails, from the Manhattan to the sidecar. Cocktail glasses are also a good alternative to margarita glasses.

Highball & Collins Glass

Highball (or hi-ball) and collins glasses are very similar to each other. They can be used interchangeably for tall drinks and hold the same volume, though that can be anywhere from 8 to 16 ounces.

Nearly identical in shape, it can be difficult to distinguish the difference:

  • The collins glass tends to be taller and narrower, more of a chimney shape.
  • The highball is typically more stout and tops off at 10 ounces.

Very useful, tall glasses are essential in any bar. They’re used for tall mixed drinks (also called highballs) that can be as simple as a shot of liquor topped with juice or soda. Quite often, the drinks are built directly in the glass by pouring the ingredients over ice and stirring to mix. At home, highballs also make excellent everyday glasses for soda, juice, iced tea, and other nonalcoholic drinks.

Old-Fashioned (or Rocks) Glass

The old-fashioned glass is a short tumbler with a thick bottom. It’s also called a “lowball” or “rocks” glass. Typically used for short mixed drinks—including the famous old-fashioned—that are served “on the rocks,” not every lowball cocktail requires ice.

Old-fashioned glasses hold between 6 and 8 ounces. They are also available as a double old-fashioned (or double rocks), holding up to 10 or 12 ounces.

Common for drinks like the rusty nail, the smaller glasses are also used to serve a straight or neat pour of liquor—typically a dark spirit like whiskey. The larger glass is ideal for serving either a mixed drink like the white Russian or a straight pour of liquor with a single large ice cube or ice ball. These glasses can also be used for martini-style cocktails, with or without ice.

Shot Glass

The shot glass is a very recognizable glass in the bar. They come in many styles, shapes, and sizes and are fun to collect. Any shot glass can hold straight shots and mixed shooters and take the place of a jigger when you need to measure drink ingredients. It is always good to have a few around just in case some break.

The average shot is 1 1/2 ounces while a “short” or “pony” shot is just 1 ounce. Some shot glasses hold 2 ounces.

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