The Home Bartender: Glassware

It’s The Home Bartender time! This monthly feature caters to those of you who are not necessarily working bartenders but who are really interested in drinking better cocktails and learning how to make cocktails! Each month our Home Bartender expert, Matej Novak, will run you through a new topic. This month he discusses just what to use to house those cocktails you are making: GLASSWARE!


The worst thing to be about cocktails is pedantic. Take it from a once and future pedant. There are times it’s worth educating or correcting someone, but on the whole, if someone wants to enjoy something a certain way, no one should stop them — as long as they’re not hurting anyone, of course (the exception is a shaken martini, which hurts everyone).

When it comes to glassware, there are certain vessels better suited to certain drinks, but that isn’t to say you can’t or shouldn’t serve a certain drink just because you don’t have the “right” glass — especially at home. It’s another area of experimentation, a way to customize a drink, or at least its presentation. Try a stirred drink in a wine glass. A highball in a rocks glass. A Dark ‘n’ Stormy in a teacup (see what I did there?).

Of course, it’s always good to know the basics before you try something new. You can watch my video to learn more, but here’s a quick rundown:

  • Stemmed glasses like coupes are best for stirred drinks served without ice.
  • Rocks glasses are better suited to cocktails served on the… well, you know.
  • Highballs are meant for long drinks made with various sodas.
  • Julep cups are traditional for juleps, but I won’t try to tell you the same ingredients in a different glass would be a different drink.
  • Tiki mugs are flashy and fun, but as with juleps, not essential to the flavour.

It’s good to be deliberate about your choices and experimentation, but sometimes it may be because it’s all you hand on hand. And that’s a good a reason as any.

Matej Novak
Matej is a writer and cocktail enthusiast living in Kingston, Ontario. He’s annoyed bartenders with endless questions in cities including Toronto, New York, San Francisco, Portland, Prague, London and Tokyo. He’s also amassed more cocktail tools and accoutrements than with which he knows what to do (told you he’s a writer). Don’t be like Matej. Learn from his mistakes — and his successes — instead.
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