Types of glasses for alcohol

Updated February 21, 2017

A decently stocked bar will have an array of beer, wine and liquor to choose from along with some basic bar glassware. A well-stocked bar will also have not only a variety of alcohol but also the various appropriate glasses to serve them. Drinks are served in specific glassware to not only distinguish the drink from any others but also to highlight the flavour, appearance and attitude of each cocktail.


The shot is a small glass that typically holds 1 to 1½ oz. Straight shots of liquor---commonly tequila, whiskey and vodka---are served in a shot glass and are supposed to be drunk quickly. Small mixed drinks called shooters, like a B-52, are also served in shot glasses.


A lowball, also called an old fashioned, is short glass ranging between 236 and 295ml. Drinks with a single liquor, a mixer and ice are served in these. Common drinks served in a lowball glass are whiskey sour, rum and Coke and vodka tonic.


Highballs are a tall version of the lowball and range from 354 to 414ml. These glasses are typically used for Collins cocktails, Long Island iced teas, mojitos and Bloody Marys. They can also be used for cocktails typically served in a lowball but ordered "tall," meaning with extra ice and mixer.


A martini glass typically holds 237 to 266ml. and is used to serve its namesake drink. Martinis are made of either gin or vodka with a small amount of mixer. Other cocktails can be served in a martini glass for a most sophisticated presentation.


Sometimes called a cocktail glass, margarita glasses hold 237 to 266ml. Frozen cocktails like margaritas and daiquiris are this glass's staples, though many cocktails can be served in them for a celebratory look.


The hurricane is a tall curved glass holding about 295ml. Tropical drinks usually garnished with fruit are served in them. Many drinks that are served in highballs can also be served in a hurricane for a more festive presentation.


While there are several different types of wine glasses for the connoisseur, the standard wine glass at most bars hold between 266 and 325ml. A wine glass is designed to showcase the colour of the wine and allow the bouquet or scent of the wine to be enjoyed while drinking.


Bar glassware for beer, like wine, comes in a variety. The gold standards, though, are the pint glass and the stein. The name "pint" can be deceiving, because a pint is 473ml. and a beer pint glass ranges from 355 to a hefty 2.070ml. The pint glass, despite its varying sizes, is distinguished by its straight, tall appearance with a slight widening toward the mouth of the glass. The beer stein, on the other hand, looks like a tall glass mug and typically holds 295ml.

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About the Author

Based in Southern California, Daniel Holzer has been a freelance writer specializing in labor issues, personal finance and green living since 2004. His recent work has appeared online at Green Your Apartment and other websites. Holzer studied English literature at California State University, Fullerton.