The Essential Cocktail Glasses You Need At Home, According To Experts

You need a variety of glassware for your bar cart. Here's what bartenders recommend.
Highball glasses, Moscow mule mugs and coupe glasses are bar cart essentials.
Highball glasses, Moscow mule mugs and coupe glasses are bar cart essentials.

Whether you just bought a bar cart or you’re looking to upgrade the home bar that you’ve had for a while, having a nice variety of glassware is one of the most important parts. After all, what’s a tasty cocktail if you don’t have the right glass to drink it out of?

There are so many different types of glasses for wines, cocktails, mocktails and spirits that figuring out which ones you truly need can be a bit overwhelming. If you’ve been to a bar or ordered a drink at a restaurant, you’re probably familiar with a few common glasses, like highball and coupe glasses. But when it comes to stocking your home bar with multi- or all-purpose glassware, there are just a few that will be super useful.

The type of glass you use for certain cocktails makes all the difference in the temperature of a drink and how strong its aromas come off. For instance, Tiffanie Barriere, an Atlanta-based cocktail educator and consultant, recommends stemmed glasses, like the Nick and Nora glass, for stirred or shaken drinks you want to keep cold without ice (like martinis or cosmos). This is because when you hold it by the stem, it keeps your hand away from the bowl, reducing the amount of heat contact.

In addition to the Nick and Nora glass, there a couple more that were recommended by bartenders we reached out. Below, we rounded up 6 cocktail glasses that bartenders believe are essential for any bar cart or home bar.

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A set of four Libbey classic cocktail double old fashioned glasses
"Whether you're sipping on a margarita or some whiskey neat, these rocks glasses are not only multifaceted, but elegant to boot," said Elissa Dunn, a Phoenix-based cocktail educator and consultant.

This set comes with four durable 12-ounce glasses that are perfect for cocktails, spirits and mocktails.
A set of four Elixir Glassware crystal wine glasses
"You might not normally think of a wine glass when it comes to cocktail glasses, but an all-purpose wine glass works great for Champagne cocktails! If you love a good spritz or French 75, a good wine glass is all you need," Dunn said.

These stemmed wine glasses come in a set of four and feature a cylindrical body to show off white, red and sparkling wines. Each one is made from lead-free crystal.
A Nick and Nora glass
"I'm a huge fan of the classic Nick and Nora glass, and Crate and Barrel keeps plenty with a good price. I enjoy these glasses because of their thin lips, ounce size and stems. Some have designs that add a luxurious look to any cocktail clear or dark," Barriere said.

This 8-ounce glass is a mix between a martini glass and a coupe glass. It's named after the iconic couple Nick and Nora from Dashiell Hamett's 1934 novel "The Thin Man."
A set of two Staglife Moscow mule copper mugs
"I think Moscow mule glasses is where you can really show your personality. I love these black ones from Staglife. The biggest thing with mule glasses is you just want to make sure they are 12-16 ounces, nothing bigger," Dunn said.

Nothing's more refreshing than a Moscow mule and these handmade 16-ounce copper mugs are perfect for them. They feature a matte black exterior and copper interior.
A set of two Riedel highball glasses
"Spice up you normal highball glass with these Riedel crystal highball glasses," Dunn said.

Ideal for drinks with large and small ice cubes, these 10-ounce highball glasses are great for Manhattans, daiquiris, sours and old fashioneds.
A set of four Viski Raye coupe glasses
"Ditch the martini glass and go straight for a coupe glass. The coupe glass is your all-purpose glass for any cocktail served up," Dunn said.

A coupe glass is an essential piece of glassware for any bar cart and it's versatile enough to use for multiple cocktails. This version takes a refined approach to the classic style and features angled facets where the stem meets the bowl.

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