6 Home Bar Glassware Basics for Serving Booze Like a Pro

Home bar glassware essentials.

The home bar glassware must-haves.

Sure, you could totally serve everyone out of red SOLO cups or mismatched glasses from the thrift store, like back in college, but you are a grown up now, and grownups use real bar glassware.

Bar glassware should is a lifelong investment, just like flatware and china. If well taken care of,  you and your guest can enjoy your home bar glassware at every get together you throw. Does everyone need to own a set of sherry, Pousse-cafe, or cordial glasses? Definitely not.

So, what are the essentials? While it does depend on personal taste, there are some tried and true basics to make your bar complete.

Bar Glassware Basics

1. Pint Glass

Home bar glassware essentials.

Image: Pint Glass via Shutterstock

A pint glass is essential for serving beer. While there are other special glasses for beer, like the Weizen, Pilsner, and goblet, a pint glass will do in a pinch for all but the most particular beer drinkers. Choose between the Conical American-style, which will hold 16 ounces, or the Nonic British-style (pictured above), which holds 20 ounces. The Conical glass is nothing more than the ubiquitous standard tumbler glass. It is a good multi-purpose glass as you can serve both beer and other non-alcoholic beverages in it.

2. Wine Glasses

Home bar glassware essentials.

Image: Red and White Wine Glasses via Shutterstock

If you are really into wine you may need more glasses, but most homes have a need for only two types of wine glasses (oh and champagne glasses, but more on that later). Whether choosing stemmed or stemless, most red wines can be served in a glass with a rounded bulb, while most whites will work in a more slender glass. Of course, there’s more to it than that, but most people are not going to invest in special Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Bordeaux glasses.

3. Rocks Glass

Home bar glassware essentials.

Image: Rocks Glass via Shutterstock

Also know as an old-fashioned, or low-ball glass, the rocks glass is a short glass that is good for serving whiskey over ice. It can also be used for some cocktails, like an old-fashioned, Sazerac, or mint julep. It comes in two sizes: 6–8 ounces or 12–14 ounces.

4. Cocktail Glass

Home bar glassware essentials.

Image: Cocktail Glass via Shutterstock

Sometimes referred to as a martini glass, the cocktail glass is a stemmed glass used for serving cocktails. These glasses are used most commonly for shaken or stirred cocktails served without ice. The glass is to be held by the stem, therefore keeping the drink from getting warm.

5. Champagne Flute

Home bar glassware essentials.

Image: Champagne Flute via Shutterstock

Champagne and sparkling wines do not need to be served in champagne flutes (or the more retro coupe glass), but it adds a bit of elegance to the occasion. If you choose not to invest in Champagne flutes, don’t worry, it is perfectly acceptable to serve sparkling wines in white wine glasses.

6. Highball Glass (or a Collins Glass)

Home bar glassware essentials.

Image: Highball Glass via Shutterstock

You can choose between a Highball glass (smaller at 8-12 ounces) or a Collins glass (larger at 12-16 ounces) for serving mixed drinks that are served over ice and often with a straw like the gin and tonic, gimlet, and most drinks you mix with soda.  There are exceptions to every bar glassware rule, but choosing either the Highball or Collins glass is a good investment.

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Image: Glasses via Shutterstock

Jen Wallace

Jen Wallace shares her indie life by writing about making, creating, cooking, learning, playing, decorating, and pretty much anything else that strikes her fancy from indie biz tips to the modern history of the American hemline.