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The prospect of building a great glassware collection can be overwhelming, even for the most advanced cocktail nerd. There is a range of brands, styles, and quality levels to choose from, in addition to the undeniable influence of drink trends. To help you narrow down your choices, here are the best cocktail glasses to have on your home bar.
Best Overall: NUDE Hepburn Low Ball Glasses
"Nude Glass is coming out with some really unique and gorgeous styles," says Greg Kong, head bartender of New York's Kimika. The glassware within the brand's Hepburn collection, he adds, is a go-to for the restaurant's house drinks.
Crafted from lead-free crystal, this set of sculpturesque, 13-ounce glasses is perfect for cocktails on the rocks (of any size or shape) and make for great water glasses, to boot. You can also shop the rest of the collection to streamline your cabinet—think matching highball glasses, coupes, a mixing glass set, a shaker and more.
Best Budget: Bormioli Rocco Stackable Bodega Glasses
Bormioli Rocco’s bodega glasses are an industry favorite for many reasons, and the low price tag is just a bonus. But in this case, the price is not a quality indicator by any means—these tumblers are made of ultra-durable tempered glass, and the clean, simple design is also functional, saving space in your cabinet by stacking into one another.
The mini 7.5-ounce size is ideal for any cocktail as well as water, wine and even candles. Additionally, these dishwasher-safe glasses are available in other sizes.
Related: The Best Shot Glasses
Best Splurge: JFR Glass Strada “Simpatico”
The rocks glasses from JFR Glass are not only beautiful, but they’re durable and functional as well, solid in weight, and just the right degree of thickness for comfortable, everyday sipping. Try mixing up a stirred whiskey, cognac, or aged rum cocktail and serving it in the Strada glass—its delicate linework design will make any brown spirit or drink pop. Plus, each 8-ounce, dishwasher-safe glass is uniquely hand made by glass artist Jared F. Rosenacker.
Related: The Best Gifts for Cocktail Lovers
Best Coupe: LSA International Champagne Saucers
According to Kong, a Martini does not necessarily need to be served in the traditional V-shaped glass, as most glasses are not limited to just one cocktail. “Martini [glasses], coupes, [and] Nick and Noras are all stemmed glassware commonly used for stirred drinks like Martinis, Manhattans, or shaken drinks that would not benefit from added dilution,” he says. This family of stemware, Kong adds, come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so ultimately, shopping for glasses can sometimes come down to a stylistic choice.
“Your typical ‘Martini glass’ has that classic V-shape; coupes are wide, shallow glasses and [are] often used for Champagne as well," he says. "Nick and Noras are smaller in volume and a hybrid shape between the coupe and Martini with a more sloped, rounded V-shape.” So, if you love the look of a classic saucer, go for this elegant set of 10-ounce coupes from LSA International. Note that these glasses are hand-wash only.
Best Rocks Glass: Riedel O Whisky Tumbler
If you tend to sip a lot of spirits (neat or on the rocks), cocktails or any other drink that isn’t hot, a good set of rocks glasses is essential. Kong gives the lowdown on sizes and uses: “Your typical rocks glass is going to be around the 8- to 10-ounce mark and would be used for neat pours or spirits on the rocks." Compared to this standard-sized glass, he adds, "Double Old Fashioned glasses have become more popular with the increased use of large blocks of ice for cocktails; they're typically 12 to 15 ounces."
Riedel, one of Kong’s preferred brands, makes a stunning 15-ounce, dishwasher-safe tumbler within its O collection—perfect for wine, whiskey or your drink of choice on an ice cube.
Best Martini Glass: Spiegelau Perfect Serve Cocktail Glasses
"Spiegelau and Riedel have some great glassware that is classy and affordable,” says Kong. (Spiegelau belongs to the Riedel family of brands.) Though there are other styles perfectly suitable for serving Martinis, it’s always nice to have the traditional V-shaped glass on hand for a Dirty Martini, Vesper, 50/50 and so on.
These Spiegelau cocktail glasses are wonderfully petite, simplistic in shape, and detailed with fine etching on the base—making them ideal for any type of Martini. Designed in collaboration with renowned bartender Stephan Hinz, these 6-ounce glasses are also dishwasher safe and made from lead-free crystal.
Best Nick and Nora: The Original Nick and Nora Crystal Glasses
"I love a nice Nick and Nora—I find the shape much classier than your traditional [Martini] glass," says Kong. A Nick and Nora glass is another option for cocktails not served on ice (think Manhattans, Martinis, shaken Daiquiris and the like), and the style tends to be easy on the eyes.
These classic 6-ounce glasses are made from lead-free crystal, with a design inspired by the "Thin Man" films of the post-Prohibition era. Plus, they're dishwasher safe and resistant to chipping. Pro tip: pop them in the freezer for a few minutes to chill before using.
Best Highball Glass: Kimura Kikatsu Zombie Glass
If there’s one country that takes Highballs as seriously as possible, it’s Japan, without question. So it comes as no surprise that Kong turns to Kimura Glass for Highball vessels—this Tokyo-based brand has been honing its craft for more than 100 years, offering over 1,000 different glassware styles. If you’re looking to splurge on a stunning piece for long drinks (or a nice gift), this is a great place to start. Out of Kimura’s many tall glasses, all of which are veritable works of art, the 7-ounce Kikatsu zombie glass with fine decorative etching is the most striking.
Best Alternative: KINTO Sepia Glass Cup & Saucer
If you’re looking to step up your cocktail presentation, Kong recommends investing in quality glass cups for warm cocktails; temperature can be a common oversight when glassware shopping, as we subconsciously tend to think of cocktails as exclusively cold drinks. Whether you’re serving a hot gin punch, spiked hot apple cider, mulled wine or Blue Blazer, it can never hurt to have a good teacup on hand.
Try this retro cup and saucer set by Japanese design brand Kinto. The 9-ounce cup is also microwave and dishwasher safe.
Good to Know:
“Know that you don't need to spend a lot of money to build a classy and unique glassware selection for the home bar,” advises Kong. “You don't need to overthink it. It can get very overwhelming, so if you find something you like, go for it!”
Why Trust Liquor.com?
As a wine and spirits writer, Céline Bossart has seen and tried out thousands of different cocktail glasses. Her personal favorites include NUDE, Luigi Bormioli, Bormioli Rocco and JFR Glass, to name a few.