The Basics Bar Tools

9 Clever and Sometimes Over-the-Top Cocktail Glasses. All Being Used Around the Country.

Loaded to the Gunwalls at The Aviary in Chicago and New York City.

When is a glass more than just a glass? When it’s popping with personality and can draw attention from across the room—and across the country. Creative drinking vessels have grown ever more elaborate lately, making for a cocktail experience that’s sometimes silly but always memorable. These are the nine wackiest cocktail vessels around the country.

  • Gummi Bear (Second Best, Detroit)

    Will Lee, the beverage director of Second Best and Grey Ghost in Detroit, was inspired by dive bar shots when creating this fruity concoction. He starts with a house-made raspberry-infused vodka, then mixes in peach schnapps, citrus and 7Up and serves it over pebbled ice in a honey bear. The only question is if you should hug it or drink it.

  • Ay, Chihuahua (701West, New York City)

    Evan Sung

    Presented on a bed of wheatgrass and edible flowers, this glass squash holds Salvatore Tafuri’s refined take on a Spicy Margarita. Tinged with shishito pepper syrup and a dropper of jalapeño tincture, its base is long-aged Don Julio 1942 tequila.

  • If Can, Can (Trailblazer Tavern, San Francisco)

    At Trailblazer Tavern in San Francisco’s Salesforce Building, the SPAM for musubi is made in-house. But the restaurant pays cheeky homage to the Hawaiian classic in the form of a refreshing rum, lime, pineapple and orgeat drink created by Brian Means and served in a SPAM can at happy hour.

  • Studio 54 (Canon, Seattle)

    Jamie Boudreau

    Jamie Boudreau often starts with the vessel, not the recipe, when crafting drinks for his iconic Seattle bar Canon. He says he just “scours the web looking for unusual items that could hold liquids.” Here, a disco ball is filled with dark rum, cherry cola, falernum and lime, plus a heavy dose of Angostura bitters.

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  • Mule (Roof at Park South, New York City)

    Will Engelmann

    Rafa García Febles serves his spin on the Moscow Mule, made with turmeric-infused vodka, ginger liqueur, demerara syrup, lime and ginger beer, in a ceramic mule. It’s big enough to serve four people.

  • Den After Dark (Sycamore Den, San Diego)

    Arlene Ibarra

    We wouldn’t recommend drinking from just any lamp, but the globe-shaped one used at Sycamore Den is specially designed for this purpose—it even has four portholes for multicolored Pyrex straws. The sharable drink inside, created by Jesse Ross, brings together fresh tangerine and lime, clove syrup, Jägermeister and vodka.

  • The Waterbury Royale (Freehold, New York City)

    Danielle Bohy

    Sure, you’ve shared a punch bowl. But what about a swan? At Freehold in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, this large-format drink, created by Brad Gallagher and Brice Jones, refreshes a crowd, bringing together fresh watermelon juice, lime, sparkling wine and vodka. For a bit of extra fun, it’s garnished with watermelon Sour Patch Kids in addition to lime wedges.

  • Pickleback (The Cottonmouth Club, Houston)

    Hunter Klaus

    The method here is “shoot-shoot-chomp,” says bar director Michael Neff of The Cottonmouth Club. You start with Slane Irish whiskey, then finish off with a dram of dill pickle juice served in a hollowed-out pickle. “It definitely has its own fan club at this point,” says Neff.

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  • Loaded to the Gunwalls (The Aviary; Chicago, New York City)

    Loaded to the Gunwalls at The Aviary in Chicago and New York City.

    Is it a cocktail? A ship in a bottle? At The Aviary, it’s both, with a dramatic presentation to match the vessel. The drink brings together house-made hazelnut orgeat with Batavia arrack, bitters, pineapple and lime. Before pouring out the bottle’s contents, they spray a mace tincture through a candle flame onto the ceramic serving cup.