While bartenders rightfully focus on what’s inside the glass, sometimes the vessel holding the drink has a story to tell too. From elegant history-inspired stemware to a Warhol-style Campbell’s soup can, these are 10 creative drink containers that showcase a bar’s personality.
Particularly at Annex at GreenRiver (as opposed to the main bar), most drinks are presented in vintage stemware purchased from Etsy and antique shops from around the country. “At Annex, the team stays away from crazy garnishes or obscure vessels,” says a representative for GreenRiver. Using graceful but not overwrought glasses “puts the focus on the harmony between the glass and what is in it.”
Shorthanded as a “cocktail carry-on,” the suitcase functions as a tray for a large-format cocktail, and the presentation certainly is eye-catching. It pays homage to the bar’s location—the site of the original 1893 Santa Fe Railroad’s La Grande Station—and the overall train-inspired theme of the bar, which seeks to channel the romance and luxury of early 1900s railway history.
As part of an ongoing series of art-house-style silent cinema screenings, the hotel rolled out themed cocktails to accompany the film of the month. The March feature, Andy Warhol’s Factory Girl, was accompanied by the Muse (Four Pillars Rare dry gin, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, grapefruit, orange and cinnamon), served in a bespoke Campbell’s soup can.
The slogan of farm-to-table steakhouse Urban Farmer is “nice to meat you.” So it makes sense to see the Bloody Matador, a Bloody Mary–style drink served in a bison “drinking horn.” About that drink? It features house-smoked peppercorn vodka, house-made Bloody mix and a carnivorous garnish that could double as a meal: a skewerful of 120-day-aged bone-in bison short rib jerky, a panko-crusted onion ring, a cream-cheese-stuffed pickled jalapeño and a deviled egg topped with candied bacon.
Since opening in December 2016, this sprawling casino housing multiple bars has already developed something of a reputation as Las Vegas East. That means plenty of splashy drinks to keep visitors entertained, including this concoction, dubbed merely the Smoke. It’s a mix of Deanston 14-year-old single-malt scotch, demerara syrup and organic bitters, which are infused with smoke from ignited applewood chips. But it wouldn’t have the same impact without the Sherlock Holmes glassware, sourced from London, in the shape of a pipe.
You know a bar doesn’t take itself too seriously when it uses an emptied honey bear squeeze bottle to serve a drink—in this case, Kikori Japanese whisky, lemon, grapefruit, yuzu marmalade and pink peppercorn honey syrup (you knew the honey had to be in there somewhere). The drink is poured over crushed ice and topped with a fluffy sprig of dill.
Las Vegas isn’t afraid of a little sleight of hand, so how about a coffee cocktail that could be mistaken for an ordinary cuppa joe, right down to the old-school paper cup? Located within The Venetian hotel, The Dorsey features a drink menu curated by Sam Ross of New York City’s Attaboy. With good reason, this drink, made with cold-brew coffee (natch), rum, vanilla and Amaro CioCiaro, is listed under the “conversation pieces” section of the menu.
Yes, every tropical-themed bar features Tiki mugs. But they usually depict more cheerful subjects than hollow-eyed skulls and grumpy fish. The skull holds Paul McGee’s Viking Fogcutter (Krogstad Festlig aquavit, white rum, cognac, orgeat), while the fish holds Erin Hayes’ Some Days Last a Long Time (scotch, sherry, coconut and absinthe).
Absinthe-focused boite Maison Premiere added a few new cocktails to the menu, and with its trademark obsessive attention to detail, it added new glassware, too. Each glass has a specific historical reference, from a Belle Epoque–inspired Champagne flute to hold the Maison Suissesse to an elegantly etched Nick & Nora glass that channels Victorian-era tableware to a stemmed Adonis glass sized to hold a large ice cube—a late 1800s style that might have been seen at a fine-dining establishment.
This 10-seat bar bills itself as a “bartender’s playground” and isn’t tied to a specific theme. So it makes sense that the bar team is encouraged to pick up cool glasses on their own and contribute them to the bar. The mismatched look wouldn’t work at every bar, but here the sense of playful chaos works.
Mixing your cocktail