So you’re trying to set up a nice home bar (long gone are the days of drinking wine out of mugs), but the process is feeling a bit overwhelming. Is there any difference between a highball and a collins glass? Are those V-shaped martini glasses actually a reasonable thing to own? What size coupe do you need? The good news is that buying cocktail glasses doesn’t have to be all that complicated — or expensive. According to Matt Piacentini, owner of the Up & Up, a cocktail bar in the West Village, his team uses just five different types of cocktail glasses to make most of the drinks on its menu. Joaquín Simó, partner at Pouring Ribbons and Tales of the Cocktail’s American Bartender of the Year in 2012, makes it even simpler. “You can make 90 percent of drinks in a rocks, a collins, and a good all-purpose cocktail glass.”
Regardless of what you make in them, the right cocktail glasses for you are a matter of taste. The first rule of thumb, says David Fudge, co-founder of nonalcoholic-spirit brand Aplós, is picking something you would actually enjoy drinking out of, because “it’s all about elevating the whole experience. For me, when you’re drinking out of an antique crystal glass, there’s something about the drink that’s more special, and it does taste better.”
To help you find your own perfect matches, we took a deep dive into cocktail glassware, speaking with more than a dozen professional bartenders and boozehounds about their go-to pieces of cocktail glassware.
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