Your cocktail glassware doesn't have to be fancy or expensive when it comes to making drinks at home. If you don’t have the space or money for specialty glasses, that’s totally ok! And, spoiler, you don't have to use the "right" glass either! Here are the essential bar glasses I think everyone should have in their home bar.
The Cocktail Glassware to Keep on Hand
You can use any glassware for cocktails. There, I said it.
Having a collection of special glasses looks great and can add to the ambiance of your cocktail hour. But when it comes to making cocktails, the most important part is the drink itself.
If you’re a cocktail enthusiast, having the right glassware might be super important to you. But if you're a beginner cocktail maker, you can start small and keep things basic!
With so many types of cocktail glasses out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and think you need a full set of something specialized. But don’t worry—you don’t need an entire bar full of glasses to make your favorite drinks at home!
While I do have some special glasses (keep in mind I take photos of my drinks), I'm here to tell you they are pretty much unnecessary in almost all situations.
Basic Cocktail Glassware
These are my top picks for the cocktail glasses you may want to keep on hand. Just start with one or two and add to them over time! No need to buy everything all at once.
Everyday Marta Glasses
This set of glasses is fantastic and my family uses them not only as our everyday drinking glasses but for serving mixed drinks and mocktails too. They are so versatile!
The smallest glass, the Marta Tasting Glass, is great for serving wine in a modern way, serving juice, martinis or even can work as a shot glass.
The next size up is the Marta Double Old-Fashioned and it is perfect for serving most cocktails. It's wide enough to fit a large ice cube for a whiskey drink, but is also fine for a margarita. And this is what I grab to make a Tequila and Soda.
To the right of that is the Marta Coller glass. This is what my family grabs most often for sodas, etc.
It's also what I use when I really should be using a "tall" glass for something like a Tom Collins. And you can even make and serve a mojito in there and if you don't have a copper mug, you can make a Moscow Mule in it.
In my opinion, cocktail glassware rules are made to be broken.
And while I prefer the clear Marta glasses, they also come in a few colors and a textured version. Plus you can buy them in sets.
Short Cocktail Glasses
If whiskey is more your thing, then rocks glasses are probably essential. They are a perfect bar glass for making and serving Old Fashioneds and Manhattans (or any other whiskey-based drinks).
Short cocktail glasses, also sometimes called low-ball glasses or a tumbler, are also perfect for margaritas or any other drinks that don't require lots of ice.
I like ones that have a modern look to them. These are perfect for special occasions or just a casual night with friends.
When it comes to wine glasses, you don’t need anything too fancy or expensive. When my kids were little I only used stemless glasses because I thought they'd be harder to spill. But now I prefer a pretty stemmed glass for my sauvignon blanc.
Unless you are a hardcore wine enthusiast, it doesn't matter whether it has a stem or not. It should hold about 8-10 ounces of liquid but even the shape really doesn't matter all that much.
The flavor and scent variation that an average drinker would be able to notice is so subtle that I think it shouldn't matter the style of wine glass you use.
Even for champagne, I've had experts tell me that it truly doesn't matter if you serve it in a flute or not.
But if you love the act of wine-tasting and/or have a more advanced palette, then by all means, research a wine glass that would be better suited for you.
If space allows it, having some specialty glassware around can be fun too!
For example, coupe glasses are perfect if you love making Gin Fizzes or Champagne cocktails. These pink coupe glasses are SO so pretty. I will say they are terribly hard to hold and more than once I've spilled on myself.
I've had regular margarita glasses before but now I only use these stemless Margarita glasses. I love them for all kinds of cocktails (of course, including margaritas). These are the best cocktail glasses that instantly make everything look a little more fun even if it's a 2-ingredient drink.
And these Nic and Nora glasses are just too cute. I used them for my Ginger Tequila Lemonade. Since they have a small bowl, they also could be used for shots or with something you sip like Baileys.
They also remind me of my grandma's vintage cocktail glasses that I have packed away because I'm too afraid to use them.
If you don't have much space in your kitchen, though, then these aren't necessary—you can still make delicious cocktails in regular ol' drinking glasses!
Copper Moscow Mule Mugs
I love to serve all kinds of flavored Mules from copper mugs. They get frosty and just really enhance the sipping experience. But, if you don't make Moscow Mules often, you can totally skip these!
Shop Copper Mule Mugs
- Crystal - Cut crystal glasses are nice but not necessary. They make a great gift idea for someone who has a milestone birthday or gets a promotion, but it helps if they also like whiskey.
- Cocktail-Making Glass - I love to use a cocktail-making glass for when I need to make several of a cocktail at once. It also looks nice on a bar but you do not have to have it.
- Spritz - I love to make spritz cocktails during summer and I love to use a big, round stemmed glass (they are often referred to as gin glasses or sometimes sold as red wine glasses) to serve them. They make them feel extra fancy but they take up a lot of space for storage.
I typically only buy 2 of each type of glass because if I was hosting a themed party, I would use my set of very generic wine glasses since this gal isn't made of money.
And I'm not saying I don't want these Octopus glasses (!!!), but they would be hard to store and you may get sick of them quickly. If you want to make sure you will get the most out of them, buy glasses that are classic and not trendy so that you can use them on your home bar for a long time.
Frequently Asked Questions
It will depend on the glass but most glassware is best if hand washed. For heartier or thicker glassware you may be able to put it in the dishwasher but use care with how you place it in the rack.
It's best to use unscented soap and a soft sponge to handwash each glass. It is suggested that you dry your glasses immediately after cleaning to lessen the chance of hard water spots from forming. But I am usually two lazy for that and let them air dry and take my chances.
Making cocktails at home doesn't need to be complicated or expensive. With just some basic cocktail glassware you'll be able to whip up whatever drink suits your fancy!
New to Making Drinks at Home?
Mixing drinks doesn't need to be overwhelming! Check out these posts that will help you get started making delicious cocktail and mocktail recipes without needing tons of ingredients or expert-level bartending skills.
- The Liquor You Need for a small but mighty home bar
- Mixers to Keep on Hand to make TONS of drinks
- How to Rim a Glass - 3+ ways
- Here are 22 Easy Garnish Ideas to help you dress up your drink before serving.
- Need Simple Syrup fast? Use this drink sweetener hack!
- Learn how to use a Cocktail Shaker at home to make all sorts of mixed drinks and cocktails and mocktails.