If you like a tipple and you have created your own bar space to enjoy a drink with family and friends, then you are going to need the right vessel for your drink. There is no getting away from the fact that you will need glasses to serve your drink in, but you need the right home bar glasses for the drink you are serving.
I don’t know about you, but I do not want a nice cold beer served in a shot glass, or my favorite wine served in a beer glass, it doesn’t work for me. There is no law saying you cannot serve any drink in any glass, but we need some standards here at our own bar.
There is a glass for any drinking occasion, and here are the most common ones needed to get you started with your bar set up.
Beer Drinking Glasses
The humble beer glass, a must have in any bar, unless you never intend to serve beer at your bar, which would be a bit weird, even zero alcohol beer needs a beer glass. I know many people like to drink straight from the bottle, but there are tins and draft, and those that always want the right drinking vessel.
There are small beer glasses ( half pint) and large beer glasses (pint), you can also get larger beer glasses (two pints), I have experienced these in Germany and Belgium and they are pretty heavy, even before you add the beer.
The most used beer glass has to be the pint glass, but maybe that is just in my world, but you will need at least six to ten of these and the same for the half pint glasses.
The half pint and the pint glass is also available with a handle, normally known as jugs, many people like these, but others prefer the straight glass.
You can also invest in one or two pitchers to go with your beer glasses, your people will only thank you for it.
The Wine Glass
The wine glass is a thing of beauty, tall, sleek and pleasing to the eye ( especially when it is full). There are many designs of this type of glass and they come in many sizes too, I once had one that would hold a whole bottle of wine, but that just got stupid so I hid it in a dark corner.
There are three main types of wine, red, white and rose, and they are all delicious. Unless you are really fussy about your wine and the glasses they are served in, I would say that you can serve any of the wine colors in the same type of glass.
I have heard before that a red wine glass is taller with a larger bowl than that of a white wine glass, maybe I will look into that at a later date. If I like a wine glass I will buy it, if I don’t like it then I won’t buy it, and I will serve red, white or rose in all of them.
There are also stemless wine glasses, which I am not sure about and have not bought any myself yet, although that’s not to say I won’t buy some in the future.
Moving on, I think you would agree that you will need to invest in several wine glasses for your home bar, half a dozen at least.
When it comes to liquor glasses not all vessels will do for all liquors, I guess you can use a standard small straight glass to fit all types of liquor, but hey, we are way more professional than that, right?
Just kidding, but like I said, there are different types of glass design that fit different types of liquor.
There is a difference between bourbon and whiskey in the way they are made and their taste, but they do seem to share the same types of glass.
The main design is a short straight glass about half the size of a half pint glass with a variation being a convex wall giving it a slight bowl shape. Beyond this is just design, and there are many from plain straight to crystal cut and even the different makers of bourbon and whiskey have their own glass designs to consume their drink with.
I think every bar needs a selection of bourbon/whiskey glasses, and to make it just that bit more special, then you could also invest in a decanter for your favorite gold liquor, it just adds that bit more pizazz to your bar.
The Gin Glass
Many times a gin is served in a straight glass over plenty of ice and accompanied by a tonic, it can be like a half pint glass or a taller straight glass, either one is fine. A more popular gin glass now is not that different to a large wine glass, except the bowl is a fuller round shape, almost like a gold fishbowl.
Surely a variety of gin glasses are worthy of any bar.
The vodka glass can be a variety of straight glasses in different heights from almost a bourbon size through a half pint and onto a long tall glass depending on how long you want your vodka drink. A Long drink will normally have more ice and mixer whether that be tonic or lemonade etc.
These glasses can be shared with other drinks, such as gin, or even beer if it is the shorter straight half pint glass.
The other type of vodka glass is just like a shot glass, this is normally to drink the vodka as a shot, so I guess it makes sense. Again these can be shared with other drinks that you would consume as a shot, such as tequila.
The classic brandy glass is a thing of beauty like a wine glass, but with a shorter stem and a distinct shaped bowl. These glasses feel good in the hand slipping the stem between fingers and holding the bowl in the palm, but that is enough of that.
Brandy can also be served in a short straight glass like a whiskey glass, which means like vodka they can be shared with other drinks. But if you want your friends to have the real brandy experience, then maybe it is a good idea to invest in some good quality classic brandy glasses, there are plenty of different designs to choose from.
The rum glass is similar to the bourbon/whiskey glass if not the same, or at least it can be, so again a glass that can be shared with other drinks. Like other glasses there are many designs and a popular one for rum is a short tulip shape glass, which again can be used for bourbon.
Like vodka, rum can also be drunk as a shot, which means these shot glasses are going to be a must, so we will look at them next.
The Shot Glass
Short, sharp and intense, that is the contents of a shot glass.
This glass is small, but is intended to knock the drink back in one go and it is normally a strong drink, such as the drinks we have already covered like Whiskey, vodka, rum and brandy, but also drinks like tequila and schnapps. Then there is a combination of drinks mixed and served in shot glasses, almost like cocktails.
Be careful if you and your friends decide to go on the shots because they can be lethal especially if you have more than a few, so be warned. That being said, it makes sense to include a good few shot glasses in your bar setup.
The Martini Glass
The classic v shaped glass with the slender stem has always been iconic with the martini, not disilimar to the cocktail glass except for a minor difference, which is the slight roundness of the cocktail bowl on the slim stem.
We all know James Bond and the famous shaken but not stirred vodka martini’s he use to knock back. It may have been highlighted by Mr Bond, but this drink and the glass that goes with it has been a well known and well liked drink for many years.
The martini glass is a classic as is the drink that goes in it, in all its modern varieties, so it is always going to have a place in any bar.
The glass has moved forward from its classic slender stem and v shaped vessel, and although you can still readily get the classic version of this glass, there are now plenty of new martini glass designs available to enjoy.
The Cocktail Glass
We all like a cocktail now and again and there are so many cocktails to choose from, even those without alcohol which are known as mock tails or virgin cocktails, means that one type of glass just cannot serve them all, which is good news because some glasses you already have will serve some cocktails you may make.
The classic shallow martini shape glass or the shallow bowl champagne glass are used regularly with small cocktails like a Cosmopolitan or an Alexander. A Long cocktail like a Pina Colada, Daiquiri or Mojito will be served in a taller glass normally with a shaped body.
You can almost buy glasses that appeal to you in any shape or size and use them for cocktails, just don’t tell the cocktail association.
There are normally two types of traditional champagne glasses, one being a medium stem with a shallow bowl, very similar to the famous Babycham Glass, the other being a longer stem and a long bodied flute glass.
I think the second is the most popular these days and they are a must have in any bar, as is a bottle or two of the champagne itself, on ice of course.
Just like the wine glass, you can also get stemless champagne glasses, its like the flute without its stand.
Don’t forget the tumblers, they have got to be a must have in any bar.
A standard tumbler is literally a straight glass that can serve a variety of drinks from water to soda’s. I guess the straight half pint glass would be classed as a tumbler. Like any other glass there are many designs these days from shape to texture.
My Advice, invest in more than a few tumblers.
A Glass For Every Drink
Although you can serve any drink you want in any glass you want, it is nice to have the right glass for the drink you are serving. I don’t know whether it is psychological, but some drinks taste better when they are served in the glasses that are designed for them, such as wine, I prefer it in a traditional wine glass.
Champagne is not going to be enjoyed as much or be as glamorous served in a coffee mug, or is that just me?
The good thing is that even though there are different glasses for different drinks, there are some glasses that will cross over from one drink to another, or even many drinks as the medium height straight glass (half pint) can do, from vodka to pop and beer in between.
If you are buying glasses in stages, then the beer and wine glasses in my opinion should be your first stop, and from there you can gradually add other glasses such a gin, brandy and champagne. Just keep adding to your glass collection until you feel you have a glass for every occasion and every drink.
The glass is the vessel to carry your favorite drinks, enjoy them.