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    Updated on Apr 10, 2020. Posted on Apr 10, 2020

    The Essential Drinking Glasses Every Home (Bar) Needs

    Hold my drink! Glassware 101 is in session.

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    Home-drinking, whether done for the purposes of entertaining guests or winding down from a particularly harrowing day requires the proper method of conveyance for enjoying your preferred alcoholic beverage.

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    That means when you pick your poison, you’re going need the right glassware — a stemmed glass for keeping down the temps of a fine wine, for example, versus a much sturdier glass that would benefit your beer.

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    The “right” glassware doesn’t always have to mean the most expensive, especially when it’s prone to breaking. “Breakage is inevitable — so shop accordingly. Always keep that in mind when buying glassware for home,” says Jeffrey Morgenthaler, author and bar manager at Clyde Common and Pépé Le Moko in Portland, Oregon. (Author’s note: He’s not wrong. After my second emergency room visit involving broken drinkware in one year, I certainly try to be smarter about drinking at home, especially in terms of glassware).

    But this doesn’t mean you need a different glass for every type of drink when just a few versatile ones will do. Basic, affordable, and multipurpose pieces, like those listed below, will get a whole lot more usage than the one-trick specialty kind (see: champagne flutes, brandy snifters) before they eventually shatter all over your living room floor. And I should know (my second emergency foot injury involving broken drinkware in one year is now known around my home as the “martini incident.”)

    The Rocks Glass

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    Also called a tumbler or Old Fashioned glass, the short, flat-bottomed rocks glass is your classic hard-drinking glass. “Rocks glasses can do so many things,” says Elliott Clark, founder of the home bar-focused website Apartment Bartender. “It could be wine, it could be whiskey, it could be an Old Fashioned cocktail or a margarita on the rocks.” Look for ones in the 10- to 12-ounce range with a thick, sturdy base that can withstand a little pressure, in case your cocktail recipe calls for crushing sugar or herbs in the bottom of the glass.

    One popular option is the Bodega Collection by Italian manufacturer Bormioli Rocco, made with heavy-duty tempered glass. These are “really durable and wide enough to be a technically decent glass for wine, beer, or cocktails,” says Adam Bernbach, bar manager for Estadio restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. They’re also a good deal at around $2 each.

    Get the Bormioli Rocco Bodega Collection 12-ounce tumblers from Amazon for $24.99 (set of 12)

    The Cocktail Glass

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    A proper cocktail deserves a proper glass. “If you are just slugging back whiskeys, that’s one thing,” says Derek Brown, owner of Washington, D.C.’s Columbia Room. “But if you are making a round of martinis for friends, then maybe there should be some consideration for what kind of glassware you have.” Classic cocktails like a martini or Manhattan are meant to be served cold, without ice. So a glass with a stem is essential, lest your drink loses its chill in your hand.

    With cocktail glasses, it’s important to consider the capacity: ideally 5 to 8 ounces. “If the glass is too big, either it’s going to look empty when you make a proper cocktail, or if you make the drink to fit a giant glass, you’re going to have very inebriated houseguests very quickly,” says Greg Boehm, founder of New York barware company Cocktail Kingdom. Boehm’s own brand of 6-ounce coupes are just the right size, with a curved rim to prevent spills. At about $6 per stem, you can afford to drop one, too.

    Get the Leopold coupe glasses from Amazon for $39.99 (set of 6).

    The Wine Glass

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    Even total wine snobs now admit that you don’t really need a different type of glass for every type of wine. “I really just like a standard white wine glass for everything,” says New York City sommelier Chad Walsh of Michael Skurnik Wines, noting that a singular glass helps to level the field when tasting different varietals. The key is to notice the wine, not the glass, which you can also use to serve other aromatic beverages, like brandy or a fancy craft beer. Like chilled cocktails, your finer wines deserve a stem glass to maintain their temperature.

    Serious oenophiles swear by all-purpose wine glasses like these that cost over $100. But even the co-creator of that glass, Jancis Robinson, in her book The 24-Hour Wine Expert, espouses a more practical and cost-effective choice like a set of basic stems by Riedel, which are ideal for everyday use.

    Get the Riedel Ouverture white wine glasses from Amazon for $28.69 (set of 2).

    The Pint Glass


    The common pint is not every expert’s top pick for tall glassware. Other options, like the highball or Collins, are skinnier and more elegant looking, which is fine if you’re sticking to cocktails. But a sturdy 16-ounce pint can more than handle those same mixed drinks. You can even use it to mix those drinks. Some pros actually prefer a tempered pint glass and metal tin (the so-called “Boston shaker”) instead of a three-piece all-metal shaker.

    The pint is also useful for serving something else your party guests need: water. “Maybe it’s because I drink too much wine, but I’m always trying to drink more water,” says Walsh, who prefers a pint over smaller glasses for the added hydration.

    Then, of course, there’s the pint’s most obvious use: beer. Many popular craft breweries now package their brews in 16-ounce cans, which a smaller glass can’t accommodate. “It’s so nice to have a frosty pint glass in the freezer and then pour that big can of beer into it,” Walsh says. Think like a pub owner and always pay a little extra for the more durable, reinforced kind.

    Get the Libbey pint glass with Duratuff rim from Amazon for $17.96 (set of 4).

    Cheers! And Drink Responsibly (Not Like These Fellas).

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