Know your wine and spirit glasses

How many types of wine and spirit glasses can you name? Is there a reason a glass has a large bowl or small mouth, or is the shape simply tradition?

When it comes to wine and spirits, how you drink is as important as what you’re drinking. And glasses are a critical part of the experience. The right glass shape improves aeration, aroma, temperature, and sip size.

Literally, dozens of wine and spirit glasses exist for various beverages. Here are a dozen to consider having
on hand.

Red wine glass

Larger and rounder to permit swirling and aeration. Long stem to reduce warming from drinker’s hand.

White wine glass

Smaller mouth area to reduce aeration and oxidation, preserving the light, delicate notes.

Sparkling wine glass

Also known as flute glasses, the very small mouth and tall bowl preserve bubbles longer.

Cocktail glass

The large, cone bowl maximizes the release of aromas and places them near the drinker’s nose when drinking.

Highball glass

These tall glasses provide more space for nonalcoholic elements like mixers and ice.

Lowball glass

Often called rocks glasses, their heavy base comes in handy for drinks requiring muddling.

Irish coffee glass

Heat-resistant glass and a handle allow for holding hot drinks more comfortably.

Hurricane glass

Named for hurricane lamps, their shape is a tradition evoking their New Orleans origins.

Martini glass

Similar to cocktail glasses, but with a larger bowl to permit martinis’ larger serving sizes.

Margarita glass

The traditional way to serve margaritas, less common now that a wide variety of glasses are used.

Glencairn glass

Patterned after traditional nosing glasses, the wide bowl helps expose a whisky’s color and aromas.

Snifter glass

For brown spirits, the short stem, large bowl, and thin glass encourage warming from the hand, as well as swirling.

To shop glassware in-store or online, visit