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6 Glasses Every Home Bar Needs

Feature: Long Read
Words by Emilie Dock

If you’re raising a glass, make sure it’s the right one. Beyond aesthetics, choosing the right shape and size can truly heighten the enjoyment of a drink. There’s a reason Bordeaux is served in a glass with a large bowl, and an Old Fashioned is best suited to a heavy-bottomed rocks glass.  

So next time you pour – and certainly before you stock the cabinet – consult our handy guide. With tips from Sandia Chang, co-founder and master sommelier at two-Michelin starred Kitchen Table, and Giorgio Bargiani, head mixologist at The Connaught Bar (The World’s Best Bar 2021), we’ve outlined the six types of glasses every home bar needs for Champagne, wine, whisky and cocktails.  

The Red Wine Glass

Contrary to what some might say, you do not need a wine glass for every region or grape. All you need to remember is that red wines, especially those high in tannins, need to breathe (or oxidise), so need to be served in glasses with large bowls to give them maximum air exposure.  

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If you want to get slightly nerdier: “A lighter style of red with a more aromatic bouquet requires a large fish-bowl glass to allow more oxygen in,” says Sandia Chang. These include Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Barolo and Nebbiolo. Tannic wines like Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Malbec are best enjoyed from glasses that are slightly more enclosed at the top. “Typically, these wines are higher in alcohol and you want to contain the hotness on the nose. A smaller opening will also prevent the wine from touching the areas of the tongue that are sensitive to tannins,” adds Chang.

The White and Rosé Wine Glass

For white and rosé wine to stay crisp and chilled, it should be served in a smaller wine glass. Look for a long stem to keep warm hands away from the wine, and a narrow circumference to concentrate the aromas and express the wine’s natural acidity.

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As ever, there are exceptions: fuller whites like oaked Chardonnay and rich Viognier should be served in a larger-bowled glass. “These wines need more oxygen to open up,” says Chang. It’s a similar story for rosé: “Always try to adapt the glass to the body of the wine. If it is fuller and denser, it will most likely do better in a red-wine glass.” 

Shop All Wine Glasses

The Champagne Glass

Flutes, coupes or tulip glasses ­– that is the hotly contested question, at least when it comes to serving Champagne. A narrow flute conserves bubbles and keeps the liquid colder for longer (perfect for parties), but traps the aromas. The coupe, albeit chic, isn’t recommended, causing the bubbles and aromas to escape too quickly. For the best of both worlds, then, the tulip (or small white-wine glass) comes up trumps. 

Champagne

“Champagne needs to be appreciated like wine,” says Chang. “You need a glass that allows the Champagne to be swirled and savoured on the nose.” The tulip does just that, while retaining fizz. 

The Whisky Glass

Whether neat, with splash of water or on ice, whisky is most often served in a rocks glass (aka a short tumbler or lowball). Heavy renditions feel especially pleasant to hold; they’re also strong enough to withstand muddling for cocktails. 

Cocktail Glasses

“At The Connaught Bar, 60% of our cocktails are served in coupes or martinis, 25% are served in rocks glasses and 15% in highballs,” says Giorgio Bargiani.  

Drinks built in the glass, such as the Old Fashioned and Negroni (“particularly popular at The Connaught”), should be served in a rocks glass that’s strong enough to withstand muddling (see whisky glasses above). “It needs to be a certain weight (one that feels balanced and good in your hand) and large enough to put a decent-sized chunk of ice,” adds Bargiani. 

The Coupe

Shaken or stirred cocktails, including Margaritas, Martinis, Cosmopolitans and Daiquiris, are best served in a coupe, as the stem means you don’t warm your drink as you sip it. “We love a martini glass at The Connaught Bar, but the coupe is more versatile,” says Bargiani. “You want it to hold 235ml; it’s best for those wary of spills and who want room to garnish.” 

coupe

The Highball

Highball glassware, also known as a tall tumbler or collins, is best for cocktails served on lots of ice, like this Peach and Basil Fizz. “It’s perfect for Italian aperitivos, too,” says Bargiani. Or any carbonated spirit and mixer, really. Anyone up for a lemon rosemary gin and tonic

Coupe
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