Online Bartending Lesson 4: Glassware

Bar Glassware for Bartenders

In bartending, knowing the proper glassware choice for individual drinks is just as important as getting the ingredients correct. With various types and sizes, each has its own purpose in a bar. Certain drinks should never be served in anything but its corresponding glass. Presentation is extremely important as well so be sure to polish all water spots and fingerprints from the glassware in your downtime.

Beer Mug

Used for serving beer, they are larger than American pint glasses and usually made of thicker glass to avoid breaking at the handle when full.

Brandy Snifter

The shape of the glass allows your hand to warm the drink to create a stronger smell of the brandy while enjoying.

Champagne Glass

With a variety of styles, the most you will use is the narrow tulip version which displays the bubbles as they escape. Other versions incorporate a larger mouth, which allows more bubbles to be released.

Cocktail Glass

Also commonly known as a martini glass, the upside down cone shape allows you to hold a firm grip by the stem without warming the drink. They are used for a variety of cocktails including of course martinis, cosmopolitans, and manhattens.

Coffee Mug

Used for serving coffee at the bar, always hold by the handle to avoid burning your hand.


Slim, straight, and tall, its most common use is for drinks with a single liquor and mixer, aka a highball. Some examples are a Seven and Seven, Vodka Tonic, or Scotch and Soda. Most bars have replaced the use of a highball with the shorter old-fashioned glass.


The distinctive hurricane glass can be used for a variety of drinks. Its name comes from its similarity to old hurricane lamps. They have a wide bowl and become narrow toward the top, but then curve back out wide at the mouth. Consider serving more exotic frozen or blended drinks in a hurricane glass to add style value to the beverage.

Irish Coffee Mug

Irish coffee mugs are great for serving warm alcoholic drinks without the customer burning their hand. The size of the glass is perfect for any coffee-based combination. The shape resembles a smaller version of a hurricane glass.


These small one ounce glasses have a stem at their base and are most often used to serve post-meal liqueurs. May also be referred to as a pony glass or liqueur glass.


This short version of a highball is used today to serve a variety of cocktails. Its name is from the drink Old-Fashioned, but has become the glass of choice for almost anything served “on the rocks.”

Pint Glass

A versatile tool for every bar, nowadays pint glasses are used to serve a multitude of drinks. Beer, long islands, soda, your establishment will train you on what they prefer served in the pint glass. It can even double as a mixing glass and even paired with a mixing tin to become a shaker.

Sherry Glass

Before and after dinner drinks are typically smaller in size, this is where the sherry glass is a perfect fit. Its 2-4 ounce size allows you to serve the right amount of aperitifs, sherry, or ports.

Shot Glass

You won’t encounter these as much for serving to customers but instead use them more as a measurement tool in either one or two ounce sizes. If you find yourself serving them out to customers, beware of theft.

Wine Glasses (Red and White)

Wine glasses vary between red and white varieties. As a bartender you should know the difference. Wine drinkers expect the corresponding glass to be served. A distinctive difference is that red wine glasses have shorter stems when compared to white. They also have a wider bowl than the narrower white wine glasses. Bordeaux glasses are designed to hold both red and white wines and can be considered an “all purpose” glass.


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