Types Of Drinking Glasses & Their Uses

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Not all glasses are created equal. Though their size and shape may appear similar, or even familiar, do you really know what each drinking glass is specifically designed for? How about their names? Ideal Home Garden broke down the most common drinking glass types and their uses. You'll find a review of each glass written below our handy infographic. 

drinking glasses stein chalice sake tankard collins dizzy cocktail martini highball juice old fashioned lowball shot glass table water whiskey tumbler pilsner pint pony champagne cordial sherry

Beer stein: More often called a beer mug, a stein might be glass, stoneware, or decorative and sold for collectible purposes. Beer steins are large, have a handle and straight sides. Some have a hinged lid. Typically, they hold between 12 and 16 ounces.

Chalice: Most often used for religious or decorative purposes, a chalice is a footed goblet often made of metal. Some have handles, though most are shaped like a wine glass.

Sake sets: Sake is a traditional Japanese alcohol made from fermented rice. Sake sets are usually ceramic, but may be made of glass. The set consists of a small flask, which is usually rounded with a narrow neck, and four cups, which are usually shaped like small bowls or short, round glasses.

Tankard: Similar to a beer stein, a tankard is a large, cylindrical drinking cup that often has a hinged lid. Tankards are a popular collectible, and can be very decorative. Many are made of silver or pewter. Tankards often have a glass bottom.

Collins glass: Similar to a highball glass, but slightly taller and thinner, a Collins glass is used for mixed drinks that have more mixer than alcohol. They are especially popular for fizzy or tropical mixed drinks. Most hold 10 to 14 ounces.

Dizzy cocktail glass: Similar to a martini glass but with no stem, the dizzy cocktail glass has a V-shape and a rounded base. Many cocktails are served in this glass, particularly the Manhattan. Most hold around 8 ounces.

Highball glass: These straight-sided, tall glasses are used for mixed drinks that have a higher percentage of mixer than alcohol, such as gin and tonic, scotch and soda or bourbon and water. They hold between 8 and 12 ounces. These are a must-have for your home bar.

Juice glass: Juice glasses are small, usually straight-sided glasses used for orange or other fresh juices. Many other shapes are also called juice glasses, including V-shaped or flask-shaped small glasses. Every home should have juice glasses.

Old-fashioned glass: Sometimes called a lowball glass, the old-fashioned is a short, squat glass used for serving drinks “on the rocks.” Suitable for many cocktails or straight liquors served on ice. Most hold 6 to 8 ounces. This is a must-have for your home bar.

Shot glass: These small, straight-sided glasses are a popular collector’s item. They are used for serving small drinks of hard liquors such as whiskey or vodka, or certain strong mixed drinks. Shot glasses are also used for measuring alcohol when mixing cocktails, and hold 1.5 ounces. Your home bar should have at least a couple of these.

Table-glass: The table-glass is made from heavy, thick glass with a faceted design that ends below the lip of the glass. It is used for any type of drink, including water, tea or alcohol.

Water glass: A water glass can be any glass used for every day purposes. Generally taller than a juice glass, and often rounded with straight sides, water glasses are available in many different colors and designs. An essential for your kitchen.

Whiskey tumbler: This is a small glass with no stem, used for whiskey or other hard liquors. Most have curved sides rising up to a narrow opening. The base can be either flat or have a small foot. Most hold around 6 ounces.

Pilsner glass: A glass for light beers or lagers, the pilsner is tall, slender and tapers towards the bottom. Most have a small foot, and hold 10 ounces.

Pint glass: Large glasses used to serve beer, these hold 16 U.S. fluid ounces, or a British pint of 20 imperial fluid ounces. Pint glasses come in a variety of shapes, most tapering down to the bottom.

Pony glass: A small beer glass that holds only 5 ounces.

Champagne coupe: Also called a champagne saucer, this is the shallow, broad champagne glass used for dry champagnes. It has a long stem, and commonly holds 6 to 9 ounces.

Champagne flute: The commonly used champagne glass, a flute has a long stem and a narrow shape rising up to a slightly narrowed lip. The champagne flute is designed to maintain the carbonation of the drink. Typically, they hold 6 to 8 ounces.

Cocktail glass: Sometimes called a martini glass, a cocktail glass is a V-shaped glass with a stem. Used for many mixed drinks that are not served over ice. Most hold between 4 and 8 ounces. This is a must-have for your home bar.

Cordial: Used for fine, after-dinner wines, cordial glasses usually look like small wine glasses. They hold just 1 to 2 ounces.

Sherbet: These short, footed stemware glasses are used for serving sherbet, ice cream or similar desserts.

Sherry glass: Resembling a small wine glass with a tapered top, a sherry glass is useful for serving sherry, port or liqueurs. Most hold 2 to 4 ounces.

Snifter: Shaped somewhat like a fishbowl with a stem, a snifter is traditionally used to serve brandy or whiskey. The stem is short so the glass can be held easily in the palm, keeping the drink warm. Snifters hold 8 to 12 ounces.

Wine glass: The familiar stemmed glasses used for serving wine. Red wine glasses are slightly fatter and rounder than white wine glasses. Generic wine glasses are normally the red wine style. Most wine glasses hold between 8 and 12 ounces. These are a must-have for your home bar.

You only need a few types of glasses for everyday use and your home bar, but if you enjoy entertaining with a full bar or a range of mixed drinks, you will want to have the appropriate specialty glasses on hand as well.

Last Updated: March 28, 2013
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About Michelle Ullman Michelle Ullman has lived and gardened in Southern California since childhood. A freelance writer, she covers topics ranging from gardening to home improvement to health issues. She also has experience as a catalog copywriter and poet. Michelle has trained and worked as a respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, but prefers to spend her time gardening, and walking with her dog. Michelle holds a Bachelor's Degree from Redlands University in Business Management. 

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