Learn with A Bar Above

Choosing Glassware

Cocktail Glassware

While there are some general standards for how you serve certain drinks, the glassware choice is pretty subjective.  Here’s a quick overview of the common types of glassware and how they are typically used.  This table is not a “rule book” – feel free to experiment!



Use in Cocktails

Rocks Glass

 Rocks or Old Fashioned

  • Spirit driven cocktails “on the rocks”
  • Single spirit pours like Bourbon on the Rocks
  • Negroni or Manhattan on the rocks or a Sazerac
Bucket or Double Manhattan

 Bucket or Double Manhattan

  • Like the Rocks glass, the Bucket is typically used for cocktails served on the rocks that are more spirit driven and concentrated
  • Typically used in cases where the contents have been shaken, have egg whites or are cream based
Collins or Highball

 Collins or Highball

  • Used for drinks with a lot of mixer
  • Used for Vodka Tonic, Cape Cod, Long Island Iced tea

 Martini Glass

  • Typically used for spirit driven drinks that are served chilled without ice
  • Generally used for stirred drinks


  • Also used for drinks that are served chilled without ice.
  • Generally used for shaken drinks, or drinks with cream, egg whites or citrus.

Getting Creative

Photo by Dinner Series/ CC BY

Here are some ideas for “thinking outside the glass”:

  • Serve the glass in a different glass than what the customer will be drinking it in.  (Pour table-side or let the customer pour.)
  • Collecting unique & vintage glassware at thrift stores
  • Using classic but creative cups like Moscow Mule cups