types of drinking glasses and how to use them

Types Of Drinking Glasses And Cups: How To Use Them Right

who this class is for

Waiters, bartenders, hospitality staff, guests, house-party hosts

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About this micro-class

There are numerous types of drinking glasses and cups available, each designed for specific beverages and occasions. Here is a list of common types of glasses and cups and, and how to appropriately use them.

1. Common types of glasses at the dining table

On a formal table setting, you are likely to find a glass for water or soft drinks and one glass for each wine that will be served. Use them according to the general rules of drinking glass etiquette.

Water glass

Description: Typically a straight-sided, cylindrical glass.

Average Size: 8 to 12 ounces (240 to 355 ml).

Use: For serving still or sparkling water at meals.

Tumbler

Description: A short, wide, and usually cylindrical glass.

Average Size: Varies but often 8 to 12 ounces (240 to 355 ml).

Use: For serving a wide range of beverages, including juices, soft drinks, and cocktails.

Usage: Hold it by the body, and use it for casual drinks or mixed cocktails.

Red wine glass

Description: A larger wine glass with a wide bowl.

Average Size: 12 to 24 ounces (355 to 710 ml).

Use: For serving red wines. The wider bowl allows the wine to breathe.

Usage: Hold by the stem.

White and rosé wine glass

Description: A smaller wine glass with a narrower bowl than red wine glasses.

Average Size: 8 to 12 ounces (240 to 355 ml).

Use: For serving white and rosé wines, preserving their crispness.

Usage: Hold by the stem to prevent warming the wine with your hand.

Flute glass

Description: A tall, narrow glass with a long stem.

Average Size: 6 to 8 ounces (180 to 240 ml).

Use: For serving sparkling wines and champagne.

Usage: Hold by the stem to maintain the wine’s carbonation.

Saucer glass (or coupe glass)

Description: A shallow, broad glass with a short stem.

Average Size: 4 to 8 ounces (120 to 240 ml).

Use: Historically used for champagne cocktails and desserts.

Usage: Hold by the stem and enjoy cocktails or desserts elegantly.

2. Types of glasses for cocktails and alcoholic drinks

There are several types of specialized glasses. Each one of them is dedicated to a specific type of drink.

Specialized glasses are common in bars, cafes, drinking parties, and similar venues or events, while they are uncommon at the dining table.

Pint glass

Description: A straight-sided, cylindrical glass with a wide mouth.

Average Size: 16 ounces (473 ml) for a US pint, and 20 ounces (568 ml) for an imperial pint.

Use: For serving a variety of beers, including ales and lagers.

Usage: Hold by the body.

Tulip glass

Description: A stemmed glass with a flared, tulip-shaped bowl.

Average Size: 10 to 16 ounces (300 to 475 ml).

Use: Primarily for serving aromatic and flavorful beers, such as Belgian ales, IPAs, and stouts.

Usage: Hold by the stem to maintain the beer’s temperature.

Stein glass

Description: A large, often decorative, and traditionally made of stoneware or glass with a lid and handle.

Average Size: Varies, but it can hold multiple pints (e.g., 32 ounces or 1 liter).

Use: Historically used for serving beer, especially in German beer halls and festivals.

Usage: Hold by the handle, and the lid helps keep insects out and prevents spills in crowded settings. Steins are often associated with communal drinking.

Snifter

Description: A stemmed glass with a wide bowl and narrow top.

Average Size: 6 to 12 ounces (180 to 355 ml).

Use: For sipping and enjoying aromatic spirits like brandy and cognac.

Usage: Hold by the stem to warm the contents slightly and release the aroma.

Whiskey glass (old fashioned glass)

Description: A short, heavy-bottomed glass, often with a thick base.

Average Size: 6 to 10 ounces (180 to 300 ml).

Use: For serving whiskey and other spirits.

Usage: Hold the glass, and you can add a small amount of water or ice, depending on your preference.

Martini glass

Description: A stemmed, triangular glass with a wide rim.

Average Size: 4 to 7 ounces (120 to 210 ml).

Use: For serving martinis and other cocktails.

Usage: Hold by the stem to keep the cocktail cold and avoid warming it.

Margarita glass

Description: A stemmed glass with a wide, shallow bowl and a salted rim.

Average Size: 8 to 12 ounces (240 to 355 ml).

Use: For serving margaritas, a popular cocktail made with tequila.

Usage: Hold by the stem and enjoy sipping from the rim with a salted or sugared edge.

Highball glass

Description: A tall, straight-sided glass with a wide mouth.

Average Size: 10 to 16 ounces (300 to 475 ml).

Use: For serving highball cocktails, mixed drinks, and non-alcoholic beverages.

Usage: Hold by the body, and it’s ideal for drinks with a lot of ice and mixers.

Goblet

Description: A large, stemmed glass with a wide bowl.

Average Size: Varies, but often larger than wine glasses.

Use: For serving a wide range of beverages, including wine, beer, and mixed drinks.

Usage: Hold by the stem, and it’s often used for more substantial or decorative drinks.

Mason jar

Description: A glass jar with a handle and screw-on lid.

Average Size: Various sizes available.

Use: For serving cold beverages, including cocktails and iced tea.

Usage: Typically used for casual, rustic presentations.

Shot glass

Description: A small, thick-bottomed glass.

Average Size: 1 to 2 ounces (30 to 60 ml).

Use: For serving strong alcoholic shots.

Usage: Drink the content in one go.

Irish coffee glass

Description: A glass with a handle, often thicker to handle hot liquids.

Average Size: 8 to 10 ounces (240 to 300 ml).

Use: For serving Irish coffee, hot toddies, and other hot cocktails.

Usage: Hold by the handle to prevent burns and enjoy hot beverages.

3. Common types of cups

Coffee mug

Description: A handled ceramic or porcelain cup.

Average Size: 8 to 12 ounces (240 to 355 ml).

Use: For serving coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.

Usage: Hold by the handle to avoid burning your hand with hot liquids.

Espresso cup

Description: A small, typically ceramic or porcelain cup.

Average Size: 1 to 2 ounces (30 to 60 ml).

Use: For serving single shots of espresso.

Usage: Hold with your fingers and enjoy the concentrated coffee.

Cappuccino cup

Description: A larger cup than espresso, often with a handle.

Average Size: 6 to 8 ounces (180 to 240 ml).

Use: For cappuccinos, which consist of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam.

Usage: Hold by the handle and savor the creamy coffee layers.

Teacup

Description: A cup with a matching saucer, often made of porcelain.

Average Size: 6 to 8 ounces (180 to 240 ml).

Use: For serving tea, including black, green, or herbal tea.

Usage: Hold the handle and use the saucer for placing used tea bags or stirring spoons.

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