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Stocking Your Bar: Drinking Glasses Decoded

From wine and cocktails to beer, our handy guide will help you determine the right drinking glasses for your wedding registry or your next celebration.

Deciding on drinking glasses and barware for your wedding registry or celebration can feel intimidating once you start thinking beyond your typical red and white wine glasses. While there’s no problem sticking with the usuals, I’ve always loved being able to impress guests by serving a martini in an actual martini glass or pouring a few fingers of whiskey into a rocks glass.

When it comes to actually choosing the vessels you’ll get the most use out of, though, it’s easier said than done for most of us. You might be familiar with a few specialty glasses, or maybe your knowledge goes as far as your personal experiences at Happy Hour, or, you could be totally in the dark when it comes to selecting the right glass for your drink.

So, we figured we’d help take out the guesswork and make this a little easier. From the drinkware we think everyone needs to the fancy specialty stuff, we’ve put together a handy list of the top glasses out there with our favorite picks in a variety of styles. No matter where you land on the spectrum, this guide will help you understand the basics of drinking glass shapes and sizes so you can be sure your registry reflects your lifestyle down to the last sip.

 

The Usuals

 

Pint Glass

Drinking Glasses Decoded | Pint Glass

A sturdy set of pint glasses has a place on even the most occasional beer drinker’s wedding registry.

A sturdy set of pint glasses has a place on even the most occasional beer drinker’s wedding registry.
Drinking Glasses Decoded | Pint Glass

Every home needs a good set of pint glasses — or even a variety of beer mugs — for whenever the mood strikes to crack open a cold one. Sure, you could sip your favorite brews straight from the can or the bottle, but it’s so much nicer to pour it into a frosted glass straight from the freezer. Trust me on this, you definitely want to add some to your wedding registry.

  • Beer purists, reach for a simple, classic pint glass that will complement any brew style. Bonus: it’s dishwasher-safe.
  • For a modern twist on the classic, opt for a set of double-walled glasses that are as lightweight, sturdy as they are beautiful.
  • Looking for something more modern? Add these glass beer cans to your registry for an instant conversation starter at any gathering.
  • If you really want to make a statement with something funky, we recommend a variety of Italian beer glasses made from chip-resistant crystal.

 

Red Wine Glass

Drinking Glasses Decoded | Red Wine Glass

Find a red wine glass that matches your style for a happy hour-friendly wedding registry.

I’ll be honest here: I use my red wine glasses for both red and white wine because they tend to be larger (and therefore hold more wine). That said, there’s a reason why red wine is served in a larger bowl: most of them have a more complex and layered assortment of aromas, and the wide surface area and mouth allows you to breathe in and appreciate every single one. Which definitely isn’t a bad thing if you also want to use them for your whites!

  • For those of you who really enjoy getting all those aromas to open up, I’d recommend these ballooned glasses that are a twist on traditional. (Find the matching white set here.)
  • If you want something closer to a classic but is also dishwasher-safe, look no further than these elegant flat-bottomed stemmed glasses. (Find the matching white set here.)
  • Love making a statement? These sparkly gold-rimmed rhinestone glasses are perfect for your wedding registry. (Find the matching white set here.)
  • If stemless is your thing, this crystal set by Mikasa is a classic that you’ll never get tired of using even on fancy nights.

 

White Wine Glass

Drinking Glasses Decoded | White Wine Glasses

Your favorite white wines deserve to be served in a glass that was designed to make them pop.

If, however, you consider yourself a traditionalist, I would recommend adding a set of white wine glasses to your wedding registry. Since white wines are typically served chilled, the smaller bowl of the glass keeps the liquid colder longer, and the smaller mouth preserves the floral aromas floating in the glass.

  • If you’re looking for something fancier for special occasions, these European-inspired glasses set the tone for an elegant evening. (Find the matching red set here.)
  • Got a vintage vibe? Add a variety of Italian crystal wine glasses to your registry — just be prepared to field a ton of compliments when you pull them out.
  • It doesn’t get more traditional than these handcrafted Waterford crystal glasses that will never go out of style. (Find the matching red set here.)
  • For a real statement on the table and in your hand, these bistro-inspired tulip wine glasses are gorgeous, unique, and are just plain fun to look at.

 

The Bar Basics

 

Rocks Glass

Drinking Glasses Decoded | Rocks Glass

Channel your inner Don Draper and add a set of rocks glasses to your wedding registry.

For occasions when you want to sip on your spirits on the rocks (on ice) or neat (on its own), a rocks glass is your go-to. It’s the glass Don Draper pours his evening scotch into after a long day. Its short height also makes it a perfect glass for muddling ingredients. Did someone say Old Fashioned?

 

Martini/Cocktail Glass

Drinking Glasses Decoded | Martini Glass

Shaken? Stirred? However you take your martini, you know it tastes better in a proper martini glass.

Shaken? Stirred? However you take your martini, you know it tastes better in a proper martini glass.
Drinking Glasses Decoded | Martini Glass

Martini glasses are so awkward sometimes. But, I’ll explain why it’s shaped the way it is. The classic martini is chilled and served with olives, so the shallow depth helps the cocktail stay nice and cold while giving you the opportunity to fish out an olive or two whenever the mood strikes. Plus, it’s just more fun drinking a martini out of an actual martini glass.

  • Let’s be honest, no matter your personal style, you can never go wrong adding a set of classic martini glasses to your wedding registry.
  • Fancy yourself a more unique option? I love these square, squat martini glasses that also happen to lend themselves nicely to individual dessert cups!
  • Want the traditional shape of the classic without all the fuss of that long stem? Go for these shorter Waterford martini glasses instead!
  • For those of you who really like your martinis served chilled, I recommend adding a set of stainless steel glasses to your wedding registry to guarantee every sip is an icy one.

 

Coupe

Drinking Glasses Decoded | Coupe

Get your Gatsby on with a set of Champagne coupes — just don’t blame us if your Champagne tower topples from the fun!

Get your Gatsby on with a set of Champagne coupes — just don’t blame us if your Champagne tower topples from the fun!
Drinking Glasses Decoded | Coupe

While its original purpose was for Champagne — think The Great Gatsby — the coupe has become a popular staple at bars both public and personal. These versatile glasses are a little less awkward than a traditional martini glass, so if you choose to add these to your wedding registry, you’ve got plenty of fun cocktails covered!

 

Shot

Drinking Glasses Decoded | Shot Glass

Get rid of your mismatched college shot glasses and add a proper set to your wedding registry.

I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out. Shots get a bad reputation because plenty of people tend to pour straight alcohol and shoot it back. That said, a mixed or blended shot is a whole different story, and when you do decide to serve some up at your next backyard barbecue, chances are your friends don’t want to take them out of mismatched souvenirs from your college semester abroad. Need I say more?

  • For those of you who love a good group shot, you must add this serving set complete with 12 glasses, an ice bucket, and a wooden paddle to present it, to your wedding registry.
  • If you tend to go more modern, this set of six shooters will blend right in with your current kitchen and bar setup.
  • Whether you’re a chess fan, animal lover, or equestrian, a set of horse shot glasses is a great way to start a pre- (or post-) drink conversation.
  • Love anything shabby chic? These milk-glass inspired shot glasses are adorable, chic, and dishwasher-safe!

 

Highball

Drinking Glasses Decoded | Highball

Just about any homemade cocktail feels, tastes, and looks better when it’s served in a highball glass.

While you can always use a trusty pint glass for the same purpose, a highball glass definitely has its place in the home bar. Typically used for serving cocktails with more ingredients or more non-alcoholic components, they’re also a great glass for shaking up a Bloody Mary!

  • Gotta have the classic? You can never go wrong with a gorgeous set of Waterford crystal glasses that add plenty of style to happy hour at home.
  • The subtle sloped rim of these highball glasses makes them modern and traditional all at the same time, and just like all good things, they’re dishwasher-safe.
  • For a few pops of color, add these confetti glasses to your wedding registry. Handmade in Mexico, every glass is unique!
  • Carry the shabby chic vibe throughout your entire bar with these Spanish-inspired patterned glasses.

 

Getting Fancy

 

Collins

Drinking Glasses Decoded | Collins Glass

Named for the Tom Collins cocktail that made it famous, the Collins glass is a home bar staple all couples should add to their wedding registries

Think of the Collins glass as a taller and slightly thinner highball glass — that’s really the only difference between the two you need to know when it comes to adding one or the other to your wedding registry. Its namesake, the Tom Collins, is a classic gin and lemonade drink that inspired its very own glass shape, but you can serve just about any cocktail that incorporates a variety of ingredients in it.

  • I love the retro feel of these beautiful fluted glasses — they’re almost too pretty to put away! Oh, and they’re practically indestructible. Literally.
  • Prefer a more colorful happy hour setup? Add a set of authentic handmade Mexican Carnaval glasses complete with a confetti finish to your wedding registry.
  • If coastal and colorful is your thing, this fun set of Matha Stewart So-Cal Collins glasses will be right at home at your bar.
  • There’s always the crystal route, which always makes an elegant statement. This Godinger set comes complete with a serving pitcher and metal stirring stick.

 

Irish Coffee

Drinking Glasses Decoded | Irish Coffee Mug

When cold weather rolls around, nothing beats bundling up with your sweetheart and a mug of Irish coffee.

From Irish Coffee to hot toddies and mulled wine, it’s so much nicer to drink an adult hot beverage from a proper mug than to reuse your morning coffee cup. Sure, it’ll taste the same, but there’s an added sense of authenticity when you’re served a glass mug of delicious warmth Even if they are a novelty, they’re nice to have on hand.

  • I do love the idea of serving Irish coffees and hot toddies in a proper crystal glass, so if that’s your vibe, these Godinger mugs are perfect for your registry.
  • Since the Irish Coffee mug is kind of a novelty, this classic Crate & Barrel glass is unique enough to make a statement on its own without any added flourishes.
  • On the other hand, if you’re looking for something that blends in with your coffee mugs, these shorter-sided double-walled mugs stand out just enough for a special sip.
  • This taller double-walled option blends classic design with a modern construction, making it a great addition to your wedding registry.

 

Champagne Flute

Drinking Glasses Decoded | Champagne Flute

No wedding registry is complete without a set of Champagne flutes!

I don’t think this glass needs much of an introduction, but since we did cover the coupe’s intended use as a champagne glass, here’s a fun fact: the traditionally taller, straight vertical sides of the classic Champagne flute keep the bubbles bubbly longer. And who doesn’t love a proper toast with the right glass? Honestly, this is a wedding registry non-negotiable.

  • As far as completely classic Champagne flutes go, this 12-piece set by Martha Stewart is a great bet. Think 12 is too many? Consider the extras…insurance.
  • This trumpeted flute seems over the top, yet it’s refined enough that it could be considered traditional — a perfect wedding registry option for entertainers.
  • If you live life out loud, then your celebrations are even louder! These red Godinger “Bling” flutes will match any toast with vibrance and excitement.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, couples who love a modern aesthetic will love sipping out of these stemless, architecturally-intriguing glasses.

 

Getting Serious

 

Copper Mug

Drinking Glasses Decoded | Copper Mug

Think copper mugs are just for restaurant happy hour? Think again — add a set to your wedding registry.

Let’s be honest: plenty of us order Moscow Mules when we go out just for that fun copper mug. Bring the fun home when you add them to your wedding registry — it’s a simple combination of lime juice, ginger beer, and vodka — and make your own personal version of this classic cocktail whenever the craving strikes. Served in the right mug, of course.

  • The copper mug is so ubiquitous that there’s not too much reason to mess with its style. So, you can never go wrong with a classic.
  • For those of you who, like me, seem to bump into everything, a set of classic, hammered copper mugs will disguise any dents you might make.
  • Of course, if you really want to veer from the norm, you can add these straight-sided copper mugs to your wedding registry.

 

Brandy Snifter

Drinking Glasses Decoded | Brandy Snifter

Whether it’s whiskey, bourbon, or brandy, it always tastes better when it’s served in a snifter.

You’ve probably seen these and may have assumed they’re for certain beers (at least, I’ve made that mistake more than once), but a brandy snifter is actually made for — you guessed it — sipping brandy. The large bowl is meant to be cradled in the hand, warming up whatever is in the glass, while the narrow opening concentrates all the aromas with every sip. If you enjoy your fair share of whiskeys, bourbons, and brandies, be sure to add some to your wedding registry.

 

Cordial

Drinking Glasses Decoded | Cordial

Serving after-dinner drinks? Be sure to add a set of cordial glasses to your wedding registry.

In the past, cordials were served after dinner as a way to soothe the stomach and aid in digestion, often times made locally in whatever village or town it’s poured in. Now, cordial glasses are typically employed for serving liqueurs or other strong spirits meant to be sipped slowly after a meal.

While ours is by no means an exhaustive list of all the glasses and bar accoutrements out there, we know you’ll be able to find all the staples and advanced tools for your wedding registry. Even if you think you might not get much use out of some of them, it’s worth adding any glass that catches your eye. Truthfully, you can serve just about any drink in just about any of these glasses — so make sure to have fun and be true to your personal style.

As always, don’t forget to point your wedding guests to RegistryFinder.com, where they can find all your registries in one place, plus plenty of tips and advice for the big day. Cheers to you!

 

Brittney Winters-Gullo

 

 

-Written by Brittney Winters-Gullo, who wants to learn how to make more cocktails so she can justify buying more glasses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. The ideas are ours, but we may be compensated if you make a purchase by clicking on one of the links. Thanks for your support!

 

 

 

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