There’s different dedicated glassware for everything from beer and wine to Manhattan cocktails. Aside from presentation, the careful consideration of these shapes helps to bring out the best of your booze. We put our burning glassware questions to some of the best drinks experts around to finally crack the secret of pouring a great drink.
Why do different drinks require different glasses?
Giulia Cuccurullo is Head Bartender at Artesian Bar at The Langham, one of the World’s 50 best bars. She says: “Different glasses will help the drink inside to express itself at its best. It’s all about the shape, the capacity and how wide the rim is. For instance, tighter rims are needed to preserve aromas, and a stem is needed to hold the glass and not warm the drink too much.”
David Indrak from The Cocktail Service agrees, using a martini glass as an example: “The iconic shape was developed with a few key considerations in mind. The wide brim allows the scent of the drink to release, and the “V” shape of the glass keeps the ingredients mixed.”
With this in mind, we present the best glasses for drinking your favourite tipples, all backed with expertise and advice from the pros.
Best wine glasses
What are the rules when it comes to wine glasses?
Cuccurullo breaks it down: “Red wine generally need more air contact than white wines (that’s why the glasses are larger) to help the process of releasing new aromas and maintaining the correct temperature.” In short, bigger glasses with a generous rim will help your grapes breathe.
The White Company Belgravia Red Wine Glass - Set Of 4
An ideal shape for bringing out the best body from your glass of red, this set of four are made from high-quality crystal and make an ideal set to bring out for special occasions.
LSA Borough Red Wine Glass Set of 4
A slightly unusual take on a wine glass thanks to a square bottom, there’s still plenty of room in the bowl of this glass set to allow wine to breathe and taste the way it was intended.
Dunelm Connoisseur Crystal Glass Large Red Wine Glasses
Proving you don’t have to fork out mega bucks for a great glass, Dunelm presents these wine glasses in a set of four.
Pols Potten Multicoloured Library Wine Glass Set
In chic, complementary tonal shades, this set of six wine glasses are best enjoyed at dinner parties with good friends.
As for white wine? Glenfiddich UK National Brand Ambassador and pro mixologist (formerly at the Artesian and The Savoy), Alex Walker adds: “White wine tends to be served in smaller glasses with smaller openings and less surface area, this will in turn allow the wine to stay chilled. Rosé wine can generally be served in the same glass as white wine.”
But can they? Indrak weighs in: “For the true connoisseur, there are wine glasses specifically designed for rosé. Riedel glasses have a wider centre yet are narrower at the top, which intensifies the aroma of the drink as it enters the mouth.” The more you know.
RIEDEL Vinum Oaked Chardonnay Wine Glass, Clear, Set of 2
Heighten the pleasurable experience of drinking your favourite grapes with this set of crystal glasses.
Marquis Moments crystal glass white wine glasses set of four
Pour yourself a nice glass of chardonnay as a reward for bagging this set of four glasses, now half price.
£35 | Selfridges *On sale from £70
Stölzle Lausitz White Wine Glasses Quatrophil 404ml
These elegant glasses with a long stem come in a set of six, making them ideal for home hosting or giving as a gift.
Best glasses for champagne
It may feel like a battle between flutes and saucers, and although a saucer offers opulent Gatsby vibes, all our experts agree: a flute is king. That said, there is some leeway. Walker reveals that a flute is best for “lighter styles of bubbles, i.e. Prosecco or Cava, and some lighter champagnes. But with more complex bubbles, it could benefit from a larger surface area glass, such as a champagne saucer or larger wine glass.”
Royal Doulton Linear Champagne Flutes
Use the money saved on this set of flutes (now half off) on a posh bottle of fizz. The set of six from esteemed crystal house Royal Doulton won’t fail to add a layer of elegance to birthdays and anniversaries.
£40 | House of Fraser *On sale from £80
Oliver Bonas Dora Twist Stem Champagne Flutes Set of Four
Good times will taste better with this set of four flutes from Oliver Bonas. With a gold rim and decoration detail, they’re perfect for prosecco hour.
Soho Home Set of 4 Roebling Champagne Coupes
It’s a case of glamour all the way with Soho House’s set of six couples, each holding 150ml of liquid.
Best glasses for gin
“We’re a fan of a long, tall glass for a gin and tonic”, says Miranda Hayman, co-owner of Hayman’s Gin. “We sell our own Hayman’s Vintage G&T Glasses, based on an art deco design from the 1920s, which allow you to enjoy a Gin & Tonic which is balanced in measure – one part gin to two-parts tonic – to ensure the gin flavours shine through and also keeps the drink carbonated for longer.”
While a highball is certainly worthy, “you can’t go wrong with a Copa de Balon or balloon glass,” says Indrak. “These have a large round centre to fill with plenty of ice, and a wide brim allowing the gin’s fragrance to disperse.”
For other drinks where you’re adding only a mixer and ice to your spirit, Cuccurullo recommends a highball.
ROOT7 Rainbow Gin Balloon Glasses x 2
This pretty pair of gin glasses come with an iridescent finish to set them apart from the crowd, with a gold rim tying together the look nicely.
Anthropologie Waterfall Gin Glass
Putting the joyful fun into functional, this balloon glass is fit for purpose and will bring home the likes on the ‘Gram. A single glass is a great option for those who live alone, or the only gin obsessive in the house.
Argos Home Set of 4 Pressed Glass Gin Glasses
Love the vintage look? You might be surprised to learn that you can find four cut glass glasses made for transporting gin to your mouth at Argos. The goblet style makes a posh alternative to tumblers.
Best glasses for whisky
Whisky expert Walker says there are a few rules depending on your dram. “When consuming a whisky as opulent as the Glenfiddich Grande Couronne 26 Year Old, which offers such vibrant and lively notes, the Glencairn glass, with its wider bottom and narrow opening is perfect for tasting as it allows you to truly explore the aroma of the spirit,” he reveals. “A Rocks (or lowball) glass is great for enjoying a casual dram or maybe when you want to add some ice, or make a delicious Old Fashioned cocktail, or a Highball glass for a classic Whisky and Soda”
Glencairn Tasting Glass
Deemed by many the ultimate whisky tasting glass, the shape of the Glencairn enhances the aroma and flavour of your favourite bottle. David Indrak from The Cocktail Service explains: "The wider bowl at the bottom allows you to swirl the drink, adding oxygen and boosting the flavour."
Soho Home Meynell Ribbed Lowball Glasses Set of Four
Coloured glassware is everywhere right now. Soho Home has nailed the trend with this set of four olive hued lowballs. Perfect for neat whisky or an Old Fashioned when the mood takes you.
Royal Doulton Radial Tumbler Glasses
Old school cool in a glass? You’ve got it thanks to Royal Doulton where this cut glass set can hold a generous 290ml each. Now all that’s needed is a smoking jacket and shady home library (we’ll settle for our reading nook).
Tom Dixon Tank Whiskey Glasses, Copper
Interiors king Tom Dixon nails sophisticated sipping in copper detailed whiskey glasses, which come as a set of two.
£51 | Amara *On sale from £60
Best glasses for cocktails
Whether you’re whipping up a complicated drink or muddling a spirit with a mixer over ice, a highball tumbler is the perfect vehicle. The Cocktail Service’s David Indrak says: "for ultimate versatility wine tumblers or a set of stemless wine glasses are a good option. Perfect for wine, but also large enough to hold a gin and tonic or cocktails traditionally served in a Rocks glass, such as an Amaretto Sour or a Gin Basil Smash.
Any budding home bartender should have a set of martini glasses, as these will open up a range of classic cocktails to impress your guests, like the Manhattan or French Martini."
RCR Melodia Set of 6 Hi-Ball Glasses
Elevate your home bar with this set of six high ball tumblers featuring a timeless cut glass design.
Garden Trading Four Portmore Tumblers
Having drinks in the garden? Match the look of your rattan garden furniture with a set of straw wrapped tumblers. The casing will help prevent the ice in your G&T or cocktail from melting too quickly. They also make attractive tealight holders.
M&S Set of 4 Adeline Highball Glasses
When in doubt, M&S Home seems to always have the answer. Your search for a stylish set of highballs is over with this quartet of crystal glasses.
Oliver Bonas Rosado Pink Stemless Wine Glasses Set of Four
Rose-tinted glasses are perfect for both wine and short cocktails for informal events.
OKA Tortoiseshell Glass Cocktail Set - Multi
Non-negotiable for cocktail expert David Indrak, a good set of martini glasses will take you a long way. This achingly cool tortoiseshell patterned set comes with a matching cocktail shaker for good measure.
Tom Dixon Grey Puck Coupe Cocktail Glass Set
Elevate your next home-poured cocktail into a work of art thanks to Tom Dixon's grey-stemmed coupes.
A final word: where do the pros shop?
Giulia Cuccurullo,Head Bartender at Artesian : “I really like Kimura glasses (from Japan), because I like how light they are and how thin the rim is. Recently I discovered Stölzle Lausitz (from Germany), they do nice wine glasses that are light but sturdy.”
Miranda Hayman, co-owner of Hayman’s Gin: “I’m a big fan of Oliver Bonas for everyday glasses. Their glassware collection offers so many ideas of how to serve drinks when entertaining at home. For special occasions, I love a vintage Nic & Nora - a bartender’s favourite!”
Alex Walker, Glenfiddich UK National Brand Ambassador: “I love the range of glassware from Nude. Simple, elegant design, and an amazing selection for a wide variety of drinking occasions.”
David Indrak, The Cocktail Service: “When it comes to glassware, I’m all about the products from Nude Glass. Their glasses are made from lead-free crystal which allows them to create elegant gossamer-thin glass, which remains durable and useable.”