You probably have a few favorite adult beverages. Odds are you have the glassware to match the concoction. It may be because that is how you have always been served that drink, or it may be because you understand that the shape of glassware enhances flavor, aroma, and temperature.

To set up a home bar, you don’t have to go to extremes and have all the appropriate vessels. But it does help to understand there is a reason why certain beverages are served in particular glassware. To get your bar started, you can choose a few options to enjoy many different libations.

Mugs & Cups

Hot coffee liqueur drinks are served in a tall heat-treated glass mug that holds the heat and provides more durability. Hot drinks can also be prepared in a ceramic mug just like your morning coffee. The recipe Absolut Moscow mule isn’t served in a solid copper mug just for tradition, it also keeps the beverage colder longer and enhances the ginger beer and vodka flavors. Copper mugs are a beautiful addition to the aesthetics of your home bar.


There are a variety of glasses used for specialty beverages. The list below explains why cocktails, spirits, and wine are served in particularly shaped glasses.

  • Margarita Glass: The margarita is served in a large bowl-like glass that gives it volume and is mostly aesthetic. Other drinks can be served in it, but generally, you will see the margarita.
  • Martini Glass: The martini is served in a wide-bowled glass to give the gin more air and produce more aroma. The long stem keeps your hands off the bowl so as not to warm the martini.
  • High Ball Glass: Although this is named for the highball cocktail, a variety of iced concoctions can be served in this tall tumbler. It is popular to use for a bloody mary, mojito, long island ice tea, and tom collins.
  • Wine Glass: Both red and white wine glasses have reasoning for their shapes. Red wines are served in a larger and wider bowl to give the wine more air to breathe which enhances its aroma and flavors. White wine glasses are more slender to preserve flavors and a cooler temperature. Whereas stemless red wine glasses are becoming popular, you might see taller stems on the white wine glass so your hands are not on the bowl warming the wine.
  • Champagne Glass: This unique shape influences the aromas of the champagne, but the flute also keeps the bubbles flowing. You can use this for sparkling wines as well.
  • Brandy Snifter: These are short with a wide bowl and can be used for brandy, whiskey, port, and many other cocktails. The design is used to concentrate and evaporate the aromas.

Bar Essentials

You don’t need a set of each of the above to serve yourself and your guests. Having a few basics is all that is necessary to get started, and you can add to your collection in the future. To serve a variety of cocktails, have these basics:

  • Stemmed glass
  • Tall glass
  • Short glass
  • Beer flute
  • Shot glass

Once you understand what gets served more often, you can begin adding any of the above-listed drinkware to your basics. Other unique options to add for fun include the hurricane, lowball, and fishbowl glasses.

With your new knowledge of beverageware and the effects it has on your concoctions, top off your home bar with basic tools such as a cocktail shaker, muddler, jigger, bar spoon, and a bar book of recipes. You will become a mixologist and ready to entertain family and friends in no time.

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