Bartender Need To Know Their Glassware
There is no need for a video here. When you’re out and about, take a good look at what different types of glasses different bar’s use. You’re going to find a lot of similarities. I have added some pictures here of real cocktails in their proper glass.
Rookie Mistakes: Having no clue about basic bar glassware. It’s not rocket science here. I’ve seen rookie bartenders (or unprofessional EXPEREINCED bartenders), argue with their customers over which glass to put a drink in. Really? They want a vodka tonic in a brandy snifter? Do it!
Don’t spend a lot of time on this! Most bars have around 10 types of drink/cocktail glasses as well as one or two types of coffee cups, two types of beer glasses, and 2 or three types of wine glasses (including champagne glasses). Craft bars may have tons of different types of glassware. We “in the trenches” bartenders mostly deal with the same types of glassware.
Every bar owner is different. Some will have the absolute minimum types of glasses on hand – others go all out. They will also stick with a certain size for everything. Your bar trainer will clue you in on everything your very first shift. Easy stuff.
Take a quick look below at standard bar glassware and move on. All bars are different! It’s the bar owner who usually decides on which types of glassware to use. The highball, Collins (talls/Zombie), rocks, and bucket glasses will most likely match in style. The other (stemmed) glassware will also be similar.
Common Bar Cocktail Glasses
Whiskey sour, vodka sour, Daiquiri’s, etc. Around 10 ounces, and stemmed. Many bars also use these types of glasses for Martinis and Manhattan’s.
Some bars will even use this type of glass for margaritas. The drink shown here is a blended cosmopolitan.
Vodka Tonic, Jack and Coke, Screwdriver. Many bars have either a highball glass or a bucket glass – not both. It’s an efficiency/space thing. Around 10 ounces.
The drink drink shown here is a screwdriver with a cherry in a Specialty or “Poco Grande” glass.
3. Lowball (Rocks)
Scotch on the rocks, bourbon rocks, vodka martini on the rocks. Anything the customer wants “on the rocks.” Around 7 – 8 ounces. Also used when they call out something “neat.” Never use a shot glass for “neat!”
This glass is many times used as a “beer back.” The drink shown is a bourbon rocks in a “stemmed” type rocks glass.
4. Bucket (Tumbler)
Any kind of drink that you would use a highball for. Around 10 ounces. Commonly ordered as “Give me a bourbon water in a bucket.” It’s just shorter and fatter than a highball glass, and these days more popular.
The drink shown here is in a bucket glass. Note: Many customers have this crazy idea that by ordering their drink in a “bucket” that they will get more booze. Much like ordering a drink “tall.” Careful!
5. Collins and Tall Cocktails
Tom, Vodka, and John Collins, Long Island Iced Tea (if not in a specialty glass), mojitos, anything the customer wants “Tall.” Around 12 – 16 ounces. If the bar doesn’t use Specialty/Poco Grande/Hurricane glasses – they’re going to use this type of glass.
Many bars will use the pint beer glass for this type of drink – thus keeping types of glassware to a minimum. The drink shown is a type of “Zombie.” drink.
6. Coffee Mugs
Anything hot served in this type of glass. Plain coffee & tea, Hot Toddy, Kahlua and Coffee, Irish Coffee, etc. Most bars will have just one type of coffee mug. May be made of glass, but I’ve seen all kinds. Some are very expensive – so keep an eye on them!
Notice the types of coffee mugs here. And the special creamer container. Bars can get really creative with their coffee mugs.
Martinis and gimlets. Around 5-7 ounces. Many bars use this for their “cocktail,” sour, and daiquiri drinks. Also lemon drops, cosmopolitans, kamikaze’s, etc.
The drink shown is a chilled Gordon’s Gin Martini with an olive. Simple. Looks like they’re using a toothpick instead of a cocktail pick.
Specifically for margaritas, but many bars use them for daiquiris and some specialty drinks. Around 10 – 12 ounces. Margarita on the rocks are popular drinks – use a bucket glass. Some bars will use a specialty glass – or some sort of “exotic” type glass.
Some bars may also use a “tall” glass or a 16 oz beer glass. This margarita for two is in a 20 ounce beer schooner. All bars are different!
9. Poco Grande/Specialty/Hurricane
Used for specialty drinks. Mai-Tai’s, Hurricanes, Zombies, Long Island Iced Teas, and many times margarita’s. Around 12 – 14 ounces. More than likely, the restaurant “Drink Specials” will use this type of glass
The drink shown is a blended strawberry margarita. Looks to me like it’s very thick. Nice!
Brandy/Cognac, some “warm” drinks. Around 10 ounces, but some bars have huge glasses. Many people like a good scotch or bourbon in this type of glass. Give them what they want.
The drink shown is a cognac served in a brandy snifter. Yes, you will get customers asking for many types of drinks in a “cognac” glass. Because it’s “cool” I guess.
11. Cordial/Pousse Café
Really, the cordial and “Pousse Cafe” glasses are two different types of glasses, but the bar will probably carry only one. Some bars don’t carry them at all because of theft.
Anywhere from 1 – 5 ounces. Layered drinks, maybe some hot drinks, colorful drinks, flaming drinks. Even specialty “shots.”
12. Shot Glasses
Usually anywhere between one and 2 ounces. “Give me a shot and a beer.”
Shown here is a couple of shots of tequila. Notice that they’re served with a pre-cut lemon slice instead of a lime.
You’re going to pour a lot of “shots.” The key here is to pour what the bar owner wants you to pour – in the proper sized shot glass. No waste!
Taller and thinner than regular shot glasses. Could be anywhere between 1 and 5 ounces. Specialty shots.
The shooters shown here could be anything – topped with Bacardi 151 rum.
Bar Wine Glasses
Generally speaking, white wine glasses are thinner and taller. Red wine glasses are shorter and wider. Unless you’re working in a fine-dining establishment or a craft bar, most bars will have one – maybe two different types of wine glasses. And one type of Champagne glass.
Red Wine Glasses
Wine is usually poured at around 5-6 ounces, but the glassware will be around 8 – 10 ounces. Again, the bar owner will determine what size glass and how much wine to pour. I’m no wine connoisseur, but I do know that a wider glass is supposed to allow the wine to “breathe.”
The wine shown is a deep red wine (probably burgundy), in what looks like some very dirty glasses! (Notice the water spots – not good!)
White Wine Glasses
Same as red wine, but generally not as big or wide. Around 8 – 10 ounces. Remember – a proper pour on the wine is usually around 5 – 6 ounces.
Bartenders will argue all day long on what type of glass to use with whatever wine. At the end of the day, use whatever your boss instructs you to use.
By the way – wine is one of the easiest drinks to “overpour.” Just like alcohol, some of your customers want that glass filled to the brim. Follow procedure!
Could be anywhere between 6 and 12 ounces. Larger glasses for a Mimosa (Champagne and Orange Juice). The drink shown is a simple glass of champagne in a “flute.”
Again, pour around 5 – 6 ounces. Many bars will serve Mimosa’s in a specialty glass – maybe even a tall or “Collins” glass. Go with the flow.
Bar Beer Glasses
I’ve seen so many types of beer glasses in bars. They come in all sizes and shapes. Most tap beer glasses will be either 12 – 14 ounces (just like bottled beer), or a pint – 16 ounces. Schooners may be 18 – 20 ounces.
The bar owner determines the size of the glass, and many bars use the pint glass as their “tall” cocktail glass. The 16-ounce beer/tall glass can also be used as the bartender’s mixing glass.
Pilsner Beer Glass
Beer Pint Glass
Beer Schooner Glass
That’s it. Go out and observe working bartenders using their glassware. You’ll understand all of this “glassware” stuff on your very first bartending shift.
If you’re following along in the Basic Bartending Course:
Next Lesson: Shaking/Stirring/Building/Muddling/Straining
Previous Lesson: Cutting Bar Fruit
Back to the Course Start Page: Basic Bartending Course