The 9 Types of Drinking Glasses to Know
The glassware you use makes a significant impact. The choice of drinking glasses you make greatly influences the experience of your guests. However, there are multiple factors to consider when selecting the appropriate glassware.
What is included in your drink menu? Do you provide bar service? If so, it is crucial to have specialized bar glassware. Do you offer a consistent selection of draft beer? Understanding the different types of beer glasses and determining the most suitable glass for each type of beer becomes essential.
Every category of glassware serves a distinct purpose, contributing to the visual appeal of the table setting, accentuating the distinct aromas and flavors of beverages, and elevating the overall drinking experience.
The options for glassware are limitless. Regardless of the nature of your dining establishment, whether it's a lively bar or a casual diner, you will need a set of basic drinking glasses for water, juice, soft drinks, and more. In this overview, we provide a comprehensive look at the most commonly used types of drinking glasses and highlight key factors to consider when choosing the ideal glassware for your specific requirements.
The 9 Types of Drinking Glasses in this Article:
- Water Cooler Glasses
- Juice Glasses
- Rocks Glasses
- Mixing Glasses
- All-Purpose Beverage Glasses
- Disposable Drinkware
- Pitchers and Carafes
Water and Cooler Glasses
Cooler glasses, also known as standard water glasses, are specifically designed for serving water. However, as mentioned earlier, they can be used for various cold beverages as well. These classic water glasses typically have tall and straight sides, with a capacity of 12 ounces. Nevertheless, they are available in a range of sizes, from 10 to 25 ounces, to cater to different preferences and needs.
As the name suggests, juice glasses are specifically designed for serving juice. They are characterized by their smaller capacities, making them perfect for serving freshly squeezed juices during breakfast and brunch.
Juice glasses come in various designs that highlight the vibrant colors of the juices and contribute to an appealing tabletop presentation. Occasionally, they may be used interchangeably with small-capacity rock glasses, which are sometimes referred to as low-ball glasses (discussed below). Typically, juice glasses have a standard height of no more than five inches, and their capacities usually range from three to seven ounces.
Rocks glasses have gained popularity in everyday dining due to their versatility. They are often known as lowball glasses due to their short stature and wide, sturdy round base (in contrast to hi-ball glasses, which are taller and slimmer but can hold the same capacity; for more details, refer to our Types of Bar Glasses Buying Guide).
Lowball glasses are sometimes also referred to as old-fashioned glasses, as they were originally designed for serving whiskey.
Rocks glasses have evolved beyond their traditional role of serving whiskey and classic cocktails, although they still excel in that capacity. The name itself originated from their initial purpose of serving spirits neat or "on the rocks" with ice.
In modern times, many restaurants have embraced the use of low-profile rocks glasses as versatile tabletop essentials. They are often employed to serve water, accompanied by a carafe placed in the center of the table, allowing guests to refill their own glasses. This trend has become prominent in trendy brunch establishments and those focusing on the farm-to-table concept. Additionally, rocks glasses are increasingly being used interchangeably with juice glasses by many establishments.
Tumblers are the preferred choice for beverage glasses, commonly found in casual dining establishments. Praised in The New York Times, this type of glassware offers exceptional value for money. Many tumblers are made from plastic, making them ideal for high-volume settings such as school cafeterias, universities, hospitals, and correctional facilities.
Tumblers come in a wide range of sizes, starting from as small as five ounces and going up to more than 30 ounces. However, it is common for establishments to opt for 16-ounce and 20-ounce tumblers to cater to both small and large serving sizes.
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Restaurant tumblers typically feature straight sides, traditional plastic construction, a flat bottom, and are devoid of handles or stems.
Goblet glasses are ideal for serving water or iced tea at banquets or upscale catered events. They are characterized by their wide bowl atop a short stem and are occasionally used to serve beer at high-end bars that offer a diverse selection on tap.
It's important not to confuse goblets with tulip glasses, which share a similar design. Tulip glasses are primarily intended for serving stronger, Belgian-style ales and dark, robust beers (for more information, refer to our Types of Beer Glasses Buying Guide and our guide on Craft Beer Glasses: The Right Type of Glass for the Right Type of Beer).
Goblet glasses typically have a standard height ranging from six to nine inches, with a bowl diameter between three and six inches. These dimensions are crucial to ensure the proper accommodation of goblet glasses in your glass dishwasher rack. Capacities of goblet glasses range from 10 to 14 ounces.
Mixing glasses are widely recognized for their versatility and are commonly found in bars. They serve as a multifunctional beer pint glass and are a favorite tool among bartenders for mixing cocktail ingredients, as the name implies. Moreover, their basic tapered shape, which widens at the rim, makes them excellent standard drinking glasses.
Many establishments have embraced the use of mixing glasses as a versatile option for serving various beverages. If you're searching for a single type of glassware for your establishment, opting for mixing glasses can be a reliable choice. The standard capacity for mixing glasses is a pint, equivalent to 16 ounces. However, they are also available in larger sizes, such as 14 and 20 ounces.
Versatile Beverage Glass
Certain beverage glasses are designed to serve as all-purpose options and exhibit slight variations from standard mixing glasses. While mixing glasses typically have straight, clear sides, many all-purpose beverage glasses incorporate textured sides or patterns that enhance the visual appeal of the table setting and elevate the overall dining experience.
Irrespective of the nature of your establishment, it is always advisable to have an ample supply of disposable drinkware available for beverages on the go.
Pitchers and Decanters
In order to optimize the efficiency of serving larger groups, it is essential to consider the inclusion of pitchers and decanters. Carafes, in particular, serve as excellent self-service tabletop companions, enabling guests to conveniently refill their water without requiring the assistance of a server.