Whether serving a glass of merlot, a skinny margarita or a whiskey sour, we’ve distilled down the basics for a well-stocked bar
Yes, one could drink a beer out of a tall water tumbler, salt the rim of a martini glass or serve a shot of tequila in a double old-fashioned. But why oh why would you want to? Like every rose has its thorn, every drink has its barware. Not only do certain sizes and shapes enhance a liquor’s flavor, but it also certainly looks better for the drink and for you as an in-the-know, stylish host. So, forget for a moment stocking up on the wine, bourbon and limencello, and focus instead on stocking the barware in which to serve them.
There are many options to quench a beer drinker’s thirst in style.
While commonly used to serve beers and ales in restaurants, for home pours, consider the smaller and sleeker PILSNER, used primarily for lighter beers.
Have these on hand, especially for outdoor events, for the thick glass walls that insulate the brew and keep it chilled longer.
These glasses are primarily used for brandy and cognac, but do double duty by enriching the aromatics of beer as well.
“Game of Thrones” fans may go for these, a good choice for heavy malty beers. The wide opening allows the drinker to appreciate the overall flavor profile of the brew.
Oenophiles know proper stemware can enhance the wine tasting experience.
RED WINE GLASSES
These taller glasses with wider bowls provide a smoother taste and let aromas emanate.
WHITE WINE GLASSES
Smaller bowled glasses are able to maintain the cooler temperature of chilled whites and deliver more aromas due to the confined area.
These sleek stems call for the dainty sips meant for toasts and special occasions.
MIXED DRINKS AND SMOOTH POURS
This collection is both practical and pretty for stocked bar shelves.
THE HIGH BALL
Enjoy vodka sodas, mojitos and bloody marys at brunch in this tall, skinny glass.
THE LOW BALL
Reach for this short tumbler for bourbons, whiskeys or if a cocktail is ordered “neat” (meaning no mix or ice, just the alcohol of choice).
The iconic V-shaped glass is ideal for cocktails first shaken or stirred with ice and then served chilled, without ice or served “up”—take your pick of terms.
COUPE or ROUNDED MARTINI GLASS
Generally smaller and more forgiving than the traditional martini style, this glass translates to less spills from well-crafted manhattans and daiquiris.
Good rule of thumb: Pour an ounce of liquid into ounce-and-a-half shot glasses, so there is room for movement when cheering.
When stocking barware, include these accessories to keep on hand for effortless entertaining:
Immediate cleanup for potential spills from the over-served.
Necessary to mix drink ingredients and chill cocktails with ice at the same time.
Used to mash fruit and herbs in the shaker for fresh, no-mess cocktails.
This tool makes precise measuring a snap.
CORKSCREW or BOTTLE OPENER
Seems obvious, but both are must-haves. Upgrade to an electric model for bar time efficiency.
ICE BUCKET & TONGS
These functional pieces always look chic on a bar, because presentation is everything.