Glasses come in a huge variety of shapes and styles, and each glass is designed do serve one or more specific purpose—holding the right amount of liquid, adding a touch of elegance, enhancing the bouquet of a drink, et cetera.
These are the most common glasses, and all of them can be found at a relatively inexpensive cost.
If you’re just getting started, I’d recommend that you start on the cheap side and get as many types of glasses as you can—budget and space are the two most pressing variables. Then upgrade with better quality glasses once you found your favourite drinks and your signature cocktails.
Beer mug – Typically used for German beers, they’re large, heavy, and come with a big handle.
Tulip pint glass – It’s the glass you’ll have your beer in in the vast majority of British pubs. Great to have them at home to give your guests that timeless pub feeling, especially if you host them at home to watch some events together, i.e. a football match.
Pilsner glass – Tall, V-shaped glass originally designed for a Czech lager.
Craft ale glasses – With the craft beer trend spreading all over the world, your glass collection can’t miss these. Somewhat similar to wine glasses, but usually with a shorter and thicker stem.
Wine glasses normally have a stem and a bowl to allow swirling.
Glasses for spirits
Old fashioned glass – This is a short tumbler, and comes with a heavy bottom. It’s the traditional glass for whisky, although I personally prefer the Glencairn for the most sophisticated single malts.
Glencairn glass – Contemporary whisky glass, designed to swirl Scotch whisky and traps the smell inside the glass itself.
Brandy snifter – Also known as Cognac glasses, because Cognac is the most popular variety of brandy. It has a short stem, The bowl is wider at the bottom and a narrower at the top.
Shot glass – Small glass for shots or shooters (i.e. vodka, tequila, rum).
Glasses for cocktails
Cocktail / Martini glass – It’s the quintessential glass for serving shaken cocktails, with its legendary conic shape, and its thin and long stem.
Collins glass – Tall, narrow and cylindrical, the Collins is particularly used with summer coolers (i.e. Mojito and Iced Tea).
Highball glass – Taller than an Old Fashioned glass, and shorter and wider than a Collins glass.
Hurricane glass – With its short stem and a curved vessel that resembles a hurricane—wide at the bottom, narrower towards the top, and slightly wider again at the top. A must if you like tropical drinks.
Margarita glass – Similar to a Martini glasses, but with a T-shaped vessel.
Sherry / Port glass – Short-stemmed glass, traditionally used for fortified wines and aperitifs.