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The best cocktail glasses (and straws) to help you fill your summer bar

The right glasses for your high-end cocktails

A good cocktail consists of a mix of bold and subtle flavors. How humans taste these flavors is highly dependent on obvious variables like temperature, as well as more obscure aspects like how the liquid comes into contact with the tongue. To this end, the type of glass used to serve a cocktail has a great influence on the quality of the drink.

It’s not just a matter of taste either. The appearance of a cocktail also has a profound effect on the overall experience. The last thing you want to do is sideline a drink’s appearance because you don’t have the right glass to showcase colors, gradients, and trims. Luckily for home bartenders, there’s no shortage of high-end cocktail glasses.

How to choose the right cocktail glasses

First, think about what type of cocktails you and your guests enjoy the most. If you are a big whiskey lover, be sure to collect smaller glasses that can hold the size of a common dram. If you prefer fruity, tart drinks, consider wide-rimmed glasses that increase surface area and help bring out certain flavors. And of course, if you like to compare and contrast different beers and wines, you’ll need a set of glasses that work perfectly with each variety to get the most out of your favorite drinks.

Cocktail glass size

Classic bar drinks such as the oldie, martini, and cosmopolitan don’t usually have a ton of volume. For this style, it’s worth having traditional medium-sized rock glasses on hand. To enjoy bright and refreshing cocktails, you’ll need something bigger.

And while most people are familiar with the classic pint glass, many types of craft beer taste better in tulip glasses, for example. Similarly, lovers of high-end wine know very well that the size of the glass allows you to assess its body and appearance while allowing for the right amount of oxidation.

Shape and surface

The simplest example of shape influencing the quality of a drink is champagne, usually served in the iconic champagne flute. Tall, thin glasses such as flutes minimize liquid contact with air and prevent the all-important loss of carbonation. Any drink that is carbonated or includes a sparkling mixer will benefit from a tall glass rather than a wide one.

On the other hand, drinks that rely as much on smell as on direct flavor work best in wide-brimmed glasses. Allowing fragrant liqueurs and bitters to come into contact with the air helps release those critical aromatics and prepare your palate for powerful flavor every time you raise the glass to your lips.

Cocktail glass material

Simple glass is the most common material, but it is not the only one. If you have rambunctious kids or pets, or plan to drink a lot of drinks outside, plastic is worth considering. It rarely offers the same high-quality experience as glass, but it is virtually unbreakable. If it breaks, you won’t find yourself cleaning countless shards of glass from your lawn, patio, or pool.

Then there are the crystal glasses. Despite the name, crystal glasses are not made from actual crystal, but rather a subtype of glass with a chemical such as a metal oxide added to the mix. Crystal behaves quite differently from glass.

Crystal glasses generally have a higher density but a lower thickness than ordinary glasses, because the material melts at a lower temperature and remains solid even when very thin. Don’t confuse this resistance with durability, as high-end crystal is generally much thinner and therefore more brittle than regular glass.

Crystal also tends to look more sophisticated than standard glass, due to the way it refracts light. Since crystal is worked at lower temperatures than glass, it can contain more intricate designs and patterns. These patterns, together with refractive crystal offerings, can create dramatic, even prismatic effects as light plays on the glass and drink.

If you love fancy cocktails, it’s worth investing in a set of crystal glasses. Be warned, however, that they do require care not to break and are not dishwasher safe. You might also be surprised at how much investment you need to make to get the most premium crystal cocktail glasses.

The best cocktail glasses for home bars

Libbey Z-Stem Martini Glasses

Whether you’re making yours with gin or vodka, these new glasses ensure your favorite martini will look great.

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Libbey Cosmopolitan Martini Glasses

Libbey Cosmopolitan Martini Glasses

Not everyone prefers to hold stemware or worry about them getting knocked over. Consider these stemless martini glasses instead, which double as cosmopolitan or old-fashioned glasses in a pinch.

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JoyJolt Bloom Coupe Crystal Glasses

JoyJolt Bloom Coupe Crystal Glasses

These 275 milliliter cut glasses are perfect for complex, high-level adult drinks that pack tons of flavor in every sip.

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MyGift Tilt Whiskey Glasses

MyGift Tilt Whiskey Glasses

Despite their name, they’re great for potent traditional recipes like the old-fashioned. They’re not the most stable, but they add a touch of class to any cocktail.

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Schott Zwiesel Tritan Collins Glasses

Schott Zwiesel Tritan Collins Glasses

Also known as highballs, Collins glasses are perfect for fruity drinks over ice that taste better with a straw.

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Viski Raye Gin Glasses

Viski Raye Gin Glasses

There is a vast universe of gins to choose from, but they are all united in their powerful, complex aromas and pungent herbal flavors. These thin rimmed, wide rimmed glasses have enough room inside to bring out the most subtle flavors so you get more than just juniper from your gin and tonic.

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Libbey Blue Ribbon Margarita Glasses

Libbey Blue Ribbon Margarita Glasses

These sturdy, stemless options are ideal for your favorite tequila drink, whether mixed or over ice.

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Glencairn whiskey glass

Glencairn whiskey glass

The most iconic glass among whiskey lovers, the Glencairn sports a heavy base and the perfect capacity for premium liquor. Most important, however, is its shape, which channels complex, often smoky, salty, and woody aromas directly into the nasal passages.

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Regal Trunk Co. Mixing Glass

Regal Trunk & Co. Mixing Glass

A little different from the others, this one is meant for gently mixing cocktails before pouring, and includes a large measuring jigger, cocktail spoon and Hawthorne strainer.

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Riedel O wine glasses

Riedel O wine glasses

At every party, someone will probably spill a glass of wine. Serving in stemless wine glasses greatly reduces this risk. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit very specific types of adult grape juice.

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Muldale tulip beer glasses

Muldale tulip beer glasses

Thick, malty Belgians and zesty, piney IPAs both shine in this graceful glass crafted from premium, ultra-fine crystal.

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Libbey lager glasses

Libbey lager glasses

Similar to a champagne flute, but for beer, their tall, slender shape preserves the effervescence and helps bring out the freshest flavors of many American lagers.

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Best Reusable Straws for Home Bars

Reusable bamboo or non-reactive metal straws can greatly enhance the cocktail drinking experience. They will also prevent you from realizing just before the guests show up that you have a lot of ingredients, but nothing to drink with.

Bamboo Reusable Bamboo

Bamboo Reusable Bamboo

They come in two lengths and different widths, which is useful because wider straws make some cocktails taste better than thinner ones.

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Vannise Smoothie Straws

Vannise Smoothie Straws

If you like icy, mixed drinks like Hurricanes, you’ll need straws that can accommodate their chunky texture.

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Bamboo Ibambo

Bamboo Ibambo

These eight inch straws won’t damage delicate glasses and can be reused many times before needing to be replaced. They are also available in large packs of 100.

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Ello Multicolor

Ello Multicolor

With five distinct finishes, they help you mark cocktails so guests won’t mix them up.

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No Worries Atoll Straw Set

No Worries Atoll Straw Set

If you want the perfect straw for any type of drink you and a friend or family member might want, you can’t go wrong with this varied set.

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.

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