Why The Shape Of Your Cocktail Glass Is So Important

Walk into any bar and you'll notice a variety of glasses in all shapes and sizes shining back at you. Why is a martini served in elegant stemware while a whisky arrives in a short, portly snifter? Is this simply about appearance or does the glass impact the beverage's taste?

NYC bar owner Matt Piacentini pours most drinks in five types of glasses; Tales of the Cocktail's American Bartender of the Year Joaquín Simó believes you only need three: "You can make 90 percent of drinks in a rocks, a collins, and a good all-purpose cocktail glass" (via New York Magazine). Yet Home Stratosphere lists 27 different cocktail glasses; and martini glasses alone come in different shapes, from the Nick and Nora to a coupe (per Liquor). Real Simple recommends shelves should be stocked with at least 10 different varieties, and Men's Journal cuts the list down to four (the coupe, rocks, collins, and decanter). The recommendations are enough to overwhelm any aspiring mixologist. So how many types of glasses do you need for an at-home setup — and why does it matter?

An elevated drinking experience

The glass your drink is served in isn't simply a pretty display, it can impact the way a drink tastes. "Each type of cocktail glass is designed to bring out the complexities in aroma, temperature, color, and flavor for the beverage in question," advises Crate and Barrel. Glasses have functions: tapered rims of flutes trap bubbles; taller glasses show off colorful presentations, and shot glasses are made with thicker glass for more enthusiastic slams (per The Yorker). Wine glasses, as reported by CNN, enhance the tasting experience by impacting wine's exposure to air and how it is poured. And those stemmed glasses? The heat of your hand is kept further away from your beverage, keeping your drink cool and unaffected while you sip (via The Spruce Eats).

The style of glasses you store at home will depend largely on personal preference, but pay attention to the way each glass feels. Your drinking experience might be made more enjoyable with a different glass.