Looking to class up your alcohol consumption? Don’t just focus on the drink itself (although, yes, please do that). Focus on how you present the drink as well. Because, let’s face it — you’re better than Franzia in a Solo cup.  Here’s your quick and dirty guide to glamorous glassware.

Large, Wide Wine Glass: Red Wine

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Gif courtesy of giphy.com

These stemmed glasses are large and bowl-shaped. The large bowl allows for proper swirling, and the wide brim maximizes the exposed surface area, releasing as much aroma as possible.

Smaller, Narrower Wine Glass: White Wine

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Photo by Steven Baboun

This glass is similar to the red wine glass, but is typically smaller and narrower. The narrow, curved shape helps keep it cool and concentrates the delicate aromas of the drink. Holding the glass by the stem prevents heat transfer from your warm hand to the chilled wine.

Champagne Flute: Champagne, Sparkling Wines

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Photo by Stephanie DeVaux

This tall, narrow, stemmed glass is ideal for carbonated beverages such as champagne and sparkling wines. The narrow shape minimizes surface area, allowing the drink to maintain its carbonation for as long as possible. The long stem helps the drink stay cold.

Pint, Pilzner, and Weizen Glasses: Beer

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Photo by Michael Fajardo

These glasses are all similar with slight variations in size and shape. They are larger than most types of alcoholic glassware, but not as large as mugs. The fairly tall, narrow shape allows for proper head formation when the beer is poured in, which also activates the carbonation. Foam and carbonation both enhance the aroma and flavor of the beer.

Glass Mugs: Lots of Beer

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Photo by Kompania Piwowarska

These wide, cylindrical mugs have thick glass walls and a handle on the side. They are intended to hold a LOT of beer, which is acceptable because beer doesn’t have a very high alcohol content. The thick, insulated walls and handle help keep the amber liquid cold. These mugs have heavy, durable bottoms, and are able to withstand the impact of being victoriously slammed onto the bar counter. Hofbrauhaus, anyone?

Snifter/Cognac Glass: Heavy Spirits (Brandy, Whiskey), Intense Beers

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Photo by Judy Holtz

This glass, with its short stem and wide, round bowl is designed to be cupped in your hand, as the spirits which are typically served in them are best when slightly warmed. The wide bowl allows for swirling to release aromas, which get trapped at the narrow lip and are released as the drinker sips. As the shape is very conducive to aroma release and foamy head formation, it is sometimes recommended to serve beers such as ales and stouts in these as well.

Lowball/Rocks/Old Fashioned Glasses: Boozy Cocktails, Rocks Drinks

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Photo by Danielle Scott

This short, heavy, round glass is perfect for serving boozy cocktails (more alcohol than mixer) and liquor on the rocks (undiluted, on ice). The large rim allows aromatics to release their scent, and accommodates large cubes of ice with room for stirring.

Highball and Collins Glasses: Less Boozy Cocktails

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Photo by Jackie Fu

These tall, thin glasses are typically used for cocktails with a lower alcohol content than those served in a lowball glass. These cocktails contain a large proportion of non-boozy mixers, especially carbonated ones. The thin shape of the glass minimizes surface area, promoting bubble retention.

Cocktail Glass (Martini): Martinis, Other Cocktails

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Photo courtesy of Colby Stopa

Most distinctively known for martinis, this V-shaped, long-stemmed glass can be used to serve other cocktails as well. There will not be ice in drinks served in this glass, so the long stem is crucial for keeping your beverage cold. The cone shape prevents ingredients (liquids with different gravities) from separating, and highlights pretty garnishes.

On another note, it’s also become trendy to serve food in martini glasses.

Cocktail Glass (Hurricane): Tropical, Fruity Mixed Drinks

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Photo by Abigail Wilkins

Hurricanes, daiquiris, and other tropical, fruity mixed drinks are best served in a Hurricane glass.

Cocktail Glass (Margarita): Margaritas

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Photo by Arjan Singh


Tumblers, Stemless Wine Glasses: Wine, Multi-purpose

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Photo by Emma Delaney

It’s becoming quite common to see wine served in stemless wine glasses, which are much more durable than the stemmed sort. They are a classy alternative to red Solo cups, and can be used for other drinks when you don’t have the proper glassware present. Tumblers, as well, function as multi-purpose drinkware.

Stay classy, friends.