Glassware Basics for at-Home Entertaining

coup glasses

Glassware can make or break your party. If you frequently entertain guests at home, you must be aware of the importance of having the right kind of glassware available at all times. It can instantly add a touch of style and class to your evening while elevating your experience and uplifting your décor.

When it comes to glassware, people either prefer

  • Disposable glassware, or
  • Beautiful, high-quality sets that speak for themselves.

Well, it is a no-brainer that we stand firmly behind the latter. While disposable cups might sound like a practical [and often affordable choice], they certainly lack that oomph factor. And, unless you are a broke college student, disposable cups are nothing more than a lame excuse for glassware.

You do not need to spend much to build a beautiful yet functional glassware collection. Instead, you can quickly assemble a nice set of essential glassware by making intelligent choices.

Five tips to Build a Glassware Collection for Entertaining at Home

If you are buying glassware to entertain at home, here are a few things to remember:

Understand the type of guests you usually entertain. And what kind of cocktails do you typically enjoy?

You might have the occasional wine drinker or someone who prefers whiskey. However, if you are on a budget, it makes no sense to stock up on wine flutes and whiskey tumblers. Instead, try to understand the kind of guests you entertain. What are the drinks that they usually prefer? Also, what cocktails do you enjoy? Then, buy high-quality glassware for the same.

Buy beautiful, multi-purpose water glasses.

Apart from glassware for wine, beer, and whiskey, invest in a high–quality set of water glasses. The glasses should have a simple, classic design so that they can be used to serve a variety of things apart from water.

A good set of multi-purpose water glasses can be used to serve sangrias or even iced tea. These will be the most used piece of glassware in your collection.

Buy at least six of each.

Experts recommend a dozen when it comes to buying glassware for entertaining. It will help ensure you never run out of glasses when hosting a party of eight to ten people. However, if you usually host small, intimate groups of people [like four or six], you can settle for six pieces of each type of glassware.

If you are now starting, buy quality but affordable glassware.

It might be tempting to buy Reidel glasses or other expensive glassware. However, if you are now starting, we would always advise you to stick to affordable collections. You will end up with a broken glass or two much sooner than you think. And, when that happens, you can quickly replace them ONLY if you have bought an affordable collection. So, be practical and choose quality but affordable glassware options.

Local antique shops and thrift stores are great places to start your glassware collection.

I love my grandmother’s glassware; they are sturdy and equally beautiful. Starting at an antique shop or thrift store can be a wonderful experience. You can find some beautiful and well-made options.

So what should you include in your collection? That is the million-dollar question.

Stocking your home bar with glassware can be a bit confusing. My friend texted me a few weeks ago, “Wtheck is a coup anyway, and more importantly, what do you use it for?” I am sure you have been in situations similar to where Jeannie was when she texted me. After all, most people do not typically have these items stocked in their homes. But stocking a home bar with glassware does not need to be an expensive and complicated process.

Remember tip number one and work way up.

Coup Glass


Coupe glasses are used to serve most stirred and shaken cocktails. They are perfect as the first investment in glassware along with a set of multi-use water glassware. Coup glasses are perfect for the classic Manhattan or Whiskey Sour.

Red wine glass


Of course, red wine glasses are used for wine; however, they can also be used for cocktails with wine as the main ingredient and require ice cubes, such as sangrias or Aperol Spritz. I will cover wine glasses in a separate article.

V shaped martini glass


A typical “V” shaped Martini Glass is the perfect choice for Martinis. However, there are several great variations and a staple at every home bar space and budget permitting. I am partial to a coup glass for my martinis.

Champagne Flute


These tall, skinny beauties are perfect for showing off cocktails containing champagne [or sparkling wine]. For example, the classic French 75 looks elegant and chic in champagne flutes.

Nick & Nora Glass


These petite-shaped glasses are perfect for stirred cocktails. They are similar to a coup except smaller.

high ball glass


These skinny glasses are also known as Collins glasses. The Highballs are suitable for Gin Fizzes, slings, smashes, and any drinks served on the rocks.

old fashioned glass


The old fashioned glasses, otherwise known as rocks glasses, and lowball glasses [or simply lowball], is a short tumbler used for serving spirit, such as whisky neat or with ice cubes [on the rocks]. They are also perfect for stirred cocktails served over one large ice cube. Old Fashioned Glasses are essentially used for Old Fashioneds, of course.

copper mug for Moscow mule


Although you can efficiently serve up a Moscow Mule in a rocks glass, using a copper mug makes it an experience. The copper retains the chilliness of the crushed ice and keeps your drink cold longer.

julep tin for juleps


Juleps are served over crushed ice, and the Julep Tin will take on the chill of the drink. It is beautiful to see the frosted buildup on the outside.

Pilsner glass for light beers


Pilsner Glasses are used for light beers and are great for cocktails served over crushed ice.

Tiki glass for Mai Tai


Tiki drinks, like the Mai Tai, are served in Tiki glasses. If you have ever visited a Tiki bar or tropical-themed restaurant, the tiki glass makes enjoying your cocktail a treat.

punch glass


These short glasses, like glass teacups, are used to serve punches. They are easy to fill from your punch bowl with a ladle.

Glass coffee mug for Irish Whisky


These are especially handy in Autumn and Winter to serve hot cocktails like an Irish Whiskey or Hot Toddies.

If you have just started creating a glassware collection or are still thinking about it, our five smart tips and our guide be your trusted companion as you build a long-lasting, multi-purpose collection right away. Purchasing and having the correct glassware is addicting and an expensive hobby; therefore, I urge you to gradually work your way to a place where you feel great about your collection.

I have linked my Amazon Storefront with some of my favorite glassware. They are gorgeous and budget-friendly.

Happy Entertaining

Nat C.


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