One of the most important elements of a home bar is glassware. There are several styles of glasses you will find, and each of them fits with a particular drink. Of the absolutely necessary glassware, there are 2 to start with: old fashioned glasses and cocktail glasses.
Old fashioned glasses, also known as rocks glasses, are small and stout, much like the three glasses in the foreground of the photo above. These hold a volume of about 7-13 ounces and are best for serving whiskey straight and for cocktails like Old Fashioneds and Sazeracs.
Next are cocktail glasses, sometimes called martini glasses. These are tall, stemmed glasses that hold 2 to 8 ounces and are used for drinks like Martinis, Negronis, and many other “martini-style” cocktails. Traditionally, the glassware used for these drinks was the old-style champagne coupes like those in the middle row above, which only hold about 2 1/2 ounces. These can almost exclusively be found used nowadays as glassware manufacturers have discovered that champagne holds it bubbles better in a long, tall glass.
As far as shopping is concerned, glassware can be found anywhere from Target to antique stores and most places in between. Because I like for my glassware to be unique and traditional, I look at thrift shops and antique stores almost exclusively. Here’s what I’ve discovered: Most glassware at Goodwill and other thrift shops will be between 15¢ and $1 each. You will often find multiples of the same glass, but it’s hard to find sets of 6 or more (usually those are missing at least one glass). Even the most ancient glassware can usually be totally redeemed with a good dishwasher and some Jet Dry.
Below is some of my favorite glassware in my home bar. Most of these I have in sets of 3-6 glasses and only one of these was purchased new (from World Market). The “free” glasses were gifts from friends.