When it comes to glassware, you’ve probably put effort into finding great wine glasses and everyday drinkware. That said, though they’re often overlooked, the glassware you use for your cocktail glasses matter just as much, if not more. Because not only are they used for serving drinks at parties, they’re also often on full display on your bar cart or shelves. And, of course, they have an impact on your concoctions as well. So if you’ve been ignoring that part of your kitchen, let the upcoming holiday season convince you that it’s officially time to invest in some of the best cocktail glassware brands to stock your kitchen.
Don’t just start your shopping blindly, though. The list of glassware brands is practically endless, and finding what’s truly good can be tough. Instead, take notes from the experts ahead — they’ve spent years testing products and can confidently recommend what stands out from the rest. True, that narrowed-down list still leaves a lot to choose from, but it provides a solid place to start and tips to help you decide what’s actually best for your bar.
Don’t go into another entertaining season with any more chipped coupes or sad highballs. Instead, continue on for a list of glassware brands that professionals love (and their best pieces), ahead.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
“Riedel is the gold standard when it comes to glassware,” Davy Butterworth, Beverage Director at Proof on Main at 21c Louisville, tells TZR. “The prices are extremely high but they're worth it.” David Indrak, mixologist at The Cocktail Service, says the brand is one of his favorites as well. “Riedel really considers how the shape and size of the glass impact the flavor of the drink,” he says. “I’m a big fan of how the design is practical whilst also looking great. For example, the vertical grooves on the side of [its] highballs add an element of interest to the glass, but also provide an easier grip for the drinker.”
Estelle Colored Glass
Yaz Quiles, founder and CEO of POP! By Yaz, tells TZR she loves the Black-owned brand Estelle Colored Glass because of its luxury glass goods and its inspirational story. Quiles is a fan of the label’s Champagne Coupes in amethyst, which she says “bring much-needed color and flair to your party or brighten your everyday sipping moment.”
Michiel Perry, founder of Black Southern Belle, is also a supporter of the brand, which she loves for its hand-blown pieces in jewel tones and soft pastels. “They are crafted with hospitality and heirloom traditions in mind,” she says. “They are the perfect way to creatively bring color to an event or gathering with friends, especially the Rose Stemware.”
Quiles also includes Simone Crestani's collection in her glassware of choice. In her words, it’s “born from an ironic reinterpretation of chemical laboratory glassware transformed into domestic glassware.” Plus, it looks great. “The myriad of bubbles creates visual curiosity and tickles the palate for a perfect artful edition to your bar.”
Another high-end choice of experts is Urban Bar, which Bar Director Amir Babayoff from NYC’s Ophelia says will “immediately capture your eye and trigger your curiosity.” One of his preferred pieces is the 1910 Fizz Cocktail Glass, which he describes as versatile and delicate. “We’ve served almost anything in it, from a martini (Purple Tuxedo) to a whiskey sour style (Honey & Smoke, Bulleit Proof).” He also likes the Nick & Nora 1910 Glass because it “offers a long stem to grasp the drink without getting the glass warm, and a medium volume size of 5.5 ounces, which is not overwhelming to the guest and also keeps the temperature and cost down.”
NUDE Glass was the most recommended of the experts TZR spoke to. In fact, according to Indrak, it’s a brand any home bartender or aspiring professional mixologist should use. “These glasses are made from lead-free crystal, meaning they have super thin and elegant glass, which looks fantastic but is durable and useable in a busy bar environment. We’re big fans of the Coupe glass from the Savage range, created in partnership with esteemed bartender Rémy Savage."
Babayoff is also a fan of brand as well as the Rémy Savage collaboration, which he describes as elegant, clean-looking, and unique. “I’m a big fan of the Pony glass, which reminds me of the Nick & Nora glass but with a much taller stem and with a 4.5-ounce volume.”
Advanced sommelier and bar manager of Seattle’s Artusi, Tahlia Bolden, actually refers to NUDE Glass as “hands down” her favorite cocktail glassware producer. “[Its] style, no matter which collection, embodies a sense of timelessness,” she says. Plus, it always has the bartender in mind and ensures the drink shines. Her favorite styles? “From NUDE, the Hepburn Coupe for straight up martinis, the Big Top Coupe for cocktails with mixers (the extra room allows the drinker to savor the aroma of the cocktail before their sip), and the Arch Whisky Glass that has the feel of nature-meets-science to me.”
According to Indrak, each Norlan glass is “beautifully designed,” and combines elegant curves with a focus on the experience. “I love the Rauk Heavy Tumbler; it has such a satisfying weight to it. It comes in two sizes so is perfect either for an Old Fashioned or Negroni or simply a whisky on the rocks."
Perry also names Curly Contessa as a favorite label, which she says is a “culturally centric home goods brand designed to represent the identity of the founder, Kristin Farmer.” Of the company’s drinkware, she says the Stemless Golden Goddess Wine Glass [Ed. note: This is currently sold out] is “unique for its depiction of a natural hair Black woman.” It also features a hint of metallic gold and “offers a personal touch for any heritage-inspired cocktails, especially with women's impact on the history of spirits,” she continues.
Elizabeth Van Lierde of the College Housewife says her favorite kind of glassware for any kind of cocktail is Viski. “I love [its] funky shapes and unique designs. [Its glasses] take an ordinary cocktail up a notch in presentation. Plus, they are super sturdy and [most are] dishwasher-friendly."
“Fortessa is my go-to for barware,” Liz Curtis, founder and CEO of Table + Teaspoon, tells TZR. “[It’s] perfect for the aesthete who craves style yet understands that glassware, particularly for cocktails, must be durable.” Curtis is especially partial to the brand’s Jupiter line, as it combines that durability with a delicate hobnail finish.
“We offer the double old fashioned glasses in our table setting rental kits because they are strong enough to withstand both nationwide shipping and the occasional over-served guest who might drop their libation toward the end of the evening. While Fortessa offers the glass in seven hues, the warm gray smoke color can be found on my personal bar cart.”