Witnessing a cocktail come together can be magical: familiar ingredients blend and combine to create an alluring drink that delights the eye as well as the palate. With a little time, practice and bar tools and accessories you can build an armoury of techniques that'll have you whipping up any cocktail in no time.

Not sure which type of glass to use for which drink? Our cocktail glassware guide can assist you in selecting the perfect vehicle for every concoction – whether it’s shaken, built or stirred, straight up or on the rocks. Chin chin.

Shot glasses cocktail illustration

With the depth of one standard measuring unit, shot glasses are normally used to serve up concentrated liquor combinations –a perfect way to kick off or wind down your evening. Be warned: shot glasses tend to punch above their size when it comes to the intensity of the contents.

Use these petite glasses to measure out alcohol for other cocktails, or to serve up tasty shooters such as the Kamikaze or B-52.

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Martini cocktail glasses illustration

Of all the cocktails glasses in the world, the martini glass is the most instantly recognisable. Its classic inverted triangle shape has been immortalised in film, most famously by James Bond and his preference for a martini that’s been ‘shaken, not stirred’.

While a traditional gin and vermouth mix pairs naturally with a martini glass, it can also be used for any short, mixed tipple. The elegant stem ensures that the contents won’t be warmed by contact with skin, while the shallow depth means it doesn’t need ice or a straw.

Preparing a Cosmopolitan, Manhattan or Sidecar? A martini glass is what you should reach for.

Old fashioned cocktail glasses illustration

When you want to nurse a cocktail at leisure, opt for an Old Fashioned glass, also known as a rocks glass. It is designed to hold large blocks of ice, so that anything poured into it is diffused and cooled before being consumed.

The Old Fashioned glass works well with longer drinks, and can be sipped out of or paired with a straw. It’s also a popular choice for serving up quality spirits such as whiskeys, bourbons and brandies.

Choose an old fashioned glass for classic drinks such as Negronis, Mint Juleps and, of course, Old Fashioneds.

High ball cocktail glasses illustration

While the Hi Ball glass is sometimes called a Collins glass, it's actually a little shorter and slightly less narrow. It has a slim shape that helps to keep the contents cool and carbonated for longer by guiding the bubbles upwards. The term ‘Hi Ball’ refers to the family of cocktails that pair an alcoholic base with a non-alcoholic mixer. The extended depth of the glass lends itself well to fragrant, flavour-releasing ingredients such as leaves and spices.

So, what should you pour into a Hi Ball glass ? Any light cocktails containing plenty of ice and liquid, such as a Cuba Libre or a Dark & Stormy.

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Shot glasses cocktail illustration

If only a tropical treat of a cocktail will do, you’ll need a hurricane glass to make it with. This curvaceous glass is designed to show off colourful, fruity drinks with plenty of garnishes – umbrella decoration optional. The larger size of the hurricane is perfect for ‘granita’ cocktails made using crushed ice. It’s also the most likely to contain additions such as fruit chunks and flavourings.

Go with the hurricane glass when you’re planning on serving concoctions such as Pina Coladas or Zombies.

Cocktail shaker and strainer product image

Now that you know which glassware to use for each drink, take the following tips into consideration to help you prepare them like a professional:

  • To keep your cocktails cooler for longer, chill your glasses beforehand. Skip this step if you’re serving a carbonated mixer, as the cold will kill off the bubbles more quickly.

  • Making a Martini or an Old Fashioned? When garnishing these drinks with citrus peel, take care not to leave behind any white pith as this will give your drink a bitter flavour. Giving your twist a once-over with a sharp knife should do the trick.

  • Create perfectly smooth cocktails by straining each mixture twice to ensure every last particle is removed.

  • Want to garnish a classic Margarita with salt? Run a wedge of lime or lemon around the rim of the glass, and then carefully dip the margarita glass into a saucer of salt. If possible, opt for kosher salt over table salt: the large flakes will adhere to the edges better without immediately dissolving, standing out more visually.

  • If you want to use crystal clear ice cubes, boil the water and cool it twice before pouring it into your ice tray.

You don’t need to be an experienced bartender to whip up a cocktail worth raving about. With the right tools and cocktail glasses at your disposal you can give the best mixologists in the business a run for their money.

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