If you’ve got the space, an expansive collection of glassware can be a fun addition to your drink-making tool kit. But for most of us, space is limited, which requires us to be selective about the cups, coupes, and flutes we bring into our homes. Luckily, most bartenders are no stranger to the need to save space, so we asked mixologists across the country to weigh in on the glassware they’d recommend purging from your bar cart. Here’s what they said.
The glassware bartenders recommend cutting from your collection:
- Champagne flutes
- Anything with thin glass
- Sipping snifter
- Coupe glass
- Souvenir shot glass
- Single rocks glass
- Sparkling wine flutes
- Martini glass
- Small coupes
“This may be a hot take, but I would honestly say Champagne flutes can go. Don’t get me wrong, I love drinking out of them — so long as they are super nice and extravagant and what not — but the basic flute without all the elaborate details or pure, delicate crystal need to go. They do not do the wine justice, it’s a pain to carry more than two at once on a tray in a restaurant, and they’re just kind of pointless on a cocktail front. Anything a flute can do a wine glass can do so much better!” —Alex Cuper, beverage director, El Che Steakhouse & Bar, Chicago
“I would say anything that is made of thin glass. Thin glassware may look chic, but it’s extremely fragile and therefore difficult to pour a drink into and to enjoy a drink out of. And they’re especially difficult to wash and polish. Any glass with a thin stem rarely survives its first outing!” —Bernadette James, sommelier, Stages at One Washington and The Living Room, Dover, N.H.
“Other than for brandy, our sipping snifter is rarely used. In the future, we’re hoping to serve mocktails in it, or even for desserts. It has potential! It’s a beautiful piece of glassware that can hold sips of wine, indulgent after-dinner drinks, or even small pours of beer. Yet, at the moment, it’s mostly a waste of space.” —Shiva Thapa, head bartender, Miller & Lux, San Francisco
“The glass I would purge ASAP from my bar cart is the coupe glass. As much as I love the look of a sexy sleek coupe, you can’t stack them, they break easily, and are a very specific glass for specific cocktails. When manning a bar cart, you need to make the most of your real estate and coupes are not it!” —Alida Acosta, general manager and mixologist, TAP Gastropub, Warren, N.J.
“The souvenir shot glass. Yes, I understand the nostalgia or immediate attachment one might have with the item, with it likely being a gift from a loved one. Beyond that, I have yet to come across a souvenir shot glass that is visually pleasing or intriguing. Shot glasses as gag gifts are something to be hidden in the cupboard or, better yet, forgotten.” —Alicia Perry, beverage director, CH Projects, San Diego
“Single rocks glass. One of the least-used glassware in my humble opinion. I prefer a small snifter-style glass versus a classic rocks glass, with the expectation of just a single-spirit pour with a big chunk of ice.” —Nicolas Albertini, mixologist, Reforma, Palm Springs, Calif.
“As far as drinking glassware goes, all you really need is a highball (tall and skinny), Old Fashioned (heavy bottom, short and wide), a coupe (old-school Champagne glass on a stem), and wine glasses make great substitutes for snifters, hurricanes, and similar-shaped drinking glasses. A mixing glass can be helpful, but if you already have a metal shaker, and strainer you don’t really need it.” —Bin Lu, executive chef, Blue Rock, Washington, Va.
“Sparkling wine flutes. How often do you make Mimosas or Bellinis at home? They don’t make anything taste better or look more elegant than sipping these drinks from a Collins glass, and they don’t have many uses beyond the aforementioned. Please don’t put Champagne or other high-end sparkling wine in them. Don’t you want to properly smell and taste something you’ve spent a decent amount of money on? Flutes are not the way.” —Christopher Struck, beverage director, ilili NYC, New York City
“The Martini glass is iconic, kitschy-chic, omnipresent, and a complete disaster when it comes to imbibing an actual Martini. Sloshing your beverage onto your lap is inevitable when the walls of this glass sit barely above a 45-degree angle. Only with the utmost concentration and poise can someone serve, run, or drink from one of these without spilling anything, and after a Martini or three, concentration and poise are two characteristics one seems to misplace. Rolling with a coupe or Nick & Nora is far superior: The high angle of the walls keeps liquid inside the vessel and transfers [it] easily into the mouth.” —Caden Worley, beverage manager, Don Angie, New York City
“I would say small coupes for sure! If we are drinking Martinis, a Nick & Nora is a much better vessel to make an aromatic stirred drink with a beautiful wash line, and a traditional all-purpose wine glass can convey the aromas of a Champagne much better than a coupe ever could.” —Roxy Eve Narvaez, beverage director, The Chloe, New Orleans