Ask the Bartender: I Need Glasses for My Home Bar

I’ll admit to having a thing for glasses. It might be because my teenage children broke almost every glass I owned while doing dishes. It could be my years as a bartender and seeing all the sparkling styles. All I know is that I could start a small-town pub with the glass I’ve collected over the years.

You can create your own eclectic collection of bar glass perfect for any occasion for less money than you think. Not every budget is made for Waterford Crystal and while it definitely looks pretty, crystal doesn’t change the taste of the cocktail.

Beer Glasses
If you and your friends enjoy craft beer and tasting parties, you might be interested in some of my 26 pint glasses. We’ve bought some as souvenirs and enjoy going to brewpubs that offer a glass-of-the-month. I only have four pint glasses that I bought as a set at a discount store. Be certain the glasses are sturdy enough to handle a few knocks on the home bar.

It’s OK to use wine glasses for beer tasting, but a few small Belgian or Pilsner glasses will give the appearance of a full serving.

Cocktail glasses
If you’re offering to share a single-malt scotch with your friends, you don’t want to serve it in jelly glasses. Discount and import stores offer open-stock glassware and sets. I’ve never paid more than $2 for a single glass.

Wine glasses
Yes, there’s a reason the globe of a wine glass is shaped differently for white wine or red wine. If you host wine parties, you should have both styles available. If you’re a wine traveler, build your collection with glasses from the wineries you enjoy. I’ve learned that buying wine glasses at a discount store takes a careful eye. If you’re looking at a boxed set, open it to make sure the glass isn’t too thin. I will confess that my kids didn’t break those wine glasses – I did as soon as I put them in the dish water.

Special Cocktail Glasses
Cinco de Mayo demands margarita glasses and top shelf vodka cries out for a martini glass. I’ve found most of my bar glass collection at flea markets and antique shops. My favorite margarita glasses were my first attempt at bargaining at a straw market in Nogales, Mexico – hand-painted and extremely heavy with a deep globe. Visit garage sales in your area and watch for bargains.

Shot Glasses
If you and your friends like to knock back a shot of tequila or hoist an Irish Car Bomb, you need shot glasses. Look for a bottom-heavy shot glass that holds about one-and-a-half ounces. These will allow layered shots if you want to get fancy and will allow enough room at the top when you’re pouring one-ounce shots.

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Bloody Mary Mix by the Pitcher
The Indiana Wine Trail in Southeast Indiana
Rosewood Estates Winery & Meadery in Beamsville, ON