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Drinkware to Use With Our Spirits & Cocktails

Flute, coupe, rocks, collins… There are so many drinkware options when it comes to enjoying our spirits, so how do you know what glass to use? Also, does what glass you use really matter? 

The type of drinkware you use can be for practical reasons (such as to accommodate the volume of liquid in your drink), but it can also have an impact on the temperature of your drink, or even enhance aromatics. Here, we’ll break down the different types of drinkware you might use when imbibing on a Mad River Distillers spirit or cocktail, and what kinds of drinks pair best with each of them.

These glasses are a type of champagne glass that is long and thin, with a stem, and they’re what you’ll find at any big celebration, such as New Years Eve or at a wedding. This is because champagne glasses are designed to hold bubbles for longer. Imagine pouring some champagne into a rocks glass, with its wide opening and short depth. The bubbles won’t have very far to travel, and quickly, the bubbles will escape. A celebration calls for bubbles, and if it’s bubbles you want, you need to give them a glass worth climbing. The tall flute and tulip glass provide just that—a longer but narrow path upward.

The bowl shape of both glasses concentrate aromas with the more narrow rim, but the difference between a flute and a tulip glass is that a tulip flares out at the rim of the glass. It doesn’t trap bubbles as well as a flute, but it is a great glass for mixed champagne drinks as well as sparkling wines. With the more narrow mouth on a flute glass, even the smallest of garnishes look impressive (Graham, 2020).

At Mad River Distillers, we love a coupe glass, and we serve many of our cocktails in them. However, it’s not a glass that most people have sitting in their cupboards. A coupe glass, also known as a champagne saucer, is actually a kind of champagne glass. In fact, it was once considered the default champagne glass, but that designation moved to tulip and flute glasses as people discovered the benefits noted above (Rowland, 2016). 

Today, coupe glasses are a popular choice for craft cocktails. These can be used much like a cocktail or martini glass—which is frequently used with vodka or gin cocktails—but the mouth shape of a coupe may be easier to handle than a martini glass (spill alert!). It also allows plenty of space for a beautiful garnish (Rowland, 2016).

This short glass with a heavy base is sometimes referred to as a whisky tumbler, a lowball or an Old Fashioned glass. Often served “on the rocks” (with ice), drinks served in a rocks glass are usually short drinks that are spirit forward (Graham, 2020). However, some people choose to sip on their favorite spirits neat in a rocks glass. Others may prefer their spirit “straight” (without other ingredients) over a large ice cube. 

A large ice cube melts more slowly, so it keeps your drink cool but relatively undiluted. The benefit of a rocks glass is that it can easily accommodate a large ice cube, whereas other glasses cannot. Also, thanks to the wide mouth, it’s a great glass for muddling, which is what you would do when making a Caipirinha cocktail. With its versatility, this is an ideal glass to have in any home bar.

With a similar shape to a tulip glass, a solid base, but no stem, this glass is a go-to option for drinking whiskey “neat” (without ice). The bowl shape, which narrows as you move up, allows you to easily swirl your spirit without spilling, while also opening up the aromas (Allen, 2021). It allows you to appreciate the complexity in each whiskey, and savor every sip. Of course, we won’t judge you if you prefer a little bit of ice. 

A collins glass and a highball glass look very similar—tall and lean. In separate photos, you might not spot the difference between them, but side-by-side, a collins glass is taller and more narrow than a highball (Graham, 2020). These glasses are the most practical choice for drinks where there is a higher volume of liquid, such as with mixed drinks (spirits with soda, bubbles or fruit juices), while allowing plenty of room for ice.

What glass you choose really comes down to the amount of drink you intend to pour. At a bar, you’re likely to see this drink prepared (or “built”) directly in the glass, as opposed to a drink that is mixed in a shaker or stirred and strained. Have you ever sat at a bar and watched the bartender fill a tall glass to the top with ice? Well, this has a benefit. While ice can dilute a drink, when you have a lot of ice, it melts more slowly. This means your drink stays cold, but it doesn’t dilute too quickly (Graham, 2020).

This drinkware is one we like to use for serving our seasonal Hot Toddy or Boozy Hot Chocolate drinks. Why? Designed specifically for hot drinks, this glass is thick, footed and has a handle (Graham, 2020). Sure, we could use a regular coffee mug, but where’s the fun in that? This glass allows you to appreciate the appearance of your beverage while also protecting your hands from the heat.

As you can see, drinkware choices can be a simple matter of what is most practical to accommodate the volume of your drink, or the size of a big ice cube. In some cases though, the glass you choose can elevate the look and aroma of your favorite drink (or, alternatively, diminish them). 

We hope that this offers some helpful tips on how best to enjoy your Mad River Distillers spirits and cocktails, and that it helps you determine what drinkware will be most useful in your home bar. Cheers!

Written by Brianne Lucas and published on April 22, 2022.

Allen, F. (2021, April 2). A guide to whisky glasses. World Whisky Day. Retrieved April 14, 2022, from

Graham, C. G. (2020, October 28). Discover the Essential Glasses Every Bar Needs. The Spruce Eats. Retrieved April 14, 2022, from

Rowland, B. (2016, April 2). What is a Coupe Glass? The Cocktail Novice. Retrieved April 14, 2022, from

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