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Dec 7, 2011 02:24 PM

Cocktail glasses - which to buy?

I'm looking to buy some cocktail glasses. I don't want anything super fancy, but I enjoy glasses with a thin lip and without the little bobble rim that you can get on some glasses. I'm looking at the Luigi Bormioli Michelangelo Masterpiece 8.75-ounce as they are lead free, dishwasher safe.

Is 8.75 Oz a good size?

I've also just bought a Vita-mix and plan to make some frozen cocktails (summer time in Australia) so would these glasses work with a frozen daiquiri?

I've got some red wine glasses that hold 16oz as well as some hiball and rocks glasses.


I thought I'd add my current wine glasses which are Schott Zwiesel Vina
Would the cocktail glasses seem thick and kind of chunky when compared to the Schott Zwiesel?

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  1. For a cocktail glass, 8.75 ounces is WAY too big. A cocktail that fits the glass will be around six ounces of spirits; two of those will kill your evening. To make it worse, by the time you're halfway through the drink it will be unpalatably warm. The biggest I'll go for a cocktail glass is about five ounces, which is capable of holding three to four ounces of spirits. The size makes for a perfectly respectable Martini or Manhattan.

    Your 16-ounce wine glasses would be much more appropriate for frozen drinks.

    8 Replies
    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

      Actually it seems to me that 8.75oz is on the small size for a double old fashioned glass but certainly I wouldn't say "WAY" to big at all. With ice/etc it will hold a standard cocktail just fine. If you're doing your cocktails up or want a rocks glass that is different but it certainly isn't uncommon to serve a cocktail up in a DOF glass and only have it filled maybe a third of the way.

      1. re: thimes

        I thought I was the only person that had "lip" issues with glasses!

        I think ours are 8oz and between ice and mixers, I don't think they are too big. 1.5 oz of booze, 3 or 4 oz of mixer plus ice fills the glass to a nice level.

        1. re: cleobeach

          It appears there is some real confusion about what’s being discussed. If we are truly considering “cocktail glasses” – stems with a bowl atop, I think JK is absolutely correct. 8.75 ounces is much too big – those glasses should be reserved for trying to get a date drunk at discounted happy hour prices somewhere. They will lead to early evenings or worse at home.

          If we are talking about “glasses to serve cocktails in” – DOF or highballs, those intended to include ice in the drink, then eight ounces or more is fine. The idea of serving a cocktail “up” in a DOF seems akin to serving wine in a hotel bathroom water glass – fine when considering in-room movies at the end of the night, but for entertaining? In fact, the stems probably serve more of a purpose for a properly chilled cocktail than for a glass of most white wines. Perhaps the OP could offer some clarification?

          1. re: MGZ

            If we are truly considering “cocktail glasses” – stems with a bowl atop, I think JK is absolutely correct. 8.75 ounces is much too big


            Oh yes, I totally agree. I have a set of martini glasses that are huge, I have no idea what I was thinking when I bought them.

            It has been so long since I was served a cocktail in a "real" cocktail glass that now when I think of cocktail glasses, I was thinking of double old fashioned type of glasses for cocktails for gin and tonics and the like.

            Our former neighbors used to host parties and I remember drinking Manhattens out of real cocktail glasses. That was years ago, I miss those parties.

            1. re: MGZ

              Ah good point. My mind immediately goes to DOF when I hear cocktails instead of the more classic "martini" style cocktail glass (okay not all are so angular but we get the idea).

              That said, I actually prefer a manhattan up in a DOF than in a little traditional cocktail glass. I like to swirl it and I don't like the "dainty" feeling of the small cocktail glass. Call me a "hotel drinking heathen" but I do. Maybe not other cocktails but . . . :D

              1. re: MGZ

                The OP mentioned vita-mix frozen cocktails, so 8.75oz is a fine size for his purposes...

                1. re: khuzdul

                  Why not just get daiquiri glasses? (Just kidding) I think in a former life I must have lived or worked in a house where there was a seperate glass for every type of drink, a vault full of silver, a closet full of linens. Thinking about special purpose vessels and serving pieces delights me.

                  1. re: khuzdul

                    Perhaps, I misread that line, focusing on the “also” and understanding it as an alternative. Besides, don’t those belong in plastic?

          2. I really really don't want lots of specialized glassware so an all round cocktail glass would be best for me. I'm the type of person who has 'all white plates'.

            Anyway my next question is lead crystal vs lead-free crystal - my everyday drinkware is lead free, is there a big concern when choosing cocktail glasses.
            I found these Riedel Vinum Martini Glass:

            But they are blown from lead, but apparently a good size, while my Bormioli Michelangelo Masterpiece 8.75-ounce may get people smashed but my family and friends wont be sipping on lead glasses all night.

            8 Replies
            1. re: snax

              I would be more than happy to be served an ice cold martini in one of those Riedel glasses (especially right about now). Personally, I would have absolutely no concern as to the lead used in production as I don't think I have ever let a drink sit around long enough for any relevant amount of lead to leach from the glass into my drink. Moreover, the primary dangers associated with lead toxicity are related to childhood development. Having passed the forty year mark not too long ago, I do not think my mental development still at risk. Nevertheless, I would advise that you look into the issue outside of a food first website and the opinions of me an my fellow food (and drink) dorks. One reference point, for example, would be the following:

              1. re: snax

                I would look for something in the 3-5 oz range if possible. A plain champagne style coupe is a pretty classic choice that will work well with most drinks.

                1. re: snax

                  The lead question is really not about sipping on lead glasses all night. It isn't a health concern. The question is do you want to put them in the dishwasher or not. Lead crystal will get cloudy in the dishwasher, so you will need to wash it by hand. If that matters to you, look for glasses that are lead free and dishwasher safe.

                  1. re: MelMM

                    Yet another example of how our experiences and knowledge shape our assumptions and perceptions in these discussions. By way of explanation, I was involved for years in a variety of mass tort litigation, including claims arising from lead exposure. Consequently, I have been asked on many occasions about the safety of using lead crystal. On the other hand, I am an avowed hand washer when it comes to any good glassware and have never before known anything about the consequences of using a dishwasher to clean fine stems. Quite funny.

                  2. re: snax

                    It seems like it will be a trade off on what I decide, with (1) being the most important to me.

                    (1)Duribility - I don't want guests so uptight about not damiaging my glasses that they can't relax
                    (2)Feel of glass ie thin lip and a nice stem
                    (3)Price - I gues it's relative, the right glass set and I'll spend the money
                    (4)Right size or at least a good size
                    (5)Lead free
                    (6)Dishhwasher safe

                    1. re: snax

                      The problem is there isn't any all-purpose cocktail glass. Straight-up martinis don't look right at all in a big double old-fashioned glass, and a Mai Tai won't fit in a 5 ounce cocktail glass. The best thing to do is to buy specific glasses when you need them.

                      I would say if I had to narrow my entire collection to a single style of glass, I'd go for the big-bowl red wine glass. Just about anything is at home in one.

                      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                        Yeah I tend to agree. I'm almost thinking about going totally left of the middle and serving my frozen drinks in mason jars and martinis in my Champagne flutes. Live a little. Save my money and put it towards a dance floor, I might need it!!

                        1. re: snax

                          Sounds like a very good time to me! Martinis LOVE being put in Champagne flutes.

                    2. Once upon a time, I thought that there was a "correct" or proper glass for a given drink and accumulated a sizeable collection of all sorts of glasses that see very little use. Now, I use only the glasses that I most enjoy holding. For me, that's something like a "stemless brandy glass".

                      My opinion - is get just one really great set of glasses that you and your other half really love. And use them in good health!

                      1. 8.75 oz for a cocktail glass is perfect.

                        The notion that you will fill a glass to the top with spirits/a cocktail is kind of odd. Make the drink you want, and you have a perfectly lovely glass from which to drink it, without the worry of your guests spilling it on themselves because it's filled to the rim.

                        Of course it goes without saying that you should choose what you enjoy. In addition to 8.75 oz cocktail glasses, I have a set of much smaller coupes (4 or 5 ounces max) that I use when the spirit moves me.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: tommy

                          The problem with putting a small drink in a big glass is that your guests wonder why they're getting only half a drink. I do like it being harder to spill, though. Ideally, the drink should come *almost* to the top of the glass (except for balloon glasses where the extra space enhances aromas), not all the way to the rim.

                          1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                            Mine don't wonder. I guess it depends on the audience.

                            A 4 ounce cocktail sits neatly and elegantly in the glass, coming up to about 1/4 the way from the top. Nothing stingy looking about it. Of course, 4 ounces may be a large drink for some, depending on its components. Even 3 ounces looks fine, however. At the point where it won't look good, I switch to coupes.

                        2. i like the Bodum double walled glasses which keep your drink cold. Their Manhattan glass seems way too large but actually shows the drink off quite nicely even when it's only partially filled. A 4 oz drink actually fills the glass to 2/3 of its height, believe it or not, due to the conical geometry of the glass.