How to Hold a Cocktail Glass (6 Different Types)

Ahoy there cocktail enthusiasts! Are you tired of awkwardly fumbling with your fancy cocktail glasses, unsure of how to properly hold them without spilling or looking like a novice? Never fear, your friendly neighborhood bartender is here to guide you through the dos and don'ts of cocktail glass handling.

There are several types of cocktail glasses, each designed for a specific type of drink. Some of the most common types of cocktail glasses include:

  • Martini glass: a V-shaped glass with a long stem, typically used for serving martinis and other cocktails that are served "up" (without ice).
  • Cocktail glass: also known as a "coupe," this glass has a wide rim and a shallow bowl, and is also used for cocktails served "up" such as champagne cocktails.
  • Highball glass: a tall, slender glass with a straight sides, used for cocktails served "on the rocks" (with ice) such as highballs and mixed drinks.
  • Old-fashioned glass: a short, wide glass with a heavy base, used for cocktails served "on the rocks" such as old-fashioned cocktails and other whiskey-based drinks.
  • Wine glass: a glass with a stem and a bowl, used for serving wine as well as wine-based cocktails, like sangria or the Aperol Spritz.
  • Hurricane glass: a tall, wide glass with a flared rim, used for serving cocktails such as hurricanes and other tropical drinks.

So, let's take a look at how you should hold each.

1. Martini Glass

How to hold a martini glass

First up, let's talk about the dapper martini glass. This elegant V-shaped vessel is a staple of any self-respecting bar, and is often used to serve up martinis and other "up" cocktails (meaning they're served without ice).

When holding a martini glass, it's important to remember the "three-finger rule." Simply hold the stem between your thumb, index, and middle fingers, allowing the base or stem of the glass to rest on your pinky for balance.

And for Pete's sake, please resist the urge to grip the base of the glass like a steering wheel—it's not a Chevrolet, it's a cocktail glass!

2. Cocktail Glass

How to hold a cocktail glass

Next on the list is the sultry cocktail glass, also known as a coupe. This wide-rimmed, shallow-bowled glass is perfect for serving up champagne cocktails and other "up" drinks.

Holding these is pretty much the same as with a martini glass—think delicate grip around the top of the stem.

When walking around while handling a coupe, it's important to remember to support the base of the glass with your palm to prevent any unwanted spillage. And as tempting as it may be, try to resist the urge to twirl the glass by the stem—it's a surefire way to earn some side-eye from your bartender.

3. Highball Glass

How to hold a highball glass

On to the tall and slender highball glass, the go-to vessel for serving "on the rocks" cocktails such as highballs (of course) and other mixed drinks.

When holding a highball glass, it's best to grip the sides of the glass with your thumb and fingers to provide a stable base for the glass.

And as tempting as it may be to guzzle your drink like a college freshman, try to take small sips to avoid sloshing your drink all over the place.

4. Old-Fashioned Glass

How to hold an old-fashioned glass

The old-fashioned glass, or "rocks glass," is a short and stout option perfect for serving "on the rocks" cocktails such as old-fashioneds and other whiskey-based drinks.

When handling an old-fashioned glass, you grip it pretty much as you would any other glass. But no matter how much you may want to, try to resist the urge to grip the glass with both palms—any ice will melt too fast which always spoils a drink.

5. Wine Glass

How to hold a wine glass

Wine glasses come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with each type designed for a specific type of wine. For example, red wine glasses tend to have a wider bowl to allow the wine to breathe, while white wine glasses have a narrower bowl to keep the wine chilled.

When holding a wine glass, it's important to grip the stem to prevent the heat from your hand from affecting the temperature of the wine. Try to hold it delicately at the top though—no need to make a fist around the entire stem.

6. Hurricane Glass

How to hold a hurricane glass

Last but not least is the tropical hurricane glass, a tall and wide option with a flared rim, used for serving cocktails such as hurricanes, piña coladas, and other tropical drinks.

When holding a hurricane glass, you can either grip the glass by the short stem to provide a stable foundation, or just hold the narrower part of the glass itself.

So there you have it, a crash course in cocktail glass handling. Now go forth and confidently conquer those fancy cocktails, my boozy friends!