Certain drinks just wouldn’t be the same without their signature vessels. Though it may not be the first thing on your mind while imbibing, you’d probably feel a little off-kilter drinking a martini from a tiki mug, or a Moscow Mule from a Hurricane glass. But why do certain drinks necessitate specific barware? From the martini glass to Siestaware, we discuss a few of these signature drink vessels.
The martini glass isn’t technically exclusively used for martinis, but that is its original intent. The shape of the martini glass, with its long, thin stem and cone-shaped top, helps maintain the temperature of the alcohol. Martinis and the like are shaken or stirred with ice first for a nice chill, but are strained into the glass and served without ice. The top of the glass also provides a nice, broad surface from which you can easily enjoy the aroma of the alcohol. This is mostly important if you’re drinking a gin drink or a Manhattan.
The Moscow Mule and its signature copper mug is one of the more unusual on the list. Truth be told even finding a quality Moscow mule mug can prove to be difficult.Because of its ability to maintain the temperature of its contents, copper drink ware has been used for centuries everywhere from India to Ireland. The Moscow Mule comes in its signature vessel in part because of this and also because of a crazy twist of fate. In the 1940s John Martin was attempting to sell Smirnoff vodka and having quite a bit of trouble doing so. Americans weren’t familiar with the brand or the alcohol in general at that time.
His friend Jack Morgan, owner of the Cock ‘n’ Bull pub in Hollywood, had a surplus of ginger beer that he, too, was struggling to unload. A third person, sometimes identified in the stories as one of the men’s girlfriends, had an excess of copper. The three collaborated and ran one of the most successful marketing campaigns of all time, with the Moscow Mule becoming a quick and long-standing hit.
Like the martini glass, grappa glasses are shaped primarily to preserve the temperature of the alcohol and to allow the aroma of the drink to waft from its flared top. Grappa ranges in alcohol content from about 35-60%, so it makes sense that these glasses are fairly small. This grape-based pomace brandy is definitely meant to be sipped.
Hurricane glasses get their name from the mixed drink the Hurricane, created at Pat O’Brien’s Bar in New Orleans. Able to hold 20 fluid ounces, these glasses are a bit taller and wider than a highball glass, shaped a bit like a hurricane lamp. They’re usually reserved for colorful, fruity mixed drinks. Other drinks served in a Hurricane glass are the Pina Colada, Blue Hawaii, Singapore Sling and June Bug.
Cocktail glasses closely resemble martini glasses and are often mischaracterized as such. Cocktail glasses, however, have smaller, narrower bowls and rounded or flat bottoms. Martini glasses usually have large, wide bowls and a conical bottom. Like the martini glass, the cocktail glass is designed as it is for temperature control and aroma enhancement.
The Collins glass is used especially for the Tom Collins cocktail, from which it got its name. It’s a bit narrower and taller than the highball glass, though similar in shape. Some of the most common drinks served in a Collins glass are long island iced teas, mint julep, mojitos, melon ball, and Irish trash can.
Siesta ware was trademarked and distributed by the Benner Glass Company in the early 1960s. Characterized by their carved wooden center and colorful, frosted glass, these are typically used for the Passion Fruit Zombie and similar tropical-themed beverages. The Passion Fruit Zombie consists of tropical fruits and apricot brandy with a spritz of lime juice and a dash of bitters.
The Tiki Mug probably at least inspired the invention of Siestaware, as the two share a few similarities in drink types and carved wood features. Tiki is an ancient Hawaiian art form that was popularized in the U.S. in the mid-century. Tiki-themed decor was all the rage for a while and that included barware. Some of the signature cocktails you’ll find in these mugs are the Coconut Punch, Singapore Sling, Planter’s Punch, Painkiller, Navy Grog and Zombie.
Highball glasses are the signature vessel for highball cocktails and some other mixed beverages, including mai tais. Mai tai glasses are sometimes a highball with a tiki twist, as mai tai drinks are synonymous with the tiki trend. The highball glass is taller than an Old Fashioned glass and shorter and wider than a Collins.
Although this list isn’t comprehensive, we hope it’s quenched your thirst for answers and piqued your curiosity to learn more about these unique beverages! If you have a signature beverage and vessel you’d like to share, tell us in the comments!