If you're like most restaurant owners who are on the verge of adding adult beverages to your menu, you're probably wondering how to stock a basic bar with the proper glasses. Many fledgling bar owners overthink glassware, but it's best to simply start with the basic and grow from there on an as-needed basis. Following are seven essential glassware items that provide a foundation that you can build on as you grow your business.
Bucket glasses are a default option when specific cocktails don't have designated glasses — for instance, they're good for all basic mixed drinks. If your bartender's manual doesn't specify a particular glass, using a bucket glass is a safe bet. You'll probably use more of these than any other type of glass, so be sure to stock an ample supply.
Martini glasses are used for more than just martinis — they're basically good for any drink that's strained through ice in a cocktail shaker. They can also do double duty as margarita and daiquiri glasses, so unless you expect to serve a lot of these, there's really no need to order specialty glasses for them.
One-ounce shot glasses serve a dual purpose in any establishment that serves adult beverages — they're used to serve simple shots of liquor as well as act as a guide to bartenders concerning how much alcohol to put in mixed drinks. The bartender simply pours the liquor into the shot glass before adding it to the mixer in order to ensure a proper ratio.
Highball glasses are simply tall bucket glasses that some customers prefer over their shorter counterparts. They're also a great choice for non-alcoholic concoctions for designed drivers, the under-21 crowd, or those who would simply prefer not to indulge in alcohol.
Every bar needs basic beer glasses. These are also great for serving ice water and juice. You don't need fancy glasses for beer unless you're running a specialty bar that focuses on artisan ales — a good supply of 16-ounce glasses will do.
You'll probably use less of these than any other type of glass, but they're a nice touch to be able to offer customers when the occasion calls for after-dinner brandy or cognac.
Red and White Wine Glasses
Many restaurant owners overthink wine glasses, but all you really need are glasses designed for both red and white wine. Red wine glasses are narrower than white wine glasses because white wine needs more surface space in order to become properly oxygenated. Having Champagne glasses for special occasions is a nice touch, but Champagne tastes just as good when served in white wine glasses.
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