Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

I am to glassware what a crow is to shiny bits and bobs—I’m inexplicably drawn to them. Glittering crystal chalices, goblets etched with soft designs, and elegant angled wine glasses vie for my attention, my cursor (and fortitude) often wavering. Add in my testing of stemless wine glasses and glassware sets, and my affinity for a nice beer glass, and let’s just say I have a very well-stocked glassware cabinet with cups for everyday sips and sophisticated soirees. But while my collection is excessive, a good set of glasses on a beautifully laid table (complete with fancy platters and good food) can set the scene for a twinkling, lovely evening. Here, I go through a few of my favorite glassware sets in my ever-growing cabinet. 

Grace’s Picks for Water, Wine, Beer, and Everything in Between 

The Best Chic Wine Glasses: Bormioli Rocco 7.5 Ounce Stackable Bodega GlassesNo-frills Stemless Glasses for Casual Sips: Aspen 17-Oz. Stemless Red Wine Glasses, Set of 12The Best Beer Glasses: Spiegelau Beer Classics Tulip GlassesMy Favorite Everyday Glasses: Bormioli Rocco 12.5 Ounce Stackable Bodega GlassesMy Favorite Fancy Cocktail Glasses: Riedel Rocks & HighballsA Gorgeous Statement Set: Serax Fish Green Transparent Glasses by Paola Navone-Medium

A Few Tips for Selecting Glassware 

Stackable Glasses Make Storage Easier 

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

I have a soft spot for stackable glasses since they are easy to store, which comes in handy if you have a smaller kitchen or limited cabinet space (as I did in my old apartment). Plus, I find that I’m less likely to break glasses when they’re stacked neatly together since I don’t have to move a bajillion glasses around to get the one I want. Nearly all of my favorite glasses listed below are stackable, though a few standalone ones did merit slipping through the cracks. 

Durability Is Important for Everyday Glasses

Glasses can be expensive, so no one wants a glass to shatter easily (not to mention, ouch, broken glass). When I reviewed stemless wine glasses and drinking glass sets, I wanted to find options that would stand the test of time (and pleasantly inebriated gatherings). This usually meant glasses with slightly thicker bottoms and rims rose to the top, and glasses that felt fragile in the hand didn’t make the winner’s list. That said, I do have a nice set of Spiegelau tulip glasses that are ultra-fragile (thin stems, thin body) that I break out from their box on special occasions (like when trying a particularly nice Belgian-style farmhouse ale). If you do want to invest in some dainty, thin glasses for such moments, I recommend storing them in their box in a quiet place. 

Timeless Looks are Great—But Creative Designs Shine Too 

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Of the sets I’ve kept from my reviews, most of them have one thing in common: They have a timeless, match-everything design. My favorite everyday set from Bormoilo Rocco also moonlights as an understated but elegant option for dinner parties, as do my go-to wine tumblers. But I also like to have a few more snazzy options on hand for upping the ante, like these cut-crystal glasses from Reidel, which are stunning when used to serve up cocktails, or these green Serax glasses for a cool, modern vibe. I have a few sherry glasses floating around, too, for when I want to channel my inner European with a post-dinner digestif. 

A Few Must-Haves

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

While my glasses cabinet is full of a smattering of this and that, there are a few essentials worth noting. While I don’t have a set of stemmed, universal wine glasses (sacrilege, I know, but I’m planning on getting our winning set), they’re a must when it comes to “serious” wine drinking. As I learned when researching stemless wine glasses, most sommeliers and wine nerds say the stemmed varietal is the best for tasting wine since the stem keeps your hand away from the bowl and prevents the wine from heating up too fast. A good set of everyday glasses is also a must, and they should be durable and versatile. Finally, if you’re into beer or cocktails, some drink-specific glasses can make sipping either beverage more nuanced and indulgent. 

My Favorite Glasses I Have In My Cabinet

These cute glasses turn a casual dinner with friends into an even MORE casual dinner with friends. That is, they are both chic (very Brooklyn rooftop dinner) and irreverent (hardly the bowl-shaped, stemmed wine glass a sommelier would recommend), and utterly perfect for sipping light, fruity, and fresh wines. Plus, they stack up nicely, making for easy storage. 

Key Specs 

Number of glasses in set: 12Capacity: 7.5 ouncesStackable: YesCare: Dishwasher-safe
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

While these stemless glasses are far from trendy, they are durable (they survived a move and many, many drops), sport a timeless design, and are super affordable—only $33 for a set of 12 glasses. They’re my go-to when a friend stops by, or if I’m grabbing a laidback glass of wine for myself after a long day. 

Key Specs 

Number of glasses in set: 12Capacity: 17 ouncesStackable: NoCare: Dishwasher-safe
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

While there are merits to having different beer glasses for different brews, if I had to choose one glass to drink a beer in, it would be these Spiegelatulip glasses. They’re great at capturing the aroma and funneling it up into your nose, and the gently flared edge makes sipping smooth and precise. The only downside is they’re quite fragile, with dainty little stems, and are also expensive to replace. 

Key Specs 

Number of glasses in set: 4Capacity: 15.5 ouncesStackable: NoCare: Dishwasher-safeSerious Eats / Grace Kelly

When it comes to grabbing a glass of water or sipping a smoothie, the larger version of my favorite wee wine glasses are my vessel of choice. They stack super easily, their simple design matches anything, and they even make for a great (if plain) lowball glass or snifter. If you’re looking for an innocuous but elegant set of glasses for water or for wine, these are a sturdy, reliable, and classic-looking option. 

Key Specs 

Number of glasses in set: 12Capacity: 12.5 ouncesStackable: YesCare: Dishwasher-safeSerious Eats / Grace Kelly

Sometimes, when I treat myself to a fancy cocktail or a sip of good Scotch, I want the glass it’s in to be just as dazzling. Enter these cut-crystal, fancy schmancy rocks and highball glasses; they glitter, they glint, and they make a pour of wine look like cut rubies. They’re also incredibly sturdy, with thick bottoms and a nice heft to them. The highballs look especially stunning when filled with a frothy Gin Fizz or bedazzled with pretty garnishes.  

Key Specs 

Number of glasses in set: 8 (four rocks and four highballs) Capacity: 10-ounce rocks glass, 10.9-ounce highball glassStackable: NoCare: Dishwasher-safeSerious Eats / Grace Kelly

While I  broadly call my home decor style Bohemian, it’s really a mishmash of different things I happen to like. And while sometimes I want a dinner party’s vibe to be more mid-century modern French farmhouse, other times I want to get a little…creative: Enter these gorgeous, gem-tone green glasses. They’re petite, pretty, and have a nice heft to them, and they make a great statement piece. 

Key Specs 

Number of glasses in set: 4Capacity: 7 ounces (Medium)Stackable: NoCare: Dishwasher-safeSerious Eats / Grace Kelly

FAQs

What’s the best wine glass?

Many wine professionals recommend a stemmed wine glass since it helps keep your hand from warming up the wine; in our test of universal wine glasses, we liked the Riedel Vinum Grand Cru Riesling/Zinfandel Wine Glass. For a more casual experience, a stemless wine glass will do. 

What’s the best glassware set?

We have quite a few sets we recommend, depending on your preferences, but our top pick was from Duralex for its classic style and durability.

Why We’re the Experts

Grace Kelly is the associate commerce editor at Serious Eats. She previously tested gear for America’s Test Kitchen.She’s worked as a cook and bartender for restaurants in Providence, Rhode Island.Grace previously tested stemless wine glasses and drinking glasses, which informed her picks in this piece. She has also written a piece on beer glasses.

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