The martini glass is named for the classic cocktail of gin and vermouth garnished with an olive or two. And while that particular mixed drink may have given birth to the iconic glass, it’s also the glass of choice for cosmopolitans, Manhattans, negronis, and other cocktails. No home bar is truly complete without a set of high-quality martini glasses.
The classic martini glass looks like an inverted cone with a wide rim that sits upon a long stem with a round base. There are variations on this design, though, including rounded and goblet-shaped glasses, and even stemless varieties. Martini glasses come in crystal, glass, and unbreakable polycarbonate plastic.
This guide will examine the different types of martini glasses and discuss the features to consider when shopping for the right martini glass for your needs. You’ll also find recommendations for the best martini glasses on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Riedel Extreme Martini Glass, Set of 2
- BEST TRADITIONAL: Riedel VINUM Martini Glasses, Set of 2
- BEST STEMLESS: JoyJolt Carre 2-Piece Cocktail Glasses Set
- BEST NICK AND NORA: HISTORY COMPANY Nick & Nora Crystal Martini Glasses
- BEST COUPE: barconics 7 ounce Coupe Glass (Box of 4)
- BEST LARGE: Luminarc Cachet 10 Ounce Martini 4-Piece Set
- MOST DURABLE: K BASIX Unbreakable Martini Glasses
- ALSO CONSIDER: Amazon Basics Chelsea Martini Glass Set
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Martini Glass
The upside-down conical shape of the classic martini glass might be what comes to mind first, but these glasses come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Ahead, learn more about different types of martini glasses and essential factors to consider when shopping for them, including material, capacity, shape, feel, and style.
Most martini glasses are made of either glass or crystal. High-end martini glasses consist of crystal. Crystal has more minerals in it, including lead, magnesium, and zinc, which makes it stronger than glass. This allows the crystal to be blown thinner while maintaining its strength, resulting in a more delicate—and hence more attractive—drinking vessel. Glass has to be spun thicker to maintain strength, thus cocktail vessels made of glass will have a thickness similar to that of drinking glasses. Crystal is more expensive than standard glass, with blown crystal costing the most.
Some martini glasses are made from polycarbonate plastic. While they are not as elegant as glass or crystal, plastic martini glasses are ideal for backyard gatherings, pool parties, and other events at which glass may not be the best choice.
Martini glasses vary significantly in capacity. The classic inverted-cone martini glass holds 8 ounces, and larger versions can hold 9 ounces or more. Other martini glass designs, such as the Nick and Nora shape, hold about 6 ounces, while a coupe glass holds approximately 7 ounces. Smaller understated martini glasses may hold as little as 4.5 ounces.
Martini glasses come in a surprisingly wide variety of shapes. The classic martini glass consists of an inverted cone that sits atop a long stem, which allows the user to hold the glass without warming the liquid as they grasp the glass. Most martini glasses are around 7 inches tall with a 3.5-inch-diameter rim. This shape creates a wide-open mouth to maximize the aroma of the drink when sipped.
The goblet-shaped Nick and Nora glass, made famous by the 1930s The Thin Man movies, has a smaller-diameter rim than a classic martini glass. This has the effect of condensing and intensifying the cocktail’s aromas.
A coupe glass trades the V-shape of the classic martini glass for a rounded shape. This makes for a more elegant glass, suitable for more formal celebrations. This shape is also a popular alternative to champagne flutes and is the glass of choice for creating the champagne towers that are popular at weddings.
Stemless martini glasses look somewhat like whiskey glasses. With no stem, they are shorter than a classic martini glass. Their rims may not be as wide either, but they are still flared to maximize aroma. These glasses typically have heavy feet, or bases, which keep them from tipping over if they’re put down. These bases also give drinkers a place to hold the glass in the palm without warming the liquid.
The correct way to hold a martini glass is to grip the stem with one hand and hold the base in the palm with the other. This allows the user to hold the glass without warming the cocktail. It also makes the martini glass one of the more awkward glasses to steady while standing or moving around a bar.
With this in mind, a martini glass should feel well balanced when held. The stem should not feel so thin that it’s difficult to grasp or feel like it might snap easily. Likewise, the base should be large enough to prevent tip-overs when the glass is resting on the table but not so large that it is difficult to place in the palm when standing.
In addition to shape, martini glasses also have other design factors that impact style. The lines of a classic martini glass are straight and smooth, and the material is clear. Some martini glasses have ornate etched designs and textured finishes or are made from colored glass. They may also eschew the glass’s traditional rounded rim for squared-off shapes. Some martini glasses are even stemless.
While most glass and polycarbonate martini glasses are dishwasher safe, crystal tends to be more porous than glass and should therefore be hand-washed to prevent detergents from getting into the crystal’s pores. When washing martini glasses in the dishwasher, place the glasses in the top rack, which is farther from the dishwasher’s heating element and therefore safer.
Our Top Picks
The list below is the result of reviewing dozens of martini glasses, varying by shape, size, and material. Any of the martini glasses below are worthy additions to any home bar.
Whether the cocktail inside it is shaken or stirred, a martini glass should be eye-catching as well as functional. This set of two glasses from glassware giant Riedel is both. Its name comes from the “extreme” contours of the glass, which rise at a sharp angle from the stem before curving upward to the rim. This design creates an optimal shape for the spirits’ aroma and conforms to the mouth to facilitate sipping. A large base adds to the glass’s undulating shape while serving as a sturdy support. Each glass is just under 7 inches tall, holds 8 ounces, and is dishwasher-safe.
Riedel’s martini glasses are classic V-shaped martini glasses in a more compact size. Each glass measures about 6 inches tall and has a 4⅝-ounce capacity, which gives it a more understated look than larger and more ostentatious 8- or 10-ounce glasses. The stem is thin, but it’s substantial enough to survive a lively cocktail party.
These martini glasses are part of Riedel’s VINUM collection, which is their line of glassware made of fine crystal that is machine blown rather than hand blown. As a result, they’re more affordable than hand-blown crystal glasses. While these martini glasses can endure the dishwasher, hand-washing is best to prevent detergent residue from building up on the glass.
Some situations require a martini glass with a little more heft to it. JoyJolt’s stemless martini glasses are sturdily constructed with a heavy base and thicker glass, making them ideal for use when there’s an increased likelihood that glassware could be broken. In addition to being tougher, these martini glasses have an eye-catching modern design that eschews the traditional round profile for a squared-off look, with an offset base that adds interest.
Each glass holds 8 ounces and is 4.5 inches tall. The Carre’s smaller shape makes this glass easier to hold. Besides providing a sturdy foundation for the glass, the substantial base is easy to hold in one’s palm, preventing the hand from warming the liquid.
Made famous by two fictional characters from a popular movie series of the 1930s, this classic version of the elegant Nick and Nora glass curves upward in a goblet shape, differentiating it from the V-shape of the classic martini glass. The narrow rim condenses the alcohol’s aroma, making the glass suitable for martinis and even Manhattans.
These Nick and Nora glasses from HISTORY COMPANY are made of high-quality, lead-free crystal. They are more petite than classic martini glasses, with a narrower 2¾-inch-diameter opening, a 2½-inch-diameter base, and a height of just under 6 inches. Because they have a 6-ounce capacity, these glasses are best for shorter drinks. This set is made of high-tempered glass that resists chips, and the glasses are dishwasher safe.
A coupe glass takes the conventional shape of the V-shaped martini glass and turns it on its head by rounding its shape, softening the glass’s look. Because these coupe glasses have a diameter just over 2.3 inches, the aroma of a cocktail is condensed and intensified.
Coupe glasses are festive and good choices for elegant events, such as weddings and New Year’s Eve champagne towers. This version holds 7 ounces of liquid, which is slightly less than most martini glasses, and is made of thicker glass that is both dishwasher safe and party friendly.
Make it a double—or a triple—with this set of four 10-ounce martini glasses from Luminarc. The glasses are big enough to contain on-the-rocks drinks with elaborate garnishes. Each is 7.5 inches high with a 4.5-inch diameter, designed in the classic “inverted cone” martini glass shape. The size plus the style of these glasses means they’ll surely make a statement at the next cocktail party.
Luminarc’s martini glasses have angles that rise sharply to allow for comfortable sipping without spilling. Their stems are substantial enough to resist snapping during more animated cocktail parties, and their wide bases are sturdy enough to support big drinks. These glasses are dishwasher safe—assuming they’ll fit in the dishwasher.
Cocktails on the beach, a toast after a romantic hike to a hilltop, and sipping drinks poolside all call for a set of martini glasses that won’t easily break. This two-pack of clear polycarbonate glasses looks like glass, but these glasses are almost indestructible. They are designed in the classic martini V-shape on top of a long stem, and they have a broad 3-inch base that ensures the glass won’t knock over easily.
K BASIX’s 10-ounce, 7-inch-high glasses are generously sized and look posh at the edge of the pool or jacuzzi. Though the glasses are dishwasher safe, stacking them is not advised because they will scratch.
A set of martini glasses for a cocktail party doesn’t have to be a half-paycheck investment. This set of six glasses from Amazon Basics will outfit a small cocktail party while leaving plenty of money in the budget for the spirits. The Chelsea glasses’ V-shape give them a distinctive classic look. This set is a worthy choice for straight-up vodka or gin martinis.
Each glass is well balanced and is about 8 inches high and 5 inches in diameter. A 3-inch-diameter base fits comfortably in the palm. With a capacity of 10 ounces, each glass has plenty of room for ice and garnishes. Clear, lead-free glass construction makes for an attractive set. These glasses are dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze after the cocktail party.
FAQs About Martini Glasses
Wondering which kinds of drinks are suitable for martini glasses, or how a martini glass differs from other bar glassware? Read on for answers to these and other common questions about martini glasses.
Q. What is the standard size of a martini glass?
While there is no standard size for a martini glass, the original martini glass had a capacity of about 4 ounces. Most bars have martini glasses that hold between 6 and 8 ounces of liquid. The largest martini glasses can hold as much as 12 ounces.
Q. What is the difference between a cocktail glass and a martini glass?
Although cocktail glasses and martini glasses are similar, a cocktail glass is slightly smaller, more rounded, and has a shorter stem and narrower rim. A cocktail glass might hold between 3 and 6 ounces, and a martini glass can typically hold between 5 and 12 ounces.
Q. What other cocktails can I serve in a martini glass?
In addition to a variety of martinis, a martini glass is also used to serve mixed drinks such as Manhattans, cosmopolitans, negronis, gimlets, and grasshoppers.