Stemware for wine
The stiletto of wine glasses: Zalto Denk’Art Universal Glass
Really nice wine demands a really nice glass, and there are also times when you want to drink in style. That’s when you reach for one of these wine glasses. The Zalto Denk’Art Universal Glass received high marks from all of the wine experts who participated in the taste tests for our guide to wine glasses. You may recognize these distinctively angular glasses from fancy wine bars and restaurants. And if you’ve enjoyed using them there, you may appreciate having a couple of your own, for truly special occasions and exceptional bottles of wine.
We found that this glass did an excellent job of highlighting the nuances of both red and white wines in a way that inexpensive wine glasses don’t. It’s not one of the main picks in our wine glasses guide because the tall silhouette, skewer-thin stem, and light-as-air hand-blown glass feel impractical, inspiring fear among the clumsy and uninitiated. (Our new upgrade pick, the Gabriel-Glas StandArt, is sturdier and still excellent.) The Zalto’s height and lightweight can also make this glass feel unbalanced when it’s filled with a generous pour. But the Zalto is much stronger than it appears (ours survived multiple falls on hardwood and knocks against a counter). And, just like wearing a pair of stilettos, using one of these glasses can become second nature once you get a little practice in.
A wine glass with a pedigree: Jancis Robinson x Richard Brendon Wine Glass
This collaboration between influential wine critic Jancis Robinson and star British tableware designer Richard Brendon was a favorite of wine importer Mary Taylor in our most recent round of wine glass testing. It performed well across several styles of red and white wines, but Taylor felt it was particularly good at showcasing the aged red that we tasted. “The elegance of this wine goes nicely with the elegance of this glass,” she said.
Like the Zalto, this glass feels almost weightless in your hand, with an extremely delicate stem that can make some people uncomfortable. But our drop tests proved it to be impressively sturdy, and you’re encouraged to clean it in the dishwasher. This glass has a classic rounded bowl, medium stem length, and a wide, stabilizing foot, all of which distinguish it from the avant-garde lines of other modern glasses and make it feel a little less top-heavy than the Zalto when it’s full. It’s a stunning, precise tool for people who like to intellectualize about their wines or linger over a bottle at dinner.
A big, inexpensive wine glass: Korin Sena Bordeaux Glass
If you like big wine glasses and frequently entertain for groups of six or more, the Korin Sena glasses are great to stock up on so you don’t have to scramble to accommodate extra guests. During our recent wine glass testing, professional and non-professional tasters alike were widely impressed by the Korin Sena glasses, especially once they learned about the $4-per-glass price tag (before shipping).
Although this Bordeaux glass was a little too big to be as versatile as our top pick, the Libbey Signature Kentfield Estate All-Purpose Wine Glass, it was just as durable, and many of our testers liked its generous size. This glass wouldn’t be out of place at a restaurant with a decent wine list, but it’s affordable enough that you won’t flinch if a guest drops one. Korin sells the glass in other sizes, so if you’re more of a white wine drinker, consider the smaller chardonnay glass.
Stemware for beer
An iconic beer glass: Rastal Teku Stemmed Beer Glass
Once you’ve graduated to pouring beer into a glass that isn’t shaped like a boot, you may as well do it right. The Italian-made Rastal Teku glass is the choice of many connoisseurs, and it has achieved something of a cult status among beer drinkers. It’s designed to enhance the aroma and flavor of all types of beer. As beer writer Joshua Bernstein told us, “The Teku offers this one-size-fits-all model for beer glassware. It goes with everything from a nice, crisp pilsner to a funky sour ale, and it will be able to handle all of that with depth and style and grace.”
We found that the flared rim and angled bowl enhanced aromatic beers, and the remarkably thin lip made this glassless distracting and more pleasant to drink from than a chunky pint glass. The stem gives the Rastal Teku an elegant appearance, and it also keeps you from warming your beer with your hand.
Glasses for cocktails
Your new favorite cocktail glasses: Hard Strong Tumblers
Use these 10-ounce tumblers for tall drinks at any time of the day, whether or not alcohol is involved. They look particularly good with a celery-garnished Bloody Mary or a crisp gin and tonic.
This 10.6-ounce glass is big enough to hold a sphere of ice, and it has a tapered base that’s more comfortable to hold than heftier rocks glasses.
You can spend a lot on crystal tumblers, most of which are heavy, oversize trinkets meant to convey status rather than function. The molded Hard Strong Striped Tumbler and Hard Strong Check Glass Short Tumbler aren’t crystal, but they nod at the classic models, with beautiful facets that glisten, while also looking minimal and modern thanks to their sensible size. Our kitchen team was impressed with these, at first sight, remarking that they seemed more expensive than their actual price tag. They’ll work for just about any cocktail, and we appreciate their comfortably weighted bases and thin rims, which are pleasant to drink from. Made from a type of tempered glass, these glasses are also exceptionally durable: Both the short and tall glasses withstood repeated knocks into a stainless steel sink and into the edge of a kitchen counter without showing a hint of damage.
A perfect shot glass and more: Cocktail Kingdom Veladora Mezcal Glass
We found that this glass, which is made for serving mezcal, is perfectly sized to hold a generous 2 ounces of whatever liquor you choose, with enough room to accommodate a single ice cube or a splash of water for dilution. Despite its miniature form, the Veladora has enough of a commanding presence that it won’t get lost on a crowded table. This glass not only looks nice but it’s also comfortable to hold, due to the extra texture and weight from the exterior ribbing. And since it comes in a set of six, the Veladora can serve double duty the next time a round of shots is in order.