Selecting glassware for drinks is one of the most fun aspects of cocktail culture. While there are guidelines for which glasses suit different cocktails, there’s almost endless room for interpretation and personalization, and a rich history of glass that informs different styles. From vintage-inspired colored cocktail tumblers to modern double-walled vessels designed to aerate your whiskey, there’s a unique glass to suit everyone’s tastes.
Glassware traces its roots back nearly 4,000 years to ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, where artisans discovered the art of glassmaking. Different cultures developed their own techniques for working with the material, from using molds to shape partially viscous glass to cutting glass canes and fusing them into complex serving platters.
Initially, glass was colorful, opaque, and reserved for royalty as a luxury good. But as artisans developed new techniques such as creating clear glass, glassblowing, and many other innovations, glass goods became more cost effective than ceramic vessels and therefore accessible beyond royal circles. It also created the opportunity for artists to create more unique shapes and distinctive styles which still influence glassware designs today.