10 Rules of Drinking Like a Man #7 Own Your Drink and the Glass It Is In

Glass vs Plastic

Just looking at these can conjure up the smell of vomit

The most important thing about picking the right glassware for a cocktail is that is be made of glass.  The only time a drink can be served in plastic is at a kegger or a swim up bar. Invest in one glass (made of glass) for every seat in your home. That is to say if you have a dining room table that seats six, you should own six wine glasses. And,  if you are having a big crew over for a party I would remind you that you can rent glasses for $1 each and not have to clean them. That’s cheaper than buying them at Ikea and needing an extra storage closet.  Plastic is for college, you may only use glass in your home.

Cocktail Glass vs Martini Glass

This is a cocktail glass, rookies and idiots call it a Martini glass

A Martini glass is a glass that has a Martini in it.  The, “V,” shaped icon in your brain is not a martini glass, though most refer to it as such, this glass is indeed a, “cocktail glass.”  Cocktails go in cocktail glasses and martinis are a type of cocktail.  As a man, you can not fear the cocktail glass.  The cocktail glass is the perfect balance of strength and grace.  Men that fear the cocktail glass are responsible for making cocktails worse.  I ordered a Manhattan today and was asked if I wanted it on the rocks.

What I heard was: “Sir, instead of mixing you a cocktail as per the craft of the bartender, shall I just dump sir’s drink in a bucket?”

What I said out loud was: “Stirred and up.”

What I should have said was: “See that Brooks Brothers mannequin next to me? He drinks Manhattans on the rocks because he doesn’t want to be viewed as a sissy in this corporate steakhouse.  I don’t give a shit what you think of me because I am my own man.  And when I order a cocktail, don’t inquire if I would like my drink made incorrectly or if I am concerned with those around me thinking I am a homosexual because of my choice in glassware.”

99% of cocktails are supposed to be served up and are definitely better that way. In my experience, guys that order cocktails on the rocks are homophobes that don’t like the taste of alcohol, but think that drinking is manly.  I’d rather these guys join PFLAG, learn to be cool with their fellow man, and not come back to the bar until they can admit they just want a lemondrop.

Pro Tip: Learn how to manage a cocktail glass, hold them by the stem just under the bulb or by the rim of the glass with only your thumb and middle finger.

Highball vs Lowball


Bubbles go in a highball

This one is easy: a highball glass is tall and skinny thus focusing the bubbles of long drinks up and a lowball is short and wide so you can smell the ingredients in the drink.  Highball-soda.  Lowball-flat.  Both glasses are almost always identical in volume.

Real Pint vs Fake Pint

When you see a faker pint ask yourself, "What else are they hiding?"

A pint’s a pound the world ’round” is something you hopefully learned in college.  If you didn’t it is quite simple, when the Brits went metric they didn’t give up the pint as the standard pour for a beer; 16 fluid ounces of greatness.  I like different beers in different measures, 6 oz rocks glass to sip with whiskey, an 8 oz tulip for a Belgian, a 16 oz pint for ale, a 19 oz imperial pint for stout, a deuce deuce or a 22 oz for a party, a liter aka a 33 oz for sushi bars and beer hall, a 40 oz for college and even a 66 oz growler with friends.  They are all beautiful in my eyes, all but the fake pint, the 14 oz thick bottom fake pint glass.  When you see this glass you must understand that you are in an establishment that is stealing 2 extra ounces of beer with every “pint.” The place that would do this to you does not respect the way of beer.  To quote Homer Simpson, “Did we lose a war? This is not America.”

Rocks Glass vs Snifter vs Glencairn Glass

Snifter: Better for thick heavy liqueurs and monologuing about revenge

The brandy snifter is for the most part simply wrong.  Snifters don’t really have a set size but they normally show up for straight spirits, after dinner drinks or warmed drinks and they only work for very specific spirits.  Snifters provide too much area for a lighter spirit, the nose will become over focused.   Snifters do however work well for heavy spirits, those being liqueurs that have a dull nose due to a syrupy texture.

To test this try lining up 3 snifters, one with a shot of crème de cacao, the next with cognac and the final with gin.  Now line up 3 rocks glasses with the same bill.  You’ll find that in a rocks glass you can’t smell anything in the crème de cacao glass,  but in the snifter aromas will develop.  The cognac will provide a nice bouquet in the rocks glass but it will oxidize and start to taste stale but in the snifter the nose will smell phenol and boozy.  Gin in a rocks glass smells like a hike in the Alps but if you inhale deeply from the snifter, the high proof and pure unsweetened alcohol will burn your nose and make you cough.  So you need to consider these things when choosing glassware for spirits.

There is a newer glass on the scene that bridges the gap for all of these problems called a Glencairn glass.  It is basically a tulip that allows aromas to develop without over focusing the nose and allows the user to adjust the temperature of the glass easily.  These work well for spirits and liqueurs.

Glencairn: Good for single malts, grappa, brandy and pretending you are a giant drinking from a tiny glass

Tiki vs Other

Use specialty glassware whenever possible. Why? Duh, remember  the twin guns of fun and function. Here are a few to keep an eye out for in thrift stores.  Michelle has stocked our cabinet with a dozen tiki mugs found at the Goodwill for the price of just going to the Goodwill (plus $3 each).  That is drinking that supports charity, HOORAY!  Specialty glassware shown below are markers of quality bars.

Still haven't broken one

The Julep cup is a must have on Derby day or for the true ice cold julep experience.  Unless it is from a julep cup, you haven’t had a mint julep.

Fooled you

This one is for the bar managers:

Knock knock

Who’s there?


Opportunity who?

Opportunity to charge extra for a vodka and ginger beer when you serve it from this traditional marketing gimic.

What heartless bastard could say no to Hawaiian Shirt Friday?

Tiki will be the salvation for the sins of the too serious cocktail culture.  Look at these little devils, everything is right in the world about filling them up with crushed ice and throwing on some Stan Getz.  But be careful, sometimes when I do that I’m threatened with, “Why don’t you just grow a ponytail and practice being single?”

This entry was posted in 10 Rules of Drinking Like a Man, Cocktails and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to 10 Rules of Drinking Like a Man #7 Own Your Drink and the Glass It Is In

  1. Ben Bennett says:

    I’m sure you know all of this, but the wording in the article is a little loose.

    “A pint’s a pound the world ’round” is true, but only because both vary in parallel. The units are otherwise a train-wreck.

    The Imperial pint is 20 Imperial oz… but that’s 19.2 US oz. So when you say “when the Brits went metric they didn’t give up the pint as the standard pour for a beer; 16 fluid ounces of greatness”, it implies the British pint is smaller than it is.

    Anyway… small nit with an otherwise great article. Thanks, as always, for posting these.

  2. Ha! now you have no excuse not to come visit me at Tini Bigs!!

  3. Jacob Briars says:

    Definitely one of the best Simpson’s quotes ever. Hilarious post, as usual.

  4. I would like to make it clear that the threat of “Why don’t you just grow a ponytail and practice being single?” is due to the incessant playing of jazz. Not due to tiki. Tiki is hot and won’t get anyone thrown out of the house….but Saxaphone….SAXAPHONE….saxaphonesaxaphonesaxaphone….Saxaphone…sAXAphone….saxaPHONNNNNEEEE…

  5. Jamie says:

    As your neighbor from the North, allow me to say that a pint is 20 oz you damn cheap Yank! Oh, and fuck Hawaiian Shirt Friday…. ;-)

    • caskstrength says:

      Gonna give you a giant hibiscus covered hug next I see you. Also, I’m covering your shift Sunday, so leave your stuff at work, I’m going to dress up like you, use your bitters and pronounce the letter “o” in a hilarious fashion.

  6. Adam says:

    Cocktail glass? Meh. I much prefer a coupe glass. Looks cooler, doesn’t slosh around as much when moved, and potentially looks even less manly, in the wrong hands, than the cocktail glass. Win, win, and win.

    • Coupes are my favorite as well. Andrew makes excellent cocktails in thrift store found vintage crystal coupes: https://caskstrength.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/easterdrunk.jpg

      They are also my choice for champagne and sparkling wine. Perlage doesn’t need to be preserved, it needs to be consumed.

    • AK says:

      I agree. The straight-walled cocktail glass is a royal pain in the ass when your friends are drinking heavily – the stem and the sharply-angled rim make it as fragile as a wine glass when faced with a gyrating lunatic, but the strength of the contents and the party context make destruction even more likely. They’re also damnably hard to control when filled, leading to further mishaps.

      Coupes are the way to go.

      They even preserve the insecure drinker’s masculinity a bit better, given that nobody associates a coupe with Sex And The City.

  7. Neil says:

    I agree with all of this.

    Except glasswear is cheaper at Ikea than renting – pack of 6 for 5 bucks. Bonus: you’ll even impress Dale Chihouly (true story).

    Carry on.

  8. Kathleen says:

    For some non fear-inducing, manly barware, check out LQAA:


    If you’re too lazy to do the thrift store huntin’, we got you covered! OK, shameless plug over.

  9. Brant says:

    Spot on! Although, I do wish you wouldn’t have mentioned the good finds on glassware at Goodwill. Cheers!

  10. rlucas says:

    At risk of seeming like an Italian industrial family’s patriarch vainly clinging to control through a series of barely-majority control positions in holding companies, let me say that I agree mostly with almost all of about 80% of what you have to say.

    But when you suggest that to have a cocktail on the rocks, when it is conventionally by the smart set enjoyed “up,” is likely a sign of sexual immaturity, I must take a bit of offense. In fact, I rather think the opposite is more likely: in the event of being at, say, a 2nd rate city’s 4th rate suburb’s 3rd rate art museum, at some kind of frou-frou industry or charitable event, and having a gin martini with olives as the best bet around, it is the mark of the entirely comfortable man (and, what better bespeaks an alpha than the man who is entirely comfortable within his skin with what he wants and who he is?) that he should eschew the naive sophistication of the overfilled cocktail glass in favor of a well-diluted, but reliably cooled and titrated, tumbler full of semibruised gin?

    I mean, we all can’t roll to every party with embossed flasks of fine Scotch, bro.

    • caskstrength says:

      This is all true.

      I too have surveyed the landscape of plastic cups lorded over by someone’s college-age nephew at your above mentioned function. It was at a wedding, or a fundraiser for TBA or maybe at a crappy photography opening at what is actually a coffee shop. In these situations yes, the statement:

      “Booze, Cold, Now.”

      Is often the best one could hope for.

      I might suggest though in these cases you refer to an earlier post I wrote about ordering the right drink at the right time. Because you are indeed correct, prize adaptability and you are an alpha. And an alpha does adapt and recreate rules. But, because you are all of these things, I shall gift you with a travel set of cocktail glasses with some emergency bitters, then you will also be a, “fancy lad.” A humble token for you and your good lady wife deserve the finest.

      Thank you for you comment, though I often needed to consult a dictionary to understand you, and a thesaurus to reply. I hope this is the first of a large series of Jeffersonian and John Adams-ish letters we will, “pen,” to each other. Though be warned, engaging in such an exchange will surely result in us dying on the same day.

      Cheers, to your health


  11. Doug Winship says:

    This is a good reminder that I need to get my ass out there and pick up a set of glencairns. They’ll be for me and my most educated buds. I’ll keep the snifters around because when you want to feel pretentious… There. Is. No. Substitute.

    Great post.

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  13. Couple of spelling errors. It’s monologuing or monologging and it should be pretending, not pretnding. And I prefer the coupe over the cocktail glass. They seem to be easier to find cheaply at antique places as well.

    • Spelling errors are my domain and it looks like I didn’t proofread the captions. Thanks for the heads up, they’ve been fixed.

      Andrew’s also a big fan of the thrift-store found vintage coupe glasses. This photo is proof of so many things: https://caskstrength.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/easterdrunk.jpg

    • caskstrength says:

      The coupe is all well and good, nice fake story about a boob in there. They are what I use at home. I guess I wasn’t stressing them because right now the coupe represents a lot about cocktail culture I hate. I’m 100% for smaller cheaper cocktails that stay cold longer and I’m also 100% against viewing the website of every craft cocktail bar and seeing their height of mixology be brown goop in a coupe with a twist.

      My soul is brown bitter and stirred but those drinks are all my people are making right now and that is wrong.

      • Be careful that you don’t end up sounding as pretentious as those you are trying to scorn. Speaking as someone who lives in the hinterlands, I would love to have this as a problem. Instead, I’m trapped in vodka “-tini” hell, devoid of fresh juices, bitters and rye whiskey; awash in high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavorings and “shots”.

      • caskstrength says:

        Good folks like you, my 2 friends AJ Rathbun and Jacob Briars, who often comment here help remind me of what matters, keeping my spite in context.

        I’m sorry I wish you were overwhelmed with craft cocktail bars too, it is as they say a, “high class problem.”

        A lot of my posts address what I see as trends in the industry. And I try to be cautious about encouraging people to go too far out there where the lose focus and forget why they started up with this job or hobby.

        And viewing your site, you have not lost focus and are clearing having more fun than my whole be-vested city of craft cocktails.

  14. Casey Robison says:

    re: two posts down: I am catching up on your blogs. I may have posted too early. Balls.

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