Must-Have Winter Cocktail Glassware, According to Adam Erace

The co-author of the excellent new cocktail guide, 'The Cocktail Workshop', breaks down his go-to winter drinks and the best vessels from which to sip them.

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The season of eating and drinking has long since commenced with the passing of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, but with Christmastime and New Years still on the horizon, there is much jolly drinking to be had. Hark! It’s not all eggnog and bubbles to usher in the new year, folks. In Adam Erace and Steven Grasse’s new book, The Cocktail Workshop, you’ll learn the original cocktail basics—how to build them, and then expand off of them, so you can hone your bartending skills for your future winter festivities. We spoke with co-author Erace to learn more about his glassware preferences to help build your very own model bar cabinet as we ride out the winter in sophisticated, boozy style.

Erace has previously authored the books Laurel: Modern American Flavors in Philadelphia and Dinner at the Club: 100 Years of Stories and Recipes from the South. He is also a restaurant critic, food and travel writer and recipe developer. That is all to say, Erace’s word is one to follow. Check out what he has to say about cocktail glassware essentials.

Thrillist: What does your glassware collection look like?
Adam Erace: My glassware collection is made up almost exclusively from my grandparents' home bars. When they passed away, their glassware was the only thing I wanted. From my mom's side I have these really awesome coupes, wine and cordial glasses, and a few Waterford crystal decanters (with liquor tags!). From my dad's side, I have a set of double old fashioned glasses with capital Es (for Erace) on them. Throw in an extra set of lightweight, all-purpose Riedel wine glasses, that gets me mostly through any drink I'm making at home.

What’s your go-to winter cocktail and what glass do you use for it?
Erace: Bourbon and rye are my go-to spirits, so I drink a lot of Manhattans, and Boulevardiers, always on the rocks in a double old fashioned glass. I tend to sip them slowly and like how the ice melt dilutes the alcohol over time.

Can you share a set of glassware that you splurged on or would splurge on? Why do you think it’s worth the investment?
Erace:Zalto wine glasses are supposed to be the best, so I wouldn't say no to a set of those, but honestly, my entire collection is either inherited or cheap from Home Goods, and they work perfectly fine. Better to spend your money on quality booze and growing your bar than on glasses.

How attached are you to using traditional glassware for classic cocktails? How much does the glassware impact the experience when it comes to pairing with their respective drink?
Erace: I think glassware is gravy. Using the right kind improves the drinking experience—think of a Mint Julep in its pewter cup—but if you have to throw a gin martini into a rocks glass, that's still worth drinking. The only exception, in my opinion, is the stemless wine glass. I'd like to see every single one of those travesties shattered.

What type of glassware would you use for creamy cocktails and why?
Erace: I particularly like a snifter for a creamy cocktail. Since they're often shaken, the narrower mouth of a snifter captures all that nice foam.

For warm cocktails, which glassware would you recommend and why?
Erace: No surprise here, but mugs are best for warm cocktails. If presentation is a consideration, use clear glass ones. If not, your morning coffee mug works just as well for holding mulled wine or buttered rum.

If you were going to gift someone a set of glassware, what would you choose and why?
Erace: For a gift for someone who is just starting out making cocktails at home, I think a set of sturdy-bottomed rocks or double old fashioned glasses are the most practical and versatile. If you've got a little bit of leeway, I would go for a colorful set of highballs from the '60s or '70s. You see them all over vintage stores. I especially like the ones that come in their own carrying cases.

Can you share a winter cocktail recipe you’re looking forward to indulging in this season?
Erace: The Pina Coquito. It isn’t a warm one, but it’s definitely a holiday one.

You can find this recipe—and many others—in The Cocktail Workshop!

The Pina Coquito

Makes one cocktail. Serve in brandy snifter with crushed or pebble ice.


  • 1 ounce/ 30 ml white rum
  • 1 ¾ ounce coconut milk
  • ¾ ounce condensed milk
  • ½ ounce strained pineapple juice
  • ½ egg yolk
  • 2 drops vanilla extract
  • Garnish: grated nutmeg, grated orange zest


  • 1: Combine the ingredients with ice in a Boston shaker and vigorously dry-shake for 30 seconds.
  • 2: Add ice to the shaker and shake for 15 seconds.
  • 3: Pack the glass with the ice. Strain the cocktail into the glass.
  • 4: Grate nutmeg and orange zest over the surface of the drink and serve.
Greer Glassman is a Thrillist contributor.
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