When it comes to crafting the perfect cocktail, having the right tools and equipment is super important– And one of the most commonly used tools in any bartender’s arsenal is the cocktail mixing glass.
Good cocktail mixing glasses are one of the best bar tools to add to your home barware if you want to make spirit-forward, stirred cocktails– plus, they’re pretty on the bar, too.
Mixing glass

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What is a Cocktail Mixing Glass?

A cocktail mixing glass is a vessel designed for mixing cocktails and is typically made of glass or crystal. They come in various sizes, and its large shape influences how the ingredients are mixed together. The A Bar Above mixing glass’ slightly convex shape perfectly matches our bar spoon, for example, so you can stir right along the glass’ side.
The best cocktail mixing glass should be thick enough to insulate the contents inside while still being easy to handle. It should also have a wide mouth and sturdy base to allow for easy stirring with minimal spillage.
Glass and crystal are the most commonly used materials, with the crystal being more expensive but also more delicate. However, you want a mixing glass that is strong enough to withstand stirring cocktails without shattering, so make sure to get something strong and tempered– like ours!
Pouring gin for gin cocktails into a cocktail jigger and then mixing glass instead of cocktail shaker-- with a strong vermouth bottle on the side

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Why a Cocktail Mixing Glass is Necessary for Every Home Bar

Using a mixing glass over other mixing methods like shaking or blending ensures that the cocktail ingredients are not over-diluted, which is why this technique is used for spirit-forward cocktails like a Negroni.
When a cocktail is shaken or blended, ice is added to the mixture, and as the ice melts, it dilutes the drink. Stirring the cocktail in a mixing glass with ice chills it without melting the ice too much, ensuring that the cocktail remains full-flavored and bold.
The mixing glass holds in the temperature of the ice while you stir, chilling your cocktail and allowing for the proper dilution without diluting too much. By using a mixing glass, you can achieve the ideal balance between chilling the cocktail and maintaining its full flavor.
Stirring a cocktail with a mixing glass and a bar spoon allows the ingredients to blend smoothly, resulting in a velvety, smooth texture. This is particularly important for cocktails that are made solely of spirits and have no mixers, like an Old Fashioned or Manhattan.
Stirring the Manhattan cocktail in a mixing glass before adding 2 dashes bitters

Photo copyright A Bar Above


How to Choose the Right Cocktail Mixing Glass

Choosing the right cocktail mixing glass can be a daunting task, with many different types, sizes, and materials to choose from. When selecting the best cocktail mixing glass for your home bar tools, there are a couple factors to consider:
  • Consider the size and shape of the mixing glass. The ideal size and shape will depend on the types of cocktails you prefer to make. A larger mixing glass allows you to make two cocktails at once, while a smaller one is fine for single cocktails. Obviously, the double mixing glass is more versatile, but it’s your personal choice which you prefer.
  • Material is also important: As mentioned, crystal is more delicate and more expensive, but some people find it more aesthetically pleasing and “fancy” looking. Consider how frequently you’ll be using the mixing glass, as this will determine how durable it needs to be.
Pouring gin for gin cocktails into a cocktail jigger and then mixing glass instead of cocktail shaker-- with a strong vermouth bottle on the side

Copyright A Bar Above


How to Use a Cocktail Mixing Glass

Using a cocktail mixing glass is relatively straightforward. To begin, fill the mixing glass with ice to about two-thirds full. Then add the ingredients for your cocktail, starting with the base spirit and progressing to the other ingredients in the order specified in the recipe.
Next, use a bar spoon to stir the ingredients gently in a circular motion for about 20-30 seconds or until the contents of the glass are properly mixed and chilled. Be careful not to over-stir the drink, as this can over-dilute the cocktail and affect its flavor.
Finally, strain the drink into a glass and garnish it as desired. Use a julep strainer or Hawthorne strainer to remove any bits of ice, fruit, or other solid ingredients that may have been stirred into the drink.
Stirred Set in Copper, Copyright A Bar Above

Copyright A Bar Above

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using a Cocktail Mixing Glass

One common mistake that people make when using a mixing glass is using too much ice. While it’s recommended to use enough ice to chill the drink properly, using too much ice can lead to over-dilution of the cocktail. A good rule of thumb is to fill the mixing glass about two-thirds full with ice.
Another mistake is over-stirring the drink. Stirring the cocktail too much can cause the ice to melt too quickly, also leading to over-dilution of the drink. Be sure to stir the drink just until it is properly mixed and chilled, and then strain it into the serving glass immediately.
stirred set

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Cleaning and Maintaining a Cocktail Mixing Glass

Proper cleaning and maintenance of a cocktail mixing glass will help it last for years to come. You can hand wash it with dish soap and a soft sponge and let it dry in a drying rack, or you can run it through the dishwasher if it’s dishwasher-safe. (Many aren’t– but ours are!)
Avoid using abrasive cleaning materials, like steel wool, as they can scratch the glass and ruin its appearance.
To maintain the quality of your cocktail mixing glass, store it in a dry, cool place, away from direct sunlight. If your mixing glass is made of crystal, be sure to handle it carefully to avoid chipping or breaking. Also, avoid stacking it with other glassware, as this can cause scratches and damage.
The best barware is the one that’s most comfortable and practical for you. With proper care and handling, your mixing glass can last for years and help you make delicious cocktails for your friends and family. It not only looks great, but it is also really useful when stirring up great cocktails– So if you’re serious about creating the perfect cocktail, investing in a good mixing glass is a no-brainer.

About Melanie Tornroth

A former English teacher, Melanie optimistically embraces the struggle that is work-from-home parenthood as the in-house writer for A Bar Above. When not responding to “Mom” and writing articles for ABA, she also runs Goodnickels Photography, loves to cuddle her cats, and is perfecting the art of keeping her pandemic “fermentation babies” alive.