Stocking the Tiki Bar: Glassware

So now thanks to our first two parts you can make your Tiki drink, but what will you put it in? The answer may not be as easy as you if your goal is to serve a professional looking drink to your guests. I’ll tell you flat out this step is the hardest for a home bartender. You can travel or order online for hard to find spirits, but proper glassware isn’t always easy to find. When you go shopping for glassware at your local store you will find an array of options. Take retail glassware home and make your drink however and you’ll find it doesn’t come close to filling it. Retail glassware is ridiculously large often 8 to 9 ounces for stemware and up to 24 ounces for tall glasses. Proper bars that make craft cocktails often use glasses less than half those sizes, and good luck finding them at Target. So to continue our series we’ll tell you the most common kinds of glassware for common Tiki, proper sizes, and where to buy them.

Coupes and Globes

Ah the coupe, elegant and delicate, yet far more durable than a martini glass. This type of glass is common with classic cocktails and tiki as well. We use a 4.5 oz glass from Libbey that we bought from a local craft cocktail bar. A coupe bigger than this would be a pain in the ass as most daiquiris that fill them are right about 4 ounces. They have served us well and after 2 years we still haven’t cracked any of the original six we bought. Asking your local watering hole if you can buy some of their glasses is probably the best tip we can give for hard to find barware. Coupes especially are pretty ubiquitous in craft cocktail places, and most places will sell you a few even if they don’t advertise it. The globe glasses I use Hula Ghoul (5)have been in the family since my parents got married, but they are essentially small 8 oz wine glasses. If I had to re-buy these I’d probably hit a restaurant supply website and match them based on shape an ounce. For purposes of research the closest appear to be Libbey Embassy #3769. These are a little smaller, but that’s not a bad thing. These sweet spot for these glasses is between 6 and 8 ounces. Buying wholesale is not as bad as you might think. You do have to get a case of 24 usually, but most cases I’ve bought are only 55 to 80 dollars. Chances are you don’t need 24 glasses, but you can always split a case with a like-minded pal or two. They can also make great wedding gifts. Worse comes to worse you don’t have to worry as much about them breaking. Coupes and globes are used for up drinks, usually daiquiri variations. For shaken drinks I use the coupes. For blended drinks like the Derby Daiquiri I turn to globes. Don’t buy martini glasses. With how fragile they are your better off just mailing me the money instead.

Double Old Fashioned

The workhorse of any bar. These glasses can hold anything from a refined spirit with large chunk iNiuNaut (2)ce to a beautiful Mai Tai. These will probably be the first glasses most home bartenders buy, because they are easy to get retail. I have found most big box stores have double old fashioned glasses that fit the bill. Most of the time these glasses are 8 to 12 ounces, any bigger than that is not ideal. For me the sweet spot is right at 10 ounces. Try to find a model that’s easy to stack so you can save space for other toys.

Tiki Bowls

Emphasis on the Bowl. These specialty ceramics are used for communal drinks like drinkware (1)Scorpion Bowls, Rum Kegs, and Volcano Bowls. Like a lot of Tiki ceramics you will find they are pricey and often oversized. Special care should be taken they don’t get chipped or broken, so never use a dishwasher. What I am saying is they are pretty, but sometimes a pain in the ass. However these are pretty classic. I believe they hit prominence in Tiki bars before the actual mugs really did though I could be wrong. Oversized snifters, jumbo beer glasses, or larger than average hurricane glasses can work as a substitute. The optimal size for these is from 18 to 36 ounces. It’s good to have a few different options as some communal drinks are bigger than others.

Specialty Stemware

So here is where things can get really funky and rare. There are scores of “other” stemware that appears on old menu’s. The Molokai Mike glass is something I have coveted but often eludes me. It can be called thistle or celebration, but always seems a little off from the old TreeViper (3)pictures I find. In this category I rely on three types of glass. The first are super sexy footed pilsner glasses (Libbey #6425). These 10 ounce beauties are perfect for those odd drinks in-between a punch and a daiquiri, where a coupe is to small and a chimney to big. The Port au Prince, Dr. Funk, and Port Light immediately come to mind as candidates. Yes these are wholesale, but they are eye catching and worth the effort. Second are tulip glasses as seen in our Tree Viper and assorted classics as above. These are easier to find in specialty retailers like World Market or can be bought from your local craft beer place. These run a bit bigger at about 12 to 13 ounces, but they look great holding a colorful drink. Finally we have a Hurricane glass for those big drinks that are just shy of being communal drinks. Named for their most common occupant we typically look for items between 14 and 16 ounces. It’s also worth mentioning that cocktail kingdom recently released Pearl Diver and Metal Swizzle cups with the Jeff Berry seal of approval. These are definitely worth checking out.

Tall “Chimney” Glasses

Yes you’ve sTepesPunch (4)een these quite a lot on my site. I love these tall glasses to hold all manner of spins on the Planters Punch. They fit a hand nicely, they frost well when a cold punch is poured in, and they just look great with a nice frothy well shaken head. These glasses tend to be tall and slender, thus the name chimney. Ours actually came from World Market and sit at a nice 13 ounces. Any model between 10 and 13.5 would be perfectly fine. I’ve sometimes considered my life would be a bit easier if my glass held an ounce less.


You may notice we didn’t mention Tiki mugs. Well if you look around the site you’ll also probably notice a distinct lack of them. We’ll explain more in our next piece which will surely ruffle some feathers among dear friends in the Tiki community. If you haven’t yet check out the previous pieces in this series. Also don’t forget your syrup recipes and books. Until next time…


“You get Hammered America” – JFL

About JFL

Joey or JFL as he is known by friends is a culinary trained mixologist from the Heart of Dixie Birmingham, Alabama. From a weekly column in the St. Clair News Aegis to his own experiments online JFL never stops doing work on Tiki and Cocktails. When he's not studying all things spirit, wine, and beer he's pursuing his own odd interests such as cartoons, cheesy old horror movies, horror punk, hair metal, and hockey
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