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Photo Courtesy of @professor.baker IG

The Cocktail Glasses Every Well-Stocked Bar Needs, Per Our Expert

Star mixologist Anthony Baker on creating the perfect at home drinking establishment.
Roxanne Robinson Jul 27, 2021
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A lot has changed since British Secret Intelligence Service agent 007 (a.k.a., James Bond) set the standard for the perfect martini—and the standard for the dashing and dangerous bachelor. Bond probably had a tricked-out, well-stocked home bar. The debonair agent knew that the glasses that his drinks went into were just as important as the ingredients and method used to make his cocktails—including, his “shaken, not stirred” martinis.

To ensure your bar has the trappings worthy of a modern Bond, Nest Casa has tapped rising mixologist Anthony Baker to break down the barware needed for a home set-up that 007 would approve. He’s even included a few unique custom drink recipes to whip up in your home bar elevated to impress secret agents or the neighbors.

Barware, Explained

Baker, who has been bartending for 20 years, began to shift focus in March 2019, when he started teaching at the European Bartender School in Brooklyn, New York. It was then his Instagram account evolved into @Professor.Baker. He soon realized that his teachings could be expanded beyond the industry’s professionals. "I realized I enjoyed helping the average person improve their home bartending skills,” he shares. “And so, I left the school to begin working at Liquor Lab to do just that.”

On the topic of glasses, while there are some universal truths - for example most cocktails lend themselves to clear glass. But he prefers to look at things on an occasion-centric basis. "I like Crate & Barrel and CB2 since they have very elegant coupe glasses that are inexpensive," Baker suggests for everyday use. "There's also abc Carpet & Home. Although they're quite expensive, around $60 per glass, it's worth it for my cocktail photography side hobby."

"Glasses are primarily for looks and presentation, thereby contributing to the most optimal drinking experience,” he continues. “If you drink a Negroni from a beer glass, it's still going to taste like a Negroni, but I guarantee you'll have a much better drinking experience sipping it from a rocks glass over a big ice cube.”

Cocktail-crafter Baker explains the choices: "Glasses add to the character of the cocktail. The rocks glass is strong, solid, and has a no-nonsense shape deserving to be used for a stiff cocktail. The coupe glass comes in fun shapes and has curvature, good for 'weaker' martinis that have a foam layer, such as the espresso martini. The collins glass should be used for 'session' cocktails that drink very much like a soda or beer, allowing the guests to feel as though they're enjoying a great cocktail over a longer period."

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The Rocks Glass

Cocktails 101

Once you sort out the correct glasses, Baker has tips for making delicious concoctions to put in them. For him, three components make up the perfect cocktail. First, he suggests bringing known compatible flavors together, such as pineapple and coconut or orange and vanilla. He adds a disclaimer to this, saying: "You could bring incompatible flavors together, but this would require some advanced mixology techniques." 

Next, he reminds of the need to balance the sweetness in a cocktail: "More and more people are becoming averse to overly sweet drinks. But sweet is a necessary component for nearly every cocktail, just be sure to balance it out with the perfect amount of citrus or bitter components.” 

Barware_ Story 1
Photo Courtesy of @professor.baker IG

Lastly, he stresses that everything in the cocktail needs to serve a purpose. "Cocktails must be appealing to the eyes, nose, and palate—everything in harmony with each other.  If you achieve this, you've created the ultimate experience for the guest," he insists. "It's a requirement to have a vision of the cocktail first, as it helps to have a reason behind everything in it contributing to that vision." As an example, he cites a margarita, where sage is the garnish. He explains: "People love it but have no idea why. It's because the sage aroma is compatible with the smoky aroma from the mezcal. This is what I call an ultimate experience."

His most popular drink is suited to a rocks glass. "People find the Mexican old fashioned very peculiar," he said. "People don't believe that a good old-fashioned made with tequila and mezcal is possible but are surprised at its sippable smoothness. This is where I geek out and teach them how to make an old-fashioned with just about any spirit."

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The Highball Glass

Bar Tips According to an Expert

Baker says he often gets asked what is needed to build the perfect bar—aside from great barware, of course. His advice: "People get led in the wrong direction constantly with this inquiry. This is the best and most cost-effective way to build your bar. Buy a cocktail book that you find interesting. Whichever drinks seem tasty enough to make at home, buy everything you'll need for it: syrup, citrus, shaker, strainer, etc." After doing this for a few recipes, you'll slowly start to build your bar around your taste preferences.

"Do not buy random alcohols, vermouths, bitters, etc.” he warns. “Only purchase what you'll surely use. There's nothing worse than having a bunch of things on your shelves that will collect dust."

He recommends making sure your glassware is washed at least every two weeks if sitting idle to protect it from  becoming cloudy. But make sure to dry it immediately with a cloth and put it back safely on the shelf. "You run the risk of knocking them over and breaking them if you air dry them, especially if they're flimsy and delicate,” he explains. “This doesn't seem like such a big deal, but when your glassware is costly, it is a huge deal."

Baker loves a vintage glass but recognizes that procuring one can be a bit of a challenge. "You can't go out and look for a specific item because it's most likely not for sale. Buy whatever you see that you like that doesn't cost you an arm and a leg," he advises, specifically touting the Grand Bazaar NYC flea market on New York's Upper West Side. "They usually have the most random things that were used behind the bar many years ago, like shakers, bottle openers, coupe glasses, and more."

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The Shot Glass

Mixology Bar Wisdom

Baker naturally takes pride in his work; it's evident in the originality of his creations, the photographs he takes on a micro photo set in his apartment, and his effusive passion for mixology. "It's so much more than throwing some random ingredients together and hoping it tastes good. There's art, beauty, and even economics behind creating recipes," he professes. "Typically, I like to develop a vision of what type of experience I want guests to have and, then, I do whatever it takes to bring that vision into fruition. This keeps me motivated concocting the most perfectly balanced cocktails, giving guests the experience that I envisioned."

Best Drink Recipes for Filling Your Barware

Baker shared a few recipes—exclusively to Nest Casa. Our tip? Turn on some great drink tunes (SOMA FM's Secret Agent station is our current recommendation), dim the lights, and get your cocktail shaker out. Shaken, stirred, or strained, there is something for everyone to enjoyably imbibe.

Ingredients:

One slice of Jalapeño (de-seeded)

3 dashes of Lime Bitters

0.5 oz. Green Chartreuse

0.5 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

0.75 oz. Fresh Lime Juice

0.5 oz. Mezcal

1 oz. Blanco Tequila

Last and Final Word

Instructions:

1. Muddle one (de-seeded) slice of jalapeño in a shaker

2. Combine remaining ingredients

3. Add ice and shake for 10 seconds

4. Strain into a coupe glass

5. Garnish with bay leaves

Ingredients:

0.5 oz. Egg White

1 oz. Simple Syrup

0.5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

A few drops of Vanilla Extract

0.75 oz. Red Wine

2 oz. Bourbon or Rye Whiskey

New York Sour

Instructions:

1. Combine all ingredients into a shaker

2. Add 2–3 ice cubes and shake until ice fully dissolves

3. Strain into a coupe glass

4. No garnish

(Alternatively, you can exclude the red wine from the shaker and layer it on top after straining)

Ingredients:

0.5 oz. Egg White

0.5 oz. Simple Syrup

0.5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

0.5 oz. Sweet Vermouth

0.5 oz. Campari

1.5 oz. Dry Gin

Negroni Sour

Instructions:

1. Combine all ingredients into a shaker

2. Add 2–3 ice cubes and shake until ice fully dissolves

3. Strain into a coupe glass

Ingredients:

0.5 oz. Simple Syrup

1 oz. Coffee

1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

0.5 oz. Mr. Black Coffee Amaro

0.25 oz. Frangelico

1.5 oz. Vodka

Café Martini

Instructions:

1. Combine all ingredients into a shaker

2. Add ice and shake really hard for 10 seconds

3. Strain into a coupe glass

4. Garnish with coffee beans or skeleton leaves

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The Martini Glass

The Coupe Glass

The Cocktail Shaker

The Decanter

Roxanne Robinson
Roxanne Robinson is an award-winning Paris-based American journalist covering luxury and fashion industries with over 25 years of experience. I spent over 18 years at WWD, covering sportswear, accessories and fine jewelry. My career witnessed the shift from print media to the digital age. I gained expert knowledge of the design world, wholesale and retail markets as well as the marketing that supports them. I met endless creatives and business people who create luxury from inception to POS with the consumer. My work has appeared in Forbes.com, BoF, The Hollywood Reporter, CRFashionbook.com, The Jewelry Journal as well in-house publications and websites at Bally, Pomellato, Au Depart and Editorialist.com among others.
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