There's no reason for you to have a dozen different types of glasses on your home bar, so why do bartenders serve cocktails in so many different types of glasses? Well, this video from PBS's IdeaChannel explains where all those glasses came from, and whether they matter. You can check out the whole video above, but in an interview with Ivy Mix, the owner of Leyenda, a bar in New York, and operator of Speedrack, a national cocktail competition, explains to Mike Rugnetta that many bartenders don't give much thought to the type of glass they serve their cocktail in. She argues that a lot of cocktails can and should be served in any glass (good news for us at-home bartenders) but there are a few reasons why some drinks can benefit from specific glassware. Some cocktails, for example, with big aromatics, should be served in glasses that funnel that smell to your nose, instead of wide-mouthed or open-topped glasses.
Beyond some of those cases, Mix explains many reasons certain drinks come in certain glasses often comes down to pop culture, and what movies and media tell us to drink out of those glasses. When you see a sazerac in a rocks glass when a sazerac shouldn't be served over ice, that's a visual from Mad Men talking, not the best way to serve the drink.
At the end of the day, the answer is yes, some glasses can make some cocktails better, but you'd have to make the cocktail with the glass in mind. Otherwise, glassware choice is about feel, atmosphere and attitude. Click play on the video above (it's about 15 minutes long but well worth it) to learn more about all of this, and learn to make some delicious looking cocktails in the process.
Why Aren't All Cocktails Served in the Same Glass? [Idea Channel (YouTube)]