The comedian Henny Youngman once said, "My grandmother is over 80 and still doesn't need glasses. Drinks right out of the bottle." Youngman had the right spirit, but unless your irrepressible grandmothers are the only people to whom you serve drinks, you're going to need some glassware. An assortment of glasses is essential to an established home bar, and a good variety of styles ensures that you can serve an assortment of drinks.
Since the shape, size and volume of the glass can affect the taste of the beverage, every type of drink deserves its own glass. Typically, there are snifters for brandy, shot glasses for shots, martini glasses for martinis, wine glasses for wine and flutes for champagne. This doesn't mean that you have to have the complete collection; rather, your glasses should reflect your personal style and the offerings of your home bar. For instance, pounders and pint glasses are a must if you keep microbrews on tap. If you plan to serve the hard stuff, you'll need rocks and bucket glasses. Thinking of going for a sleek, retro kind of bar? Keep highball and lowball glasses on hand. And if you're the type to tiki, it never hurts to have a few hurricane glasses around to whip up a mai tai or a Singapore sling.