vintage cocktail wine glasses for retro style events
vintage cocktail wine glasses for retro style events

Step back in time with our collection of vintage cocktail and wine glasses, perfect for adding a touch of retro style to any event. Whether you’re hosting a themed party or simply want to elevate your drinkware game, our unique collection is sure to impress. With a variety of designs and sizes to choose from, each glass tells its own story and adds a nostalgic charm to your cocktail or wine experience. Sip in style and transport yourself to a bygone era with our vintage cocktail and wine glasses.

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Choosing the Right Vintage Glassware

When it comes to planning a retro-style event, one of the key elements to consider is the glassware you use. Vintage cocktail and wine glasses can add a touch of elegance and nostalgia to any gathering. But with so many options available, how do you choose the right ones? In this article, we will guide you through the process of selecting vintage glassware for your event, from considering the type of event to thinking about cleaning and maintenance.

Consider the Type of Event

The first step in choosing the right vintage glassware is to consider the type of event you are hosting. Is it a casual backyard cocktail party or a formal black-tie affair? The style and atmosphere of your event will greatly influence the type of vintage glassware you should choose. For a laid-back gathering, you may opt for more simple and versatile glasses, while for a formal occasion, you might want to go for more elaborate and elegant designs.

Research Different Vintage Glassware Styles

Before making any decisions, take some time to research different vintage glassware styles. Vintage glassware comes in various shapes, sizes, and designs, each representing a different era and aesthetic. From art deco-inspired martini glasses to classic champagne saucers, there is a wide range of options to explore. By familiarizing yourself with different styles, you can choose glassware that perfectly complements the theme and mood of your event.

Look for Unique or Rare Designs

If you want to add a touch of exclusivity to your event, consider looking for vintage glassware with unique or rare designs. These special pieces can become conversation starters and add a sense of intrigue to your gathering. Look for glasses with intricate etchings, ornate details, or unconventional shapes. Not only will they make your event feel more special, but they can also become cherished additions to your vintage glassware collection.

Consider the Size and Capacity

When choosing vintage glassware, it’s important to consider the size and capacity of the glasses. Different cocktails and wines require different amounts of liquid, so make sure the glasses you choose can accommodate the drinks you plan to serve. Highball glasses, for example, are ideal for refreshing cocktails with a larger volume, while coupe glasses are better suited for elegant and smaller portions. Consider the types of drinks you’ll be serving and choose glassware that complements them.

Check for any Chips or Cracks

Before purchasing any vintage glassware, it’s essential to carefully inspect each piece for any chips or cracks. While some minor wear and tear can add to the charm of vintage glassware, you want to ensure that they are still in good condition and safe to use. Pay close attention to the rims and bases of the glasses, as these areas are more prone to damage. Remember, safety should always come first when choosing glassware for your event.

Consider the Versatility of the Glassware

Another factor to consider when selecting vintage glassware is its versatility. Will you be using the glasses for a variety of drinks or strictly for cocktails or wine? Opting for versatile glassware allows you to accommodate different types of beverages throughout the evening. For example, Nick and Nora glasses are not only suitable for cocktails but can also be used for serving small appetizers or desserts. Consider the range of functionality you desire and choose glassware that can fulfill those needs.

Think About the Cleaning and Maintenance

It’s important to think about the cleaning and maintenance requirements of your vintage glassware. Some delicate glassware may require more careful handwashing, while others might be dishwasher-safe. Consider your own preferences and conveniences when it comes to cleaning. Additionally, think about the storage and display of the glassware when not in use. Ensure that you have suitable space and storage options to keep your vintage pieces in good condition and ready for future events.

Types of Vintage Cocktail Glasses

Vintage cocktail glasses come in a variety of styles, each with its own charm and purpose. Let’s explore some of the most popular types of vintage cocktail glasses and their unique features.

Martini Glasses

Martini glasses are an iconic symbol of cocktail culture. These glasses are characterized by their long stems and conical or triangular-shaped bowls. They are designed to keep the drink cold and showcase the garnishes beautifully. The classic martini glass typically has a capacity of around 5 to 8 ounces, making it perfect for serving classic martinis or other shaken or stirred cocktails.

Coupe Glasses

Coupe glasses, also known as champagne coupes, are often associated with the Roaring Twenties and the Gatsby era. These glasses have a shallow, wide bowl with a stem. They are commonly used for serving champagne, but they are also suitable for various cocktails, such as daiquiris, sidecars, or even desserts like sorbets or mousses. The elegant and curvaceous shape of coupe glasses adds a touch of sophistication to any event.

Highball Glasses

Highball glasses, sometimes referred to as Collins glasses, are taller and narrower than other cocktail glasses. They have a simple and cylindrical shape that is well-suited for serving mixed drinks with a larger volume, such as a mojito, screwdriver, or a simple gin and tonic. The tall size of highball glasses allows for plenty of ice and mixers, making them perfect for refreshing summer cocktails.

Lowball Glasses

Lowball glasses, also known as rocks glasses or old-fashioned glasses, are short and sturdy glasses designed for serving drinks over ice or neat. With a wide and heavy base, lowball glasses provide stability and are ideal for sipping spirits like whiskey or bourbon. They can also be used for serving cocktails like the classic Old Fashioned or a Negroni. The simplicity and versatility of lowball glasses make them a staple in any vintage glassware collection.

Collins Glasses

Collins glasses, similar in shape to highball glasses, are narrower and taller. They are typically used for serving tall and refreshing cocktails, such as a Tom Collins or a mojito on the rocks. The elongated shape of Collins glasses allows for the addition of more ice and mixers while keeping the drink well-proportioned. The tall and sleek appearance of these glasses adds a touch of elegance to any cocktail presentation.

Nick and Nora Glasses

Nick and Nora glasses are named after the famous characters from the movie “The Thin Man.” These glasses have a unique and retro-inspired design, featuring a smaller, curved bowl and a shorter stem. They are perfect for serving classic and vintage-inspired cocktails like the Martini, Manhattan, or Gimlet. Nick and Nora glasses offer a more intimate and sophisticated drinking experience, capturing the essence of old Hollywood glamour.

Pousse-Café Glasses

Pousse-Café glasses, also known as layered drink glasses, are designed specifically for serving layered cocktails or Pousse-Café style drinks. These glasses have a tall and narrow shape, allowing the layers of different colored liqueurs to be beautifully displayed. Pousse-Café glasses are less common than other types of cocktail glasses but can be a fantastic addition to your vintage glassware collection if you enjoy experimenting with layered cocktails.

Brandy Snifters

Brandy snifters are distinctive for their large, balloon-shaped bowls and short stems. These glasses are specifically designed to enhance the aromas of brandy or other aged spirits. The round shape of the bowl allows the drink to be gently warmed by cupping the glass, releasing the complex aromas. Brandy snifters are not only practical for serving brandy but can also be used for serving cognac, whiskey, or even desserts like warm apple or cherry pie.

Tiki Glasses

Tiki glasses are a must-have for any tiki-themed or tropical event. These whimsical glasses often feature colorful and fun designs, such as tiki faces, tropical flowers, or palm trees. Tiki glasses are usually made of ceramic or glass and come in various shapes and sizes, from traditional tiki mugs to volcano bowls. They are perfect for serving tropical cocktails like a Mai Tai, Piña Colada, or a Blue Hawaiian. Tiki glasses add an element of fun and playfulness to any vintage-themed event.

Champagne Saucers

Champagne saucers, also known as champagne coupes, gained popularity in the 1920s and 1930s. These glasses have a shallow, wide bowl supported by a sturdy stem. While their wider shape is not ideal for preserving carbonation, they are still beloved for their vintage charm and elegance. Champagne saucers are perfect for special occasions and celebrations, making a toast with a glass of bubbly feel even more glamorous.

Characteristics of Vintage Cocktail Glasses

Vintage cocktail glasses are known for their unique characteristics that set them apart from their modern counterparts. Let’s explore some of the defining features of vintage cocktail glasses and why they are beloved by enthusiasts.

Elegant Shapes and Curves

One of the main characteristics of vintage cocktail glasses is their elegant shapes and curves. Whether it’s the elongated stem of a martini glass or the rounded bowl of a coupe glass, vintage glassware embodies a sense of sophistication and refinement. These artistic and visually appealing designs elevate the cocktail experience, making each drink feel more special.

Thin and Delicate Glass

Vintage cocktail glasses are often made from thin and delicate glass, adding to their allure and vintage charm. The craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into creating these glasses is evident in the thinness of the glass walls. While this delicate nature requires a bit more care, it also enhances the drinking experience, allowing the flavors and aromas of the cocktails to shine through.

Ornate or Etched Designs

Another characteristic of vintage cocktail glasses is the presence of ornate or etched designs. From intricate patterns to elaborate etchings, vintage glassware often features unique and eye-catching details. These designs not only make the glasses visually appealing but also add a touch of nostalgia. Vintage glassware with ornate or etched designs can become cherished pieces of art within your collection.

Unique Stem and Base Details

Vintage glassware often showcases unique stem and base details, setting them apart from their modern counterparts. From twisted stems to decorative bases, these distinctive features add a touch of whimsy and elegance to the glasses. These details can evoke a sense of nostalgia and transport your guests to a bygone era with each sip they take.

Popular Vintage Wine Glasses

Vintage wine glasses can make any wine tasting or dinner party feel more special and refined. Let’s explore some of the most popular types of vintage wine glasses and what makes them unique.

Burgundy Glasses

Burgundy glasses, typically characterized by their large bowl and wide opening, are designed to enhance the aromas and flavors of complex red wines like Pinot Noir or Burgundy. The wide bowl allows the wine to come into contact with more air, which helps to release the wine’s delicate aromas. The glasses often have stems to ensure that the drinker’s hand does not warm the wine, preserving its ideal temperature.

Bordeaux Glasses

Bordeaux glasses, also known as Cabernet glasses, have a slightly taller and narrower design compared to Burgundy glasses. They are specifically designed to enhance the characteristics of Bordeaux wines and other full-bodied red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. The taller shape helps direct the wine to the back of the mouth, allowing for better flavor perception.

Champagne Flutes

Champagne flutes are a classic choice for serving sparkling wines and champagne. These long and slender glasses are designed to preserve the carbonation and showcase the rising bubbles. The tall shape of the flute also helps concentrate the aromas, enhancing the overall drinking experience. Champagne flutes are perfect for toasting and celebrating special moments.

White Wine Glasses

White wine glasses, with their smaller bowls and narrower openings compared to red wine glasses, are designed to enhance the flavors and aromas of white wines like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Riesling. The smaller bowl helps preserve the cooler temperature of white wines, while the narrower opening directs the aromas to the nose, allowing for a more enjoyable tasting experience.

Red Wine Glasses

Red wine glasses typically have wider bowls and larger openings compared to white wine glasses. They are designed to allow red wines to breathe, allowing the flavors and aromas to develop fully. The wide bowl provides ample surface area for the wine to come into contact with the air, enhancing its flavors. Red wine glasses can vary in shape depending on the specific type of red wine being served.

Details to Look for in Vintage Wine Glasses

When choosing vintage wine glasses, there are several details to consider to ensure you find the perfect ones for your event. Let’s explore some of the key aspects to look for when selecting vintage wine glasses.

Tulip Shape for Red Wines

When it comes to red wine glasses, look for glasses with a tulip shape. The tulip-shaped bowl is wider at the base and tapers inward towards the rim, allowing the wine to swirl and breathe. This shape enhances the aromas of the wine and directs them towards the nose, creating a more enjoyable sensory experience.

Tapered Shape for White Wines

For white wines, opt for glasses with a more tapered shape. The narrower bowl helps to preserve the cooler temperature of white wines, while still allowing the aromas to develop. The tapered shape also helps direct the wine towards the front of the mouth, enhancing the perception of the flavors.

Long and Thin Stems

Vintage wine glasses often have long and thin stems, serving both a practical and aesthetic purpose. The long stem allows you to hold the glass without warming the wine with your hands. It also adds an elegant and sophisticated touch to the overall presentation. When selecting vintage wine glasses, pay attention to the condition of the stems to ensure stability and durability.

Crystal or Glass Material

Vintage wine glasses can be made from various materials, with crystal and glass being the most common. Crystal glasses, made with a higher concentration of lead, are known for their superior clarity, brilliance, and light-reflecting properties. Glass wine glasses, on the other hand, are more durable and affordable. Consider the aesthetic and practical preferences when choosing between crystal and glass wine glasses.

Etched or Engraved Designs

Vintage wine glasses often feature etched or engraved designs, adding an extra touch of elegance and sophistication. These intricate details can range from simple patterns to elaborate motifs. The etched or engraved designs not only enhance the visual appeal of the glasses but can also become conversation starters and cherished pieces within your collection.

Where to Find Vintage Cocktail & Wine Glasses

Now that you know what to look for in vintage glassware, let’s explore some of the best places to find these unique pieces for your retro-style events.

Antique Stores

Antique stores are a treasure trove for vintage glassware. Explore local antique shops in your area to discover a wide range of options. These stores often have knowledgeable staff who can guide you in choosing the right vintage glasses for your event. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek their expertise to ensure you find authentic and high-quality vintage glassware.

Thrift Shops

Thrift shops and second-hand stores are also excellent places to find vintage glassware at affordable prices. These shops often have a constantly changing selection of items, so be sure to visit regularly to discover new arrivals. While you may need to spend some time searching, thrift shops can yield hidden gems that add a unique touch to your event.

Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces like eBay or Etsy offer a vast selection of vintage glassware from various sellers around the world. These platforms provide the convenience of browsing and purchasing vintage glassware from the comfort of your own home. When purchasing online, pay attention to the seller’s reputation, product descriptions, and photos to ensure you are buying authentic vintage pieces.

Specialty Vintage Glassware Retailers

There are also specialty retailers that focus on vintage glassware and offer a curated selection of authentic pieces. These retailers often have a deep knowledge and passion for vintage glassware, ensuring that their collection is of the highest quality. They may have more specific and unique pieces that are harder to find elsewhere. Research and connect with these retailers to find vintage glassware that suits your style and vision.

Estate Sales and Auctions

Estate sales and auctions can be a great way to acquire vintage glassware. These events often feature a wide range of items from individual collections, including glassware. Estate sales typically offer the opportunity to browse and purchase items directly from a person’s estate, while auctions involve bidding for items. Be prepared to spend some time researching and attending these events, as they can be a bit more competitive but yield unique finds.

Creating a Retro Vibe with Vintage Glassware

Now that you have chosen the perfect vintage glassware for your event, it’s time to create a retro vibe that complements the aesthetic and style of the glasses. Here are a few tips to help you immerse your guests in a nostalgic atmosphere.

Choosing Glassware that Matches the Era

When creating a retro vibe, it’s important to choose glassware that matches the era you want to evoke. Consider the time period and style you want to embrace, and select vintage glassware that reflects that era. For a 1920s Gatsby-inspired party, opt for art deco martini glasses and champagne coupes. For a 1950s cocktail party, look for mid-century modern-inspired glasses. By choosing glassware that matches the era, you can transport your guests back in time.

Pairing with Vintage Barware and Accessories

To complete the retro vibe, pair your vintage glassware with other vintage barware and accessories. Look for vintage cocktail shakers, stirrers, strainers, and jiggers that complement the style of your glassware. Vintage decanters, ice buckets, and serving trays can also add to the nostalgia. By curating a collection of vintage barware and accessories, you can create a cohesive and authentic retro experience.

Creating Custom Drink Menus

Incorporate vintage-inspired drink menus that showcase classic cocktails from different eras. Research and select a variety of cocktails that were popular during the time period you want to evoke. Print custom drink menus that showcase these cocktails alongside their descriptions and any appropriate historical or pop culture references. This personal touch will not only provide a unique experience but also enhance the overall retro atmosphere of your event.

Using Retro-Inspired Garnishes and Presentation

Pay attention to the presentation of your cocktails by using retro-inspired garnishes and presentation techniques. Consider using vintage cocktail picks, umbrellas, or colorful fruit skewers to garnish your drinks. Use vintage glassware as vessels for creative and visually appealing cocktails. For example, serve a mai tai in a tiki glass with a paper umbrella and tropical fruit garnish. The attention to detail in presentation will further enhance the retro-style ambiance of your event.

Incorporating Vintage Glassware into the Event Decor

Vintage glassware can also serve as decorative elements in your event. Consider incorporating the glassware into the event decor by using them as floral vases, candle holders, or table centerpieces. Fill coupe glasses with floating candles or use martini glasses to showcase delicate flower arrangements. The vintage glassware will not only enhance the visual appeal of your event but also serve as functional decor.

Caring for Vintage Glassware

Once you have acquired your vintage glassware, it’s important to care for them properly to ensure their longevity and continued use. Here are some tips for caring for your vintage glassware:

Handwashing vs. Dishwasher

While some vintage glassware may be labeled as dishwasher-safe, it is generally recommended to handwash your vintage glasses to ensure their preservation. Dishwashers can be too harsh on delicate glassware, potentially causing damage or accelerating wear and tear. Gently handwash each glass using warm water and mild dish soap, being careful to avoid abrasive scrubbing.

Using Gentle Cleaning Agents

When cleaning vintage glassware, it’s best to avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning agents. Instead, opt for gentle cleaning solutions. Baking soda and vinegar can be used to remove stains or odors, while a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap is usually sufficient for regular cleaning. Rinse the glasses thoroughly after cleaning and allow them to air dry or carefully hand dry to avoid spots or streaks.

Avoiding Extreme Temperatures

Avoid subjecting your vintage glassware to extreme temperatures. Sudden temperature changes, such as transferring a hot glass to a cold surface or vice versa, can cause the glass to crack or shatter. It is also advisable to avoid exposing vintage glassware to direct sunlight for extended periods, as this can cause fading or discoloration.

Storing and Displaying Properly

Proper storage and display can ensure the longevity of your vintage glassware. When not in use, store your glasses in a clean and dry area away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Consider using individual glassware storage boxes or soft fabric or paper to cushion and protect each glass. If you choose to display your vintage glassware, use glass cabinets or open shelves that offer protection while showcasing the beauty of the collection.

Repairing Minor Damages

In the event that your vintage glassware experiences minor damages, such as small chips or cracks, there are options for repair. Some specialty glass repair services may be able to restore your vintage glasses, but it’s important to consider the cost and feasibility of the repairs. If the damages are minor and do not affect the functionality or safety of the glass, you may choose to keep them as they are, embracing the character and history they represent.

Tips for Hosting Retro-Style Events

To truly immerse your guests in a retro-style event, consider incorporating the following tips and ideas:

Choose a Theme

Select a specific time period, such as the 1920s, 1950s, or 1970s, and embrace it throughout your event. From the music to the decorations, let the chosen era guide your overall theme and aesthetic. Encourage guests to dress in retro attire that matches the theme to fully transport them to the desired era.

Create a Vintage-Inspired Menu

Craft a menu that reflects the culinary trends of the chosen era. Research classic recipes and dishes that were popular during the time and incorporate them into your menu. Consider serving signature cocktails from the era alongside carefully selected food pairings. A vintage-inspired menu will further enhance the retro experience for your guests.

Curate a Retro Music Playlist

Music plays a significant role in creating the right atmosphere for your retro-style event. Create a curated playlist featuring hit songs from the chosen era. From jazz and swing to rock ‘n’ roll or disco, select songs that will transport your guests back in time and encourage them to dance and enjoy the nostalgic ambiance.

Decorate with Vintage Props and Accents

Consider incorporating vintage props and accents throughout your event space to further enhance the retro vibe. From vintage posters and records to antique furniture and retro-inspired artwork, decorate your space to reflect the chosen era. Pay attention to the details to create an immersive environment for your guests.

Encourage Guests to Dress in Retro Attire

Setting a dress code for your retro-style event can create a cohesive and immersive experience. Encourage your guests to dress in retro attire that matches the chosen era. Provide inspiration and ideas for different styles and time periods to help them embrace the theme. A well-dressed crowd will add to the overall atmosphere and make the event even more memorable.


Choosing the right vintage glassware is an essential part of creating a retro-style event. By considering the type of event, researching different styles, and looking for unique designs, you can find vintage glassware that perfectly complements your gathering. Whether you’re serving cocktails or wine, vintage glassware adds a touch of elegance and nostalgia to any occasion. Take the time to care for your vintage glassware properly, and they will continue to be a cherished part of your event hosting for years to come. So, raise your vintage glassware and cheers to creating unforgettable retro-style events!