When it comes to drinking glasses, you get what you pay for, and if you’re serving beverages in paper cups, you won’t get many compliments. You’re better off spending a little more on reusable, all-purpose tumblers that can go with anything, whether it’s a casual burger-and-fries lunch or a fancy dinner with china.
Water, juice, beer, wine, coffee or tea? Versatile glasses that can hold a variety of beverages will save you from having to buy separate sets for hot and cold ones. If you’re short on shelf space, look for glasses that stack easily without sticking together.
For added flexibility, glass sets often offer a variety of sizes, shapes and sometimes even color. Although the number of different sizes vary from set to set, each one should include four- to six-ounce glasses for juice, cocktails and wine and larger 12- to 16-ounce glasses for water and iced tea.
If you don’t want to be constantly buying replacements, look for sets made of glass that’s resistant to stains, odors and scratching—or sturdy plastic. Also, be extra careful with enamelled glass and crystal, which may contain lead and cadmium, substances that can be transferred from the glass to the beverage contained in it. Tempered glass is generally safe, but when in doubt, here’s a tip: Non-lead glass clinks when tapped, while leaded glass rings.
Glasses with weighted bottoms offer more stability and feel more substantial when you’re holding them. Meanwhile, ripples underneath can help reduce the “sweat” that builds up on a glass when you’re drinking a cold beverage on a hot day.