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What size glass do you use for a margarita?

When making a margarita, the type of glass you use is an important factor in both the visual presentation and drinking experience. The traditional margarita glass is the iconic wide-rimmed, funnel-shaped glass that allows you to salt the rim and is useful for blending frozen margaritas. However, margaritas can be served in a variety of glassware depending on personal preference. The size of glass will determine how strong your margarita is and how quickly it will be consumed. Let’s explore some common options for margarita glassware.

The Traditional Margarita Glass

The classic margarita glass that most people think of is a wide-rimmed, funnel-shaped glass that flares out from the stem and allows space for adding salt or sugar on the rim. These glasses come in a few common sizes:

  • Small (5-7 oz): This is a single serving size, perfect for one cocktail.
  • Medium (8-10 oz): This size gives you a bit more margarita per glass.
  • Large (12-14 oz): Big margarita glasses like this are meant for sharing cocktails between two people.

The width of the rim on these glasses ranges from 3 to 5 inches in diameter on average. The wider rim allows you to crust the edge with salt or sugar which is a hallmark of a margarita on the rocks. The cone shape helps concentrate the flavors and aromas. The small opening at the top also helps maintain carbonation in margaritas made with sparkling ingredients.

Benefits of a Traditional Margarita Glass

  • Ideal for creating a salted or sugared rim
  • Funnels aromas straight to your nose as you drink
  • Maintains carbonation in sparkling margaritas
  • Visually signifies that you are drinking an authentic margarita

This glass really epitomizes the classic margarita experience. The wide rim allows you to lick salt or sugar off the edge with each sip, and the shape enhances aromas wafting off the cocktail. It’s perfect for enjoying margaritas on the rocks or straight up.

Old Fashioned Glass

An old fashioned glass is short, stout, and typically holds between 8 to 12 ounces of liquid. It has a thick, weighted bottom and angled sides that slope in towards the brim. The smaller opening helps retain aromas and textures. Old fashioned margarita glasses work well:

  • On the rocks
  • Straight up
  • With a cocktail ice cube

You would generally not salt the rim of an old fashioned glass since the openings are too small to comfortably lick salt off the edge. Muddling fruit right inside the glass is also easier with the thick, sturdy base.

Benefits of an Old Fashioned Glass

  • Retains aromas and chill more than a wide-open glass
  • Can easily muddle ingredients inside the glass
  • Sturdy base won’t tip over or crack
  • Allows spirit-forward cocktails to shine

An old fashioned margarita glass is great for highlighting tequila and mezcal flavors. The concentrated aromas also let you savor the citrus and herbal notes. It results in a chilled, intense drinking experience.

Martini Glass

A classic martini glass has a long stem leading up to a cone-shaped bowl perched at the top. The bowl of the glass helps contain garnishes and aromas. Martini margarita glasses typically hold around 5 ounces of liquid, but larger versions up to 8 ounces are common as well. They work nicely for:

  • Straight up or frozen margaritas
  • Margaritas served without ice
  • Flavored and specialty margaritas

You would typically avoid salting the rim of a martini glass. The margarita is the star of the show here, so you don’t need salt overpowering the flavor.

Benefits of a Martini Glass

  • Highlights the flavors and aromas
  • Long stem makes for an elegant presentation
  • Cone shape contains and concentrates garnishes
  • Allows you to layer and float ingredients

A martini glass is great for margaritas that feature premium spirits or unique mixes of flavors. The margarita takes center stage here without salt on the rim interfering. The stem allows you to keep your hand away from the chilled cocktail as you sip.

Beer Glass or Pint

Basic pint glasses and beer mugs can also work for margaritas, especially more casual occasions like backyard parties. Pint glasses hold 16-20 ounces, while the volume of beer mugs varies more widely. Benefits of using a pint glass include:

  • Allows you to make large batches for sharing
  • Very casual vibe
  • Can be used to serve margarita alongside beer
  • Typically very affordable option

You would probably skip salting the rim of a pint glass since they are not designed for that. Pint glasses are best for blended or frozen margaritas where dilution from ice is not a concern. The casual vibe lends itself to pitchers of margaritas as well. You can freeze pint glasses ahead of time to keep margaritas chilled.

Other Margarita Glass Options

While those are some of the most common, people also use all kinds of glasses for margaritas depending on preference:

  • Highball glasses
  • Mason jars
  • Copper mugs
  • Hurricane glasses
  • Goblets & stems
  • Brandy snifters

The versatile margarita can be adapted to almost any glass you want to use. Just adjust size and ingredients accordingly! Add salt, sugar, or chili powder to the rim to distinction the glass.

How Size and Shape Impact Taste

The size and shape of your margarita glass can substantially impact the drinking experience. Here’s a quick rundown of factors to consider:

Glass Type Size Taste Impact
Margarita Small Stronger taste per sip
Margarita Large Milder taste when shared
Martini 5-8 oz Concentrates aromas
Beer mug 12-16 oz Can dilute flavor
Old Fashioned 8-12 oz Emphasizes spirit flavor

The takeaway is that a smaller margarita glass around 5 to 8 ounces will give you a more potent cocktail with each sip. Large glasses dilute the drink and are meant for sharing. The shape you choose impacts aroma and how highlights tequila versus citrus versus sweetness. So consider your serving size, flavor goals, and occasions when selecting margarita glassware.

Glass Material Impacts

The material your margarita glass is made from also changes the drinking experience slightly:

  • Glass – Default option, lets you easily see cocktail color. Transfers temperature well.
  • Plastic – Affordable option for pools, beaches, parties. Won’t break. Doesn’t retain temperature as well.
  • Ceramic – Keeps drinks colder longer. Unique shapes and textures. Can break.
  • Metal – Excellent temperature transfer. Retains cold. May change flavor slightly.
  • Crystal – Elegant aesthetic. Enhances aromas. Expensive. Breakable.

Glass and plastic are the most common choices for their balance of cost and versatility. Ceramic and metal can retain temperature better if you want an ultra-chilled drinking experience. Crystal is beautiful but very delicate. Any glass will work, so choose your margarita vessel based on the vibe you want!


The iconic margarita glass with a salted rim is always a perfect choice, but feel free to get creative. Old fashioned glasses add a spirit-forward twist while martini versions highlight complexity. Beer mugs or pint glasses keep things casual and are great for batches. Keep glass size in mind since it impacts flavor intensity. A smaller 5-8 ounce vessel concentrates the margarita while larger glasses dilute it. Shape, size, and material all influence the final margarita profile. Ultimately the “right” glass comes down to your preferences and the specific flavor experience you wish to enjoy.