How to Chill Glassware When Mixing Drinks

Chill your glass for the coldest cocktail

Young male bartender mixing cocktail in an ice-filled pitcher, while a glass chills, full of ice.
  Milkos/ Getty Images 

A cold glass is one of the keys to making a great cocktail and chilling your glassware should be one of the first steps you take when making any drink. By using a chilled glass, your cocktails will stay crisp and cool longer and the frost adds a nice aesthetic to the final presentation.

It is recommended that all highball and cocktail glasses be frosted, even if you only do a quick chill. It is a simple step and you will never regret using a chilled glass.

There are three common ways to chill glassware...

Just Freeze It

Put the glass in the freezer for a couple of hours or the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours. Take the glasses out just before you pour the drink.

If space allows and you want to ensure that you have a chilled glass on hand at all times, designate a spot to store at least a few of your glasses permanently. Ensure they return there after cleaning.

*This method is the preferred way to chill because the glass will stay colder longer.

Use an Ice Bucket

If a refrigerator is not available, fill an ice bucket with ice and plunge the bowl of the glass upside down into the ice. Leave this set for 15 to 30 minutes for a really good chill.

Give It the Quick Chill

If you don't have time to chill a glass using either of those two methods, fill the glass with cracked or crushed ice and swirl it around. Allow this to sit while you mix the drink. Dump the ice and pour the drink into the glass.

  • The swirling works well with cocktail glasses, chilling it to the rim.
  • For highball, old-fashioned, and Collins glasses fill them to the rim with ice for a few minutes and then dump the ice.

*This is a good quick step to also do with glasses that you have already chilled to ensure the chill lasts.

Is This a Waste of Ice?

Think about this: What is the one thing that is always within easy reach of a bartender? It's the ice bin. Let's face it, ice is cheap and it is essential to making almost every drink you'll mix up. Therefore, the quick chill is really not a waste of ice.

If you'd like to look at it a different way, think about the booze you're wasting by mixing what can become an inferior drink. No one enjoys a drink that gets warm or watered down before they've finished and this simple step combats that. 

When it comes to martinis and other 'up drinks,' there is no ice to keep the drink cool. Anything you can do to keep it as refreshing on the last taste as it was on the first is a winning situation.

What About Hot Cocktails?

The glassware temperature should always match the drink temperature. Just as you would chill a cold drink glass, warm up the glass for hot cocktails. This can be done quickly by filling a glass with hot water while you make the drink.