Cordial glasses are drinking vessels created specifically for cordials, which are sweet, fruit-flavored beverages. Some examples of cordial beverages are made under the brand names of Golden Circle and Cottees. A true cordial does not contain alcohol and is diluted with water to achieve the flavor, or the level of sweetness, desired. These beverages are particularly popular in New Zealand and Australia.
In many cases, cordial glasses are used for alcoholic beverages as well. This is particularly true in the United States, where they are commonly used in bars and taverns. In this capacity, the glasses are available in a wide variety of shapes and colors. In fact, the term has come to be used to describe essentially any glass drinking vessel with a stem.
Some cordial glasses have handles rather than stems. They may also have short stems along with handles. In either case, the handles are typically small and dainty. This differentiates these glasses from coffee mugs and beer mugs, which have large handles designed for a several fingers to fit inside. With cordial glasses, the handle should only be grasped lightly from the outside.
They are often made with clear glass, but many are also tinted with a variety of colors. In fact, cordial glasses can be found tinted with reds, greens, and yellows. Some sets include glasses in a variety of colors and shapes.
Selecting cordial glasses when planning a social event can be somewhat daunting, as they have the ability to set the mood for the gathering. In addition, certain drinks are better suited to certain types of glasses. For example, a fruity drink that will contain an umbrella or a slice of lemon on the side is best suited for glasses with tall, thin stems. Similarly, this look is best for a tropical get together or a formal event. For a more laid back get together, however, glasses with shorter or thicker stems may be more appropriate.