A subtype of cocktail glass, the martini glass is distinguished by its v-shaped cup, long stem, and circular base. Although the shape of a martini glass is distinctively ornate, it was mainly designed to be functional, as the stem prevents the person holding the glass from warming the drink with their hands. The cone shape of the martini glass prevents the ingredients of a martini: gin and vermouth, from separating; and also displays the onion, olive, cherry, or lemon rind that often garnishes the traditional martini. The size of a martini glass can affect the quality of the drink, according to some drink aficionados who consider the four-ounce glasses ideal for the drink’s ingredients, versus the six-ounce glasses often used by bartenders.
In popular culture, the martini glass has been associated with fictional film icon, James Bond, as well as martini-loving public figures such as Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway, Frank Sinatra, Alfred Hitchcock, and Winston Churchill. Because of its association with celebrities and the resurgence of “Old Hollywood” glamor, the martini glass has become an icon of refinement and sophistication. Today, several bars and cocktail lounges have martini menus which feature a wide selection of fruit-flavored variations of the drink. However, many martini purists consider these drinks a poor substitute for the traditional martini, which is sometimes created using little or no vermouth in bars to keep costs low.
During the latter-part of the twentieth century, the martini glass became more decorative, and today comes in various colors and designs. Some martini glasses feature decoratively stacked glass beads or gemstones on the stems, which are known as "pillar stems." The town of Vizovice in the Czech Republic has a group of artisans that specialize in hand-blown martini glasses and other stemware. Fine gin company, Bombay Sapphire, held a martini glass design competition in 2008. The winner, Brooklyn artist, Mia Ferrera Wiesenthal, designed a stemless martini glass called “On the Rocks.”
Due to the martini’s resurgence in popularity, many decorative martini glass accessories have been developed. Stir sticks featuring glass olives or miniature martini glasses at the top have become a popular accessory for the martini glass, as well as stemware charms which are secured to the stem in order to help one identify his or her glass at parties. Martini glass kits have also become a popular gift item, and are sold directly from various brand name gin producers, as well as in the house ware section of several retailers.