Cordial glasses are generally used to serve expensive after-dinner liqueurs. Alternatively, they may be used to serve drinks at a party, reception or other gathering. The use of fine cordial glasses lends a touch of elegance to any gathering. Cordial glasses are smaller than a typical wine glass and are often made with thinner, more delicate glass. Cordial glasses are also known as pony glasses.

Iced coffee in glass, close-up
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A cordial glass is smaller than a wine glass.

Function

In the United States, cordial glasses are used to serve alcoholic beverages. In other countries, the glass is used to serve non-alcoholic drinks such as fruit juices or juice blends and in some regions sweet, carbonated beverages. Some bars and restaurants serve wine in a cordial glass, instead of a true wine glass, to control portion size.

Liqueurs and Cordials

Cordial glasses are used for flavored sweet liqueurs, also known as cordials. These alcoholic beverages may be flavored like coffee, chocolate, fruit or even blends of herbs; the base liquid is sometimes whisky, rum or cognac. The terms liqueur and cordial are used interchangeably.

Types and Features

Almost any smaller, stemmed glass may be called a cordial glass. While most resemble the larger, stemmed wine glass, a cordial glass may have a shorter stem or none at all, having a delicate handle instead. Most cordial glasses are made of clear glass, but they can be found in colors and shapes other than the traditional round. Cordial glasses are often included in gift sets which include a bottle of liqueur.

Size and Usage

Most cordial glasses will hold two to three ounces of liquid. When used serving liqueurs, the glass may be filled partially, often half way, while when used in serving other drinks, the liquid may come closer to the rim of the glass. The term "pony" glass is sometimes used because of the small amount of liquid they hold in comparison to other drinking glasses.

Benefits

Using cordial glasses to serve wine, punches or other alcoholic drinks at a party can reduce the amount of alcohol an individual guest has the opportunity to drink. It also allows the host to determine how much alcohol they may need to have on hand.