Tumblers — drinking glasses without stems — are the most multipurpose form of glassware, equally suitable for serving tap water and single-malt whiskey. In fact, they are so ubiquitous that they might not seem as glamorous as their stemmed siblings.
But when they’re distinctive, they almost always attract attention, especially as part of a table setting for a special event.
Glasses like tumblers “are not only functional, but also a really pretty part of the décor,” said Marcy Blum, an event planner in New York who has organized weddings for celebrity couples like LeBron and Savannah James, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, and Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent.
Ms. Blum said she usually includes two stemmed glasses (for red and white wine) with each place setting, as well as one eye-catching tumbler for water, often in a color — like the yellow glasses she recently used on a table decorated with lemons for a wedding on the Amalfi Coast of Italy.
“So many people picked them up,” she recalled, “and said, ‘Oh, they’re so beautiful.’”
How heavy should a tumbler be? For serving scotch and bourbon, Ms. Blum likes hefty cut-crystal glasses that can be paired with oversized ice cubes; for water, she prefers more delicate tumblers.
How many do you need? If your tumblers will see regular use, Ms. Blum suggested buying them in quantities of 10 to 12.
What is the best everyday option? Ms. Blum recommended finding a simple, sturdy tumbler, like those made by Libbey. “When you’re groggily pouring your orange juice, if you drop it, it will usually bounce,” she said. “And if you break it, it’s not that expensive.”
Hefty cut-crystal glass with thick base
$280 to $370 a pair at Baccarat: 800-215-1300 or us.baccarat.com
Textured tumbler formed by blowing molten glass into textile
$15 to $20 each at Hay: 833-849-3025 or us.hay.com
Handblown Glass Tumbler
Colored glass with rounded bottom from Germany
$35 each at March: 415-931-7433 or marchsf.com
Purposely imperfect handblown tumbler
$35 each at Simon Pearce: 800-774-5277 or simonpearce.com