I inherited a very large collection of glassware, most of it I recognised, some very esoteric (specific vessels for specific kinds of alcohol etc). I've been able to identify and understand the intended purpose of every piece except for a set of four unusual glass cups/bowls.

Unusual glass

For perspective: A tennis ball would fit snugly inside.

The small glass spiral on the side does not feel strong enough to be used as a handle even when the vessel is empty so I was wondering if it was perhaps intended to hold some kind of spoon or something. Maybe entirely decorative?

Any information on what this is or what it's for would be greatly appreciated.

  • I've seen similar ones used for either punch at parties, or egg nog. (although those had a true handle on the side, not just the swirl)
    – Joe
    Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 13:38
  • Brandy perhaps? Though those usually close up at the top, and this one looks like it might be hard to hold from below to warm said brandy?
    – thrig
    Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 19:55
  • To me, it looks like either a very large punch or wassail/hot cider glass or a dessert bowl for mousse or syllabub or similar. The foot makes me think dessert bowl, the handle makes me think punch, except that it is apparently too delicate for use as a handle.
    – NadjaCS
    Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 21:56
  • Cocktails? The handle seems to thin to hold it when you raise it, but it should be enough to hold it while you stir something inside.
    – FluidCode
    Commented Nov 5, 2022 at 13:26

3 Answers 3


When someone finesses the design of a serving vehicle, the item should be approached as a picture frame: you use to enhance or embellish some recipe that is complimented by the item's design. Something like this would be a great vehicle for a personal serving of some whimsical layered dessert more so than trying to use the fancy handle for grip on a beverage.


German punch glasses. I have some. For serving hot fruity punch, usually at Christmas, with or without alcohol.

You have to be very careful not to crack them by putting hot punch in. You have to warm them first.

They usually come as part of a set. There is a huge bowl and sometimes even a glass ladle. But they are the first to go, so you only have the glasses left. I never use the things anyway.


I think it's an artistically stylized ale glass.

  • yes, or for cider or punch. how many are there of this size? i wonder if the spiral/handle thing is a lot stronger than would expect.
    – franko
    Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 0:51
  • @franko it would be hard to use as a handle anyway; most adult humans wouldn't even be able to get a pinky finger through the middle of the spiral and it's small size and the fact that there's only one on the side make the whole thing want to slip out of your hand. There are four of them. I'm not 100% sure that they are even glass, tbh. They feel heavier than I'd expect them to be. They hold somewhere between 400ml and 500ml. Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 1:13
  • 3
    Heavy glass probably means it's leaded crystal.
    – Debbie M.
    Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 15:34
  • I was thinking crystal too, @Debbie M. -- maybe you're not supposed to stick a finger through it, but just grasp/pinch on either side of it? I do agree that the design is problematic for using. Since there's only four of them, maybe it's for tea.
    – franko
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 14:52
  • The shape of the "mug" points to and ale glass, but I suppose it could be for tea. It's oddly shaped for a tea mug though. They are usually straight sided. Some China has a small lip, but these are rather pronounced. All we can do is guess unless someone finds a match on the web.
    – Escoce
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 14:54

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