Drinks

It's Time to Say Goodbye to Mason Jars as Drinkware

I’m sorry, but someone had to say it.

March 11, 2020
Photo by Bobbi Lin

Home is the place we feel the most like ourselves—where we kick off our shoes, share our meals, and make memories. We’re taking our love for all things home and bringing it to Instagram. Follow along at Home52 and make yourselves—well, you know.

There are plenty of trends that keep me up at night. Exposed pipe for the sake of it? I can just hear the husband on House Hunters praising the “industrial touches” on the loft they’re touring. No sir, this is new construction—there’s no need for your water line to be on display. Brand new furniture with intentional distressing? Please, please no...there are so many actual old things to be found.

So, as someone immersed in all things home, I probably have more passionate opinions than most on these things. I get that. But there is one thing we all have to be able to get behind…

Mason. Jars. As. Drinkware. Need. To. Go.

It’s been seven years since I was tying bibs on strangers and slinging watery “Louisiana-inspired” cocktails (in mason jars, of course) at Joe’s Crab Shack, and even then, I suspected it was a slightly tired schtick.

Mason jars aren’t easy to drink from—I have to splay my (admittedly, undersized) fingers completely out to get a firm grasp on the thing, and when I tip it back for a sip, I drip drink on myself more often than not.

To the restaurants with expertly mixed cocktails in a mason jar—what did a Collins glass ever do to you? It’s perfectly hand-held, accommodates an appropriate amount of ice, and has a flawless straw-to-glass ratio.

It’s not just the inefficient drinking, it’s what I perceive to be their disingenuousness. In 2005, someone might have served you an Arnold Palmer in a mason jar in their home because it’s what they literally had on hand, but not today. Today it’s more likely that someone (or namely, some restaurant) ordered theirs on Amazon Prime, or picked up a value pack at Michael’s. The jars’ vacuum-sealable lids were promptly discarded to the junk drawer “just in case,” and the cabinet was fully stocked with “unorthodox” drinkware.

When mason jars are used for their intended purpose, I'm all for it. Use them, by all means, for pickling veggies and making strawberry preserves. They’re a utilitarian vessel, after all, most useful for preserving salsa or housing a SCOBY. I also give leftovers in mason jars a thumbs-up, because reducing plastic use is absolutely the right thing to do.

Alas, their modern-day primary application is far removed from their original intended use.

Here's another repeat offender: mason jars as decor. Around the same time as washi tape-everything (hello again, 2013), Pinterest was inundated with mason jar hacks, DIY projects, and ways to incorporate them into your wedding tablescapes. Close your eyes and picture the application of the trend. Now open them. Were the mason jars wrapped in twine, holding stems of sunflowers, perched on a reclaimed wood table, inside an old barn? They were, weren’t they?

Sigh.

Oh, and the drinkware of choice at the Food52 office? Mason jars. There may or may not be one on my table right now.

But don’t show this to Amanda and Merrill, please. I like my job.

Are you a loyal mason jar lover or wish they'd go away? Weigh in below!

This post contains products that are independently selected by our editors, and Food52 may earn an affiliate commission.

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52 Comments

Diane March 19, 2020
Oh yes! I am completely with you on this. Regarding every single point you brought up.
 
Anne T. March 19, 2020
Thanks for this. Mason jars have never been my drink vessel of choice. I’ve even sent them back for something appropriate. I think they morphed from jelly jars. However, I still have a couple of mustard mugs left over from many years ago when my children were still children. They were perfect for small hands — about 6 ozs and with a handle!
 
Sandy M. March 15, 2020
This “article” was complete trash. Unfollowing on all platforms.
 
scotrotsios March 15, 2020
But jam jars are still okay, right? We love our Bonne Maman around here ...
 
Nessa J. March 15, 2020
I see where you were attempting to go with this gripe, but I just don’t think its valid. Not only are mason jars attractive (no one will ever tell me otherwise), they’re also much more durable which saves me money and messes. It’s a win-win-win. You’d better have a darn good replacement if you’re going to try to pry their nostalgia out of my hands!
 
Nessa J. March 15, 2020
Times a pint or Collins glass exploded or broke over 5 years of bar tending and I had to pause service to clean out my well-countless. Times a mason jar exploded or broke-none.
 
Frances S. March 14, 2020
We have mason jars from grandmas, moms, and ones i bought. We can many veggies from our garden, jams and jellies, and store items in them,,dried beans, candy, nuts, etc. Soups, chili, etc go into them then into the fridge. So easy to give away extras to others.
And yes, one does find its way into our
Cupboard next to our water glasses.
We are rural and retired farmers. Still have a large garden. There is comfort and sensibility in using these jars. We will never get rid of them. But in restaurants, i do prefer a different glass if honest. But when served a beer in a bottle, any glass will do with the beer!😁
 
Frances S. March 14, 2020
Also, we are not Southerners,, this is common in all rural, farm families or gardeners.
 
Julie March 14, 2020
Well I was hoping to read this timely piece and find a wonderfully researched alternative to the mason jar as a drinking vessel (I too have sloshed too many cocktails on my sweater trying to drink out of them), but alas, it was just a whine. I went to the 400ml beaker as a cocktail glass alternative (borrowed from McTavish). Come on! You're Food52! What do you recommend is the best "straw-to-vessel" glassware to consider instead of the mason jar??
 
Mallory M. March 20, 2020
Tell me more about where you find your Moroccan tea glasses. ☺️
 
Jae Y. March 13, 2020
using my mason jars for glassware is mainly me being too lazy to wash an actual cup in the moment tbh. also this isn’t a diss but...they’re not difficult to hold or drink from i think the author just has small hands lol
 
Helene T. March 13, 2020
I love how city folk pick up on something we've been doing as common practice out here in the sticks forever and call it a " trend" lol.
 
Smaug March 13, 2020
The average city block nowadays has 137.34 assorted restaurants, bistros, cafes, bars and coffeehouses, each striving mightily for attention- they steal from everyone.
 
Amy G. March 12, 2020
I grew up drinking out of Kraft Pimento Cheese glasses. Those work way better! No threads! We used to eat the cheese on celery. The 70s were grand!
 
Regina P. March 13, 2020
We used them to as orange juice glasses. They worked great and wee kind of cute.
 
Julie March 14, 2020
Yes! the Kraft glasses, they were so cute. and we would eat cereal out of those brightly colored plastic Parkay butter bowls. My 80 yo Dad still eats his cheerios out of those (yuck), prob full of BPA...
 
Sherry March 12, 2020
Agreed re drink ware but for canning essential and I use my antique ones for storage
 
Arati M. March 13, 2020
I'll bet your pantry looks amazing with those antique jar in there!!
 
Me March 12, 2020
Thank you! That comment was very distasteful. Most of this country would have starved during the depression had it not been for Mason jars!
 
Virl M. March 12, 2020
This article was ugly, petty, and snarky. Way beneath you FOOD52.
 
Honey March 13, 2020
I thought this was perfect! I grew up on using what we had and granny medicine. I'm still blown away at the number of people that are using all the things I was shamed for as a poor child and it is now a sign of wealth. I use Mason jars to drink and eat from now 'cause as a fermenter and preserver, they're always around. I can't carry a quart jar easily but I'm too lazy to make multiple cups of coffee and that's what my stainless steel straws are for! ;) No holding the glass. I too want glasses but with a son with sensory issues, pretty glasses break. Stainless steel cups here...all 8 of them and they're always dirty but there is ALWAYS a mason jar to grab! ;)
I enjoyed the post. Just found you guys today while double-checking if I can use my cream fraishe to make more or if I had to have a fresh culture (this young widow is always looking to save some moolah!). Found you and I've read through 3 or 4 posts already. Just realized I rabbit holed and need to get back to placing my order. I'm subscribing cause I've liked everything I've seen.

And, oh, no thanks! I've my own mason glass of coffee. But I would love a brownie! ;)
~Honey
 
Sandy M. March 15, 2020
Not funny at all. Can’t believe you get paid for this! Unsubscribing from all platforms to avoid reading further trash.
 
Honey March 15, 2020
I can believe she's paid for this. It is great content! She shares she doesn't enjoy mason jars as they're too big to fit her hand/to comfortably lift. I get that...it's why I use my metal straws instead of picking the jar up. She simply advocates for using them for their created purpose which is canning/processing food. She isn't declaring folks are white trash for using them. If you've found something harsh even after she shared she meant it to be funny perhaps that is something you should talk with your health care professional about. Maybe they can prescribe something to help you develop a sense of humor. I've also heard about black market sales of a sense of humor. Good luck! I hope you get a funny one!
 
AntoniaJames March 12, 2020
I've always thought this trend was simply awful - and not just because Mason jars were what the economically disadvantaged people I knew growing up used because they couldn't afford nicer glasses. The last time I was served a drink in a Mason jar - which was recently, at a very high-end, otherwise quite luxurious ski resort in Colorado -- I asked the server to take it back and bring me a decent glass. They were actually quite apologetic about it. I wonder how many other people ask for proper glassware . . . . ;o)
 
Ticket C. March 12, 2020
My daughter got married in the summer of 2017. We managed to do the entire wedding WITHOUT mason jars, tree trunk rounds, OR burlap! Bucking the trends for sure, but it turned out lovely! :)
 
FinVoilaQuoi March 12, 2020
My concern is that the quality of the glass is not the same as it used to be (like new Pyrex). I bought a big jar and poured some hot coffee in and it cracked and broke - this obviously should not happen to a jar that is made for canning. I wonder if they've become more temperature sensitive because the manufacturer knows most are used for decorative purposes. It wouldn't really make sense but many things don't these days.
 
Jan L. March 13, 2020
I've had the same thing happen and it was definitely not a "decorative" jar - it was a Ball!
 
Nessa J. March 15, 2020
This is why best practices for canning are to never put hot liquid in a cold jar or cold in hot. Glass is tempered but not perfect and can grow tired at any time.
 
Dominique D. March 12, 2020
I'll never forget when I went to a new local 'hip' restaurant in 2016, and ordered their 18$ CAD fried chicken (sides were extra) and a glass of a local 11$ CAD stout beer. My chicken was not very good, and my stout beer came IN A MASON JAR. First problem, it's only 16 oz when a real pint for that price should have been 20 oz, and second, with all the specialty stemware available for different types of beer, you're going to tell me that this boujee place decided to just serve everything in a jar with a threaded rim?! I've never gone back to that place.
 
dante11 March 12, 2020
How much are the set of 6 Collin's glasses in the link? $55. How much are a set of 12 Mason jars? $10. They're also easy to replace, multifunctional, and can be found at most grocery or hardware stores and even cheaper at flea markets. They come in all different sizes with standard lids and rings or caps for wide or regular mouth jars. You can drill a hole in the lid for a straw, to make a soap dispenser, or to hold your yarn while knitting. If we're not drinking from them, we do use them to can food or store herbs. There are many more reasons to have them than not. Your memaw would agree. For me, Mason jars are here to stay.
 
kurtismorgan March 12, 2020
I have a lot of old mason and ball glass jars for sale call 4792873093
 
Smaug March 16, 2020
There are alternatives besides buying fancy specialized glasses from upscale retailers. I've been using the same set of plain old drinking glasses (Circle brand, I believe) for something like 30 years- don't remember what they cost, but less than $1 apiece.
 
Manon S. March 12, 2020
If you are spilling when you drink, it's because you're using quart jars, and no, that's not going to work. I have a set of 16 oz green 100 year heritage jars, and they fit perfectly in my hand, and are just the right size for a drinking glass. I like the zinc lids with porcelain interiors that I got on eBay and Amazon, or the plain zinc lids. They are a copy of the jars produced btwn 1913 and 1915, and they don't have that unsightly fruit design on the back, instead, a cool Art Deco lettering.
They also come in turquoise, but are not my favorite.
now rare, they're about $100 for a set of six, so I'm not giving them up. They fit perfectly in my modern farmhouse kitchen without being too kitschy.
 
Tia C. March 12, 2020
Am I allowed to agree and disagree? I want the trendiness to end and the real love to live on. Yes, I understand they are everywhere. Heaven knows, it seems they have taken over from coast to coast the past few years. And, I will admit to getting annoyed that my generational family lifestyle has become a “trend”. But, hopefully they’ll never really disappear.

As a southern girl I grew up with mason jars of all sizes. The women in my family use them for cups, canning, sewing kits, storage and everything in between. You will not find a better lightning bug observatory to make memories with the kids. I have jars that belonged to loved ones no longer with me that are now used as priceless flower vases. Heck, I’ve used mason jars in my own bakery as my go to container since 2013.

To me, a mason jar isn’t just functionality but it’s home, family and memories of loved ones. I’ll continue to use them for everything and hopefully that admiration is passed on to my children. Mason jars are as much a part of me as reclaimed wood, y’all, Sunday china and magnolias. All circa B.P. and B.F.U (before Pinterest and Fixer Upper... nothing but love for both.)

My personal opinion is a southern house is warm, welcoming and a little like home for all who enter. So maybe, just maybe, it’s the world bringing a little southern hospitality to their loved ones. Or y’all are stuck in a southern state of mind.

Side note: As far as the drink dribbling goes. You just have to perch your lips on the glass a little tighter and problem solved 🙂 Okay, my ramble is over.
 
Smaug March 12, 2020
Not so easy if you have an overbite.
 
Christine B. March 12, 2020
Use a damn straw
 
Arati M. March 13, 2020
Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful comment, Tia!
 
Jan L. March 13, 2020
I love this. Thank you.