Shopping for Coasters – The New York Times

No one wants be that anxious host who hovers over guests in the living room, trying to slip coasters under their drinks when they’re not looking. Then again, no one wants to see their furniture ruined by ring marks.

The solution? Invest in interesting, well-designed coasters that you’ll be happy to leave lying around and guests will enjoy using.

As Jacob Briars, the global advocacy director at Bacardi, pointed out, coasters aren’t just functional: “They also have an aesthetic role, which is to frame the drink. It’s a chance for you to show off with a little flourish.”

Given that, you may want to own several styles.

“You might think about changing up the coasters depending on the sorts of drinks you’re serving,” said Mr. Briars, who is also an owner of a travel-themed bar called Clipper, in Auckland, New Zealand, where bartenders have been known to match cocktails to coasters depicting the countries in which the drinks were created.

“If you put a great drink on a well-thought-out coaster,” he said, “it makes the moment even more special.”

  • Does it matter what they’re made of? Materials that are slightly absorbent — like sandstone, cork, felted wool or paper — are preferable, Mr. Briars said, while glass and other impervious materials are less desirable, because “the moisture tends to pool,” and the coaster may stick to the bottom of the glass.

  • How many do you need? “How many friends do you have?” Mr. Briars asked. If you usually entertain only one or two guests at a time, “you can easily get by with four.”

  • What about large parties? “You can get custom paper coasters printed up pretty quickly,” he said, with a personalized design.

Set of six leather coasters

$30 at Commune: 310-855-9080 or

Set of four marbled leather coasters

$85 at Rule of Three: 213-266-8643 or

Set of four speckled rubber coasters with polished brass edges

$78 at Slash Objects:

Set of four needlepoint-and-wood coasters with holder

$75 at Smathers & Branson: 844-952-7319 or

Set of six coasters by Bower, made of MDF, beech veneer and cork

$18 at Areaware: 800-783-5683 or

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