1.7 Choosing your glass

1.7 Choosing your glass


Looking good and tasting great – choosing the right glass for your cocktails

A pint glass might come in handy when making cocktails but you don’t want to find yourself drinking from one. At least, not at the start of the night. Great tasting cocktails taste even better when drunk from the correct glass. Numerous studies in gastrophysics have confirmed this connection. If you don’t want to believe the science, you’ve got to admit that choosing the right glass will make your cocktails look amazing. And believe me, second only to flavour, looking good is a top priority for cocktail bartenders.

Here is my simple guide to choosing the right glass for your creations

Tumblers and Highballs

Most people have tumbler and highball glasses on their shelves. As a general rule, tumblers (or rocks glasses) should be used for short drinks served on the rocks (over ice). The low, straight sides of the glass allow the aromas to collect like a cloud just above the glass. If you enjoy drinking your gin neat, then a tumbler is the way to go. Highballs tend to be used for longer cocktails, usually served with a mixer over lots of ice. Whether a tumbler or a highball, the thinner rim of cut glass feels amazing on your lips, and the classical pattern looks incredibly elegant in your hand.


Short drinks are stronger, made up of spirits and liqueurs (eg Negroni). Long drinks have added flavour using non-alcoholic juices, tonics, sodas, and syrups (eg Tom Collins).

Look at my Balloons

They’ve recently become a pub essential and proof for social media that you know to drink G&Ts at home. But the balloon glass, or ‘Gin Globe’, has been around for centuries. The Spanish created these classy goblets to maximise the amount of ice and to make room for a whole host of fresh garnishes. The added benefit is that the wide base increases the contact of the gin with the tonic, allowing both to infuse each other effectively. The Spanish are the biggest drinkers of gin in Europe, so I reckon they know what they’re doing. If you haven’t got anywhere to store some massive balloons, you can always repurpose some large wine glasses.


There is an instinctive urge to cradle balloon glasses, but you should really treat them like champagne flutes and hold them by the stem to avoid warming your drink and melting the ice.

The Classic Cocktail Glass

The martini glass and/or the coupe are essential bar glassware. These glasses should only ever be used for cocktails that are served straight up (eg Gimlets, Martini). It is said that the large, flat rim of a martini glass allowed prohibition drinkers to quickly spill their cocktails in a raid. Since there is no longer a need to pour your drinks on the floor, the coupe is now favoured by bartenders for its practicality and look. The curvaceous design is said to be modelled on two particularly perky parts of Marie Antoinette. Having a wide, curved rim allows the intense aromas to escape the glass, leaving the softer fruity or floral notes.



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