Gin glasses: why are they all shapes and sizes?

Cocktail making is part art, part science, but all style.

The best cocktails need to be served with a certain flair. For many, it’s as much about the experience as it is about the drink itself.  Gone are the days when the gin and tonic was an “also-ran” in the world of fancy cocktails, regularly served in small, dirty glasses in dingy pubs. 

Now, that’s all changed forever. Gin is theatre. Cocktail making is performance. And serving a Dry Martini in a copa glass is never going to work.

Here are some of the most popular gin glasses and when (and why) you should dig them out from that bottom shelf:

Martini glass (Martini, Cosmopolitan)

The iconic cocktail glass, this little baby just oozes class. Imagine yourself transported to the glamorous 50s.  Frank Sinatra was sipping Martinis by the dozen and Dean Martin was sipping with him. This is the perfect glass for drinks that are served “up” (i.e. without ice). The clever thing about this glass is that the stem stops the glass from warming up in your hand.  And the conical shape allows you to make the most of the aromas coming from it. Plus, it looks cool. Very cool.

Copa de balon glass (G&T, gin punches)

We love these glasses, which originated in 18th century Spain, in the Basque country.  They first became popular in Barcelona in the 2010s when the Spanish kicked off the process of reinventing the humble gin & tonic. Since then they have become widely used all over the world. We think Copa glasses are perfect for gin and tonics – bulbous and balloon like.  And since they sit on a stem, you won’t warm up the contents with your hot hands.

And even better, your drink will stay cool longer, since the large bowl allows loads of ice into the glass for some extra chill. We also like the fact that the bowl shape stops the ice cubes from melting too quickly and diluting your drink!  And if you’re into your garnishes, there’s plenty of room to make your drink even more exotic. 

Copa glasses really bring out the flavour profile of the botanicals within the gin and help to intensify the aromas on the nose. These are gin glasses that allow you to make the most of your drink.

Highball/Collins glass – (Gin Collins, Gin Sling/Gin Mojito)

This tall glass is perfect for cold drinks that contain a large proportion of mixer to gin. Especially when they’re best served chilled over plenty of ice cubes. So, if you like your drinks long and cool, then these are probably the glasses you’re after.

Coupe glass (Gimlet, Sidecar)

A bit more stable than its cousin the Martini glass, these long stemmed and a rounded bowl glasses evoke a glamorous era where sophistication and elegance were all the rage. In a coupe glass, the liquid should reach the top of the glass so that your nose stays as close as possible to the drink inside. This glass will infuse you with glorious smells to get those taste buds active again. With its wide brim, it’s also perfect for drinking fragrant cold cocktails

Rocks glass/Old Fashioned glass (Negroni, Sazerac, Caipirinha)

With a thick, heavy base, this is a great glass for any drink that needs to hold lots of ice. If you’re one of those who likes your gin neat over ice (Icelandic gin), then this is the one for you. It’s also great for any gin-based drinks that require muddling and its wide mouth ensures that it has plenty of room for those additional garnishes.


Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

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