What’s in a glass? The beginner's guide to cocktail glassware
If you’re looking to add a splash of sophistication to your next dinner party, cocktails are the way to go. They’re colourful crowd-pleasers and with hundreds of variations to choose from, there’s a drink to impress each and every one of your guests.
For cocktail newbies, keep it simple and master some of the classics – Mojito, Old Fashioned and Cosmopolitan to name a few.
Once the list is good to go, it’s time to think about serving. Using the wrong glass won’t ruin your cocktail, but using the right glass will deliver a better taste experience – and make you look like a master mixologist too. Here’s our simple guide:
Sometimes called a longdrink, this is your go-to glass for mixed cocktails or drinks heavy on the ice. More often than not, highball drinks will be those built directly into the glass, using a base spirit and a larger quantity of non-alcoholic mixer. The tall, narrow shape of the glass will keep it cold and carbonated without over-diluting the liquor.
Perfect for: Long Island Ice Tea, Mojito, Dark and Stormy or a simple rum and coke.
These short, sturdy glasses are also known as lowballs or tumblers. They’re the ultimate vessel for whiskey- or bourbon-based drinks. The thick bottom is designed for muddling (see here for tips on how to muddle) and the smaller profile makes it perfect for potent, ‘on the rocks’ or neat pours. The wide brim lets the drinker savour the aroma.
Perfect for: Whiskey Sour, Mint Julep, or a wee dram of Scotch. The shape of the glass means the drink warms in your hand, so avoid using for crisper spirits like vodka.
The classic cocktail shape, this stemmed glass comes in a variety of silhouettes with some, such as the Coupe, having a slightly rounder bowl. Shaken or stirred drinks are best experienced in these glasses. The coned shape prevents the ingredients from separating while the long, slim stem protects the drink being exposed to warm hands. They also look pretty swanky.
Perfect for: 007-style Martini’s, Cosmopolitan or Manhattan
Reach for one of these if you feel like a bit of fizz. Champagne cocktails are great for a long, lazy weekend brunch or as a jazzed-up welcome drink. The tall, thin stem is easy to grip and a tapered rim means the bubbly will stay ... well, bubbly, for longer.
Perfect for: Mimosa, Bucks Fizz and Bellini
This curvy pear-shaped cocktail glass gets its name from a New Orleans tale. The Hurricane drink itself is the supposed brainchild of a chap named Pat O’Brien who started a speakeasy in the early ‘40s. Ironically, the password was 'storm’s brewin’'. Pat had a surplus of rum he needed to get rid of. The solution was to combine it with passion fruit and citrus syrup, pour it into hurricane lamp-shaped glasses and serve over ice.
Perfect for: Singapore slings, June bugs and Blue Hawaii