You’re setting up your very own cocktail bar at home for making mixology classics, and a few gems of your own, but… one vital ingredient is missing: the right glasses! Without the right cocktail glasses, your experience as a mixologist will not be complete.
From highball and lowball tumblers to the cocktail glass and the Martini glass, every type of cocktail glass plays a crucial role in bringing out all the flavours, aromas and colours of the drink.
Not sure where to start? No problem: we have drafted a practical guide to help you understand the right kind of cocktail glass to use for your aperitifs or after-dinner drinks.
Types of cocktail glasses
These are the most famous and widely-used cocktail glasses:
1. The NIO Cocktails Tumbler
The most elegant cocktail glass of all is also available in a NIO Cocktails-branded version: the cocktail tumbler. This ultra-elegant glass tumbler comes in three different kinds:
- Lowball tumbler, used for water and for on-the-rocks drinks with ice
- Medium tumbler, perfect for distillates and liqueurs for drinking without ice
- Highball tumbler for fruity cocktails and drinks with lots of ice.
Our NIO Cocktails Tumbler is perfect for enjoying absolutely all your cocktails to the utmost. The NIO Cocktails Tumbler is entirely made in Italy, and is crafted from finest eco-crystal. The purest raw materials are used with renewable energy sources so that environmental emissions are eliminated. It is sturdy and elegant, as well as being completely recyclable.
Why do we recommend using tumblers above all else?
In the course of the century and a half over which the history of mixology has been written, every cocktail has come to be served in its own glass, be it a question of fashion or for tasting needs.
Here at NIO Cocktails, we have embraced contemporary mixology in full. The focus is on unimpaired enjoyment of the cocktail itself, of which ice is a crucial ingredient. The best is ice in XL-size cubes, as it can chill the cocktail in 1 minute without dissolving too quickly and diluting the recipe. The only glass which can contain this kind of ice-cube is the low tumbler.
2. Highball Cocktail Glass
The Highball is the classic tall, narrow cocktail glass generally used for serving long drinks including the Gin & Tonic, Mojito or Long Island Ice Tea. The simple design of the Highball strikes the perfect balance between ice, tonic and spirits, and is also suitable for alcohol-free drinks. Barmen like using it because the drink can be mixed in the glass itself, making the mixing process more straightforward.
If is often confused with the Collins Glass, although it is slightly taller and thinner, and is mainly used for making the Tom Collins or Joan Collins cocktails.
2. Lowball Cocktail Glass
Lowballs are made like Highball glasses, the only difference being that – as the name suggests – they are shorter. These cocktail glasses, also known as old style glasses, are short and wide, and are normally used for making the great classics such as the Old Fashioned, Negroni, and a Vodka Sour.
With its thick, heavy bottom, the Lowball is perfect for drinks with ingredients that need to give plenty of room to their flavours and to allow them to combine with the alcohol well. They are also perfect for drinks that are clean-tasting on the palate.
3. Martini Cocktail Glass
The Martini cocktail glass is also called the Martini Coupe and is one of the most popular glasses, making it widely used for a variety of cocktails. It has a very long stem – designed to prevent warmth from the hands transferring to the glass – and a bowl shape that enhances the drink’s aromas. Used mainly for the Cosmopolitan, Martinis, Manhattans, and Gimlets, its sides are sloping, preventing the ingredients from separating whilst allowing garnishes to be added in an upright position.
4. Margarita Cocktail Glass
It is now common practice to serve Margaritas in different glasses, be it a Martini, Lowball or even a pint glass. But there is a traditional Margarita glass, which is perfect for serving this very cocktail. There are various kinds, but the most common is bowl-shaped with a tall stem and a wide rim. The rim is often garnished with salt crystals to emphasise the flavour of the Margarita or its variant, the Tommy's Margarita. Not many people have a margarita glass in their cupboards, but buying one for the purpose would give your home bar a special touch.
At times it is also used for serving food, such as the Eighties-style prawn cocktail.
5. Champagne Flutes
The time-honoured champagne flute is tall and straight, with a long body and stem. We often have these glasses at home, perhaps a gift received from relatives, and they give the aperitif a touch of elegance. Ideal for champagne or prosecco, the champagne flute is also used for cocktails such as the Bellini, Mimosa or the French 75 because its design maintains the carbonation of the drink whilst allowing the bubbles to be released, creating an appealing effect.
6. Coupe Cocktail Glass
This is the classic cocktail glass, and is a firm favourite with most bartenders thanks to its simple yet elegant design. Unlike the Martini glass, this coupe makes it simple to mix and pour cocktails thanks to a rim which avoids spillage. The long stem also ensures the hands do not warm the cocktail. Coupe glasses are suitable for most cocktails, including the Daiquiri, a Boulevardier, and Gin Sour.