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Get To Know Your Glassware

Updated: Feb 2, 2022

Highball... or is it Hi-ball? Martini (isn't that a kind of drink?). Nick and Nora... Who are

they and why do they matter?


Making cocktails can feel daunting with all the confusing equipment needed and the fancy alcohols needed but to make matters worse, making drinks can become over-complicated way before you even look at the recipe thanks to the catalogue of glassware you have to get your head around. Although it may not matter too much to some who just humbly require a vessel to hold their tipple, for the vast majority of people, a drink, especially a cocktail, is as much about the presentation as it is about the taste. Whether its a simple glass of wine or an extravagant Singapore Sling, using the correct glassware guarantees that the recipe you're following first and foremost fits into your glass, but more importantly looks and feels like the piece of art you should be proud of making.


While there are many variations of each, these are the most common types of

glassware you will encounter.



Highball/Collins

This is a commonly found glass, often used for spirit-mixers and simple cocktails. Typically around 500ml/14oz, highballs (also called Hi-balls) are perfect for long, voluminous drinks. A Collins glass is much like a highball except they tend to be thinner and taller, which stacks ice cubes vertically for a more aesthetic look and feel.







Lowball/Old Fashioned

Lowballs are the opposite of highballs in that they are small tumblers and hold significantly less liquid. These are used for short and strong drinks like brambles and whiskey sours and are the standard choice for spirits served straight or on the rocks. Borrowing the name from the classic cocktail itself, Old Fashioned glasses are essentially the same thing but tend to be more decorative than your average lowball. These glasses will typically hold around 300ml of liquid.



Martini

Very similar to Coupe glasses and can often be used interchangeably for the same types of drinks, however the striking difference is the sharper, more triangular edges and its thinner and more delicate frame. Martini glasses are best used for glamorous and elegant drinks, much like it's namesake, the Martini. Like all good stemware, Martini glasses are designed so that the drinker's warm hand does not affect the temperature of the liquid inside, which will typically have no ice in it, to keep it cool.




Coupe

Unlike the Martini glass, the coupe (pronounced koo-pey) glass has rounder softer edges and is slightly more durable. Coupes look their best when used for drinks with a thick, foamy head, and is superior in cases where the drink is expected to be moved around since coupes are far better than a martini glasses at holding their contents. It's said that the shape was moulded in the shape of Marie Antoinette's left breast, a thought to bear in mind when enjoying your next Pornstar Martini!



Wine Glass

Perhaps unsurprisingly, wine glasses are mostly used for... wine.... but are voluminous enough to be filled with ice to enjoy cocktails such as an Aperol Spritz. Wine served by the glass in bars and restaurants will come in 125ml, 175ml and 250ml measures.


A seasoned wine Sommelier will tell you that small differences in the shape of these glasses significantly varies the taste of the wine inside and the same rule applies to cocktails.





Flute

Flute glasses (also widely referred to as champagne glasses) are typically associated with fine dining and celebrations, but you may or may not have some lying around somewhere, patiently waiting to be brought out for a special occasion. Long and thin and extremely delicate, they are always used for bubbly drinks made with champagne or sparkling wine to emphasise and exaggerate the bubbles, such as the case with Champagne Cocktails. Flute glasses will hold 125ml with room for a bubbly head.





Copa/Balloon

These distinct glasses are relatively new to the scene as Gin and Tonics have recently resurfaced in popularity. The official name is 'Copa de Balon' and can be found in every self-respecting gin bar. The almost comically large size has a purpose - it holds far more ice than any other type of stemware at 300ml, which helps keep the drink colder for longer, and holds more garnishes than a highball, which is why you always see G&Ts looking like gardens in the summer!





Belgium

With it's unconventional and curvy shape it's hard not to notice when a drink is served in this glass. Belgium glasses are familiar sight to beer drinkers but are often re-purposed to make a cocktail look and feel far more exiting. Besides beer, Belgium glasses are most commonly used for blended cocktails like frozen margaritas or for adding an extra bit of visual flair to a drink like Pina Coladas. Belgiums come in a range of different sizes but will typically hold around 400ml




Nick & Nora

Small and fragile, Nick & Nora's are designed especially for short and strong drinks that should never be served with ice (aka 'up' or 'straight up)'. Oddly enough, the name does hold some significance, coming from the names of a fictional couple named Nick and Nora Charles, from a 1920's murder mystery play named 'The Thin Man', (which was later turned into a film). The characters drank frivolously and this glass is what they enjoyed their martini's in.




Shots

We're sure you know this one! Despite the vast majority of party-goers being very well acquainted with this precious little piece of glassware, it's not usually associated with cocktails or mixed drinks but occasionally feature in a recipe or two. They are also the main glass used for shooters and typically come in 25ml measures, standard for a single in the UK.

Shot sizes can range from 25ml to 60ml in different countries across Europe!






P.s. You can make any drink you like in any glass you have if you feel like it - the beauty of making fantastic drinks in the comfort of your own home is that the only rules you have to follow are your own!

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