The Insider’s Guide to Gin Glassware
Glass is a peculiar and a wonderful thing, not quite solid nor liquid, it’s classified as an ‘amorphous solid’— a state somewhere between the two states of matter. And cocktail glasses do indeed matter as the cocktail itself is a precious thing deserving careful consideration. Let us take a swift dive through the history and science of the different types of cocktail glassware and find out which suits your own particular cocktail needs.
You can appreciate vintage gin glasses for their beauty alone, and they are decidedly beautiful. An exquisite meeting of form and function (and a raucous history) led to these essential accouterments. As these are classic designs, some refer to them as ‘vintage gin glasses’ even though they may have only been procured this evening. Let us start with the coupe.
The Coupe Glass
Clover Club cocktail
The Coupe has usurped the V-shaped cocktail glass as the king of the cocktail cabinet, and long may it reign! Hopefully, its reign will last longer than its inspiration; It is said that the glass owes its elegant shape to specifics of the physique of the unpopular last queen of France, Marie Antoinette, on which it was modelled. This rather salacious origin story, like most cocktail history, is probably not true – likewise, she never said ‘Let them eat cake’ (or brioche for that matter).
Shallow with a broad bowl and delicate stem, the coupe has sufficient room for generous garnishes. Another lovable feature of the coupe is its reluctance to fall over or spill, this is especially true of larger examples.
The coupe longs to be filled with the superb Clover Club cocktail.
Hendrick’s Gin Martini
For those who love their cocktails ‘straight’ – served without any ice, water or other mixers – it’s hard to beat the classic Martini glass. This is slightly larger and more conical than the ‘cocktail glass’. It also generally features (though all rules are frequently broken) a longer stem and a wider rim. It wasn’t created as a Martini glass, as it was formally introduced in the 1925 Paris Exhibition as a modernist variant of the Champagne coupe. It enjoyed this relationship with champagne for a short time before it was discovered that it was an extremely good vessel for the Martini. The reasons being the wide surface area gives the gin the space it needs to release its sublime bouquet and the longer stem reduces the effect of body heat on the most precious Martini.
The Martini glass is of course ideal for the Hendrick’s Gin Martini.
Tumbler Gin Glass
Hendrick’s Gin & Tonic
A tall glass, the tumbler is a magnificently versatile workhorse of the cocktail cabinet essential for long and mixed cocktails. The ‘highball’ sits within the tumbler category and may have a capacity of 240 to 350 milliliters (8 to 12 US fl oz), though there is no ‘cocktail police’ to enforce this rule. A highball glass is taller than a lowball and squatter than a Collins glass. As with all stemless glasses, there is a greater chance of the heat from your hand affecting the temperature of your drink.
The tumbler is excellent for the Hendrick’s & Tonic.
Mr Micawber’s Hot Gin Punch
Tea was originally drunk from bowls until a handle was added by a German alchemist in 1707. Johann Friedrich Böttger may not have discovered the philosopher’s stone he so desperately sought but the creation of the teacup gave him a different sort of immortality. The teacup was never far from a civilised world of meticulous ritual and everyday perfections, as well as an aid to discretion exploited by the secretive cocktail enthusiasts of the US prohibition era. It is innately classy and a superb vessel for gin cocktails. With a wide surface area, the teacup makes the most of Hendrick’s fine nose, and the handle keeps cool cocktails cooler for longer as well as making the drinking of hot warming punches far more comfortable. The somewhat eccentric teacup is a more recent addition to the cocktail vessel canon and has quickly become much loved.
Recommended cocktail? Mr Micawber’s Hot Gin Punch.
Hendrick’s Cucumber Lemonade
The balloon glass is another relatively recent addition to the must-have cocktail inventory. Inspired by the generous Gin & Tonic serves of Spain, the triumphantly large balloon glass is the vessel of choice of those in-the-know for several reasons: Firstly, the large volume provides ample room for ice and garnishments; secondly, the large surface area is conducive to bouquet; thirdly, the stem offers insulation from hand heat, keeping the drink cooler for longer. It should also be added that it is particularly attractive and is a bold statement piece for the modern cocktail cabinet.
As with anything in the unusually accommodating world of cocktails, sometimes self-expression or convenience comes first – so feel free to follow or simply ignore our glassware advice. Glorious glassware brings further elegance to your cocktails, and may elevate your gatherings to a whole new realm of splendiferousness.