Gin Glasses – Has the Copa had its day?

Here at Horse Guards HQ, we think that, next to the perfect gin, presentation is everything. The look of a cocktail will certainly influence the drinker’s perception of what it’s going to taste like. But the whole experience of looking at your cocktail, holding the glass, feeling its weight, the sensation of the glass rim against your lips…. it’s somewhat like tea tasting better when served in a porcelain cup!

But what glass is right for you? Without a doubt, what’s right for you is right for you, so personal preference will dominate. But sometimes the cocktail itself dictates the glass style.

The Copa de Balon glass has been seen as the ‘proper’ serving glass for a gin and tonic. The perceived benefits of this glass type is its ability to hold a lot of ice, and for the drinker to hold a stem so as not warm the glass bowl and thus melt the ice. There is also a school of thought that the shape of the bowl allows for the entrapment of the aromatics of the gin, keeping them nose-ready for your first sip. It could also be said that it helps keep the garnish in place and not interrupt the drinker’s pleasure.

But we recently ran a survey amongst members of a reputable Gin Forum and in fact the highball glass has become a firm favourite. Whilst most commonly known as a tumbler, these come in a array of sizes, with gin mostly served in a Collins Glass used to serve especially Tom Collins or John Collins cocktails. It is cylindrical in shape and narrower and taller than a highball glass.


And then there’s the martini, a classic gin cocktail with an iconic glass. You simply cannot drink one of these without the correct glassware, it just wouldn’t be the same! Like the Copa, the holding of the stem will keep the drink colder through removing any hand generated heat, although the open top won’t capture the botanicals in the same way as a Copa, but then a classic martini shouldn’t be made with floral gins. The best martini is made with a premium London Dry Gin (Horse Guards of course!)

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Gin Glasses – Has the Copa had its day?
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