Which highball glasses are best?
To make a truly great cocktail, you don’t just need to get the proper alcohol, mixer, and garnish measurements, you also need to serve it in the right glass. There is no better choice than a highball glass when it comes to mixed cocktails featuring carbonated beverages. These tall and thin glasses offer enough capacity to accommodate the right alcohol to mixer ratio and have a subtle elegance that a pint glass just can’t match.
Take, for example, the Riedel Highball Glasses. They have just enough decorative accents to make a statement but aren’t so flashy that they completely overwhelm the simple aesthetics of a gin and tonic garnished with a lime wedge or a sprig of rosemary.
What to know before you buy highball glasses
What is a highball glass?
A highball glass is a popular type of glassware found in every bar and many homes. They have a tall, thin shape and traditionally hold 8-12 ounces of liquid. Glasses that had a similar shape but larger capacity of around 12-14 ounces were referred to as Collins glasses. These days, however, the terms are generally used interchangeably, with most people referring to any glass with a tall, thin vertical shape and holds between 8 and 17 ounces as a highball glass.
Types of drinks served in highball glasses
One of the great things about highballs glasses is how versatile they are. They are suitable for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. They work perfectly as multi-purpose household glasses because they can serve as everyday drinking glasses and cocktail glasses when the time comes.
When it comes to cocktails, highball glasses are a good choice for most mixed drinks with a lot of ice and are more mixer than alcohol. Some of the most common beverages served in highball glasses include a single alcohol and a carbonated beverage, think gin and tonic, seven and seven, rum and coke and similar cocktails. There is also the ubiquitous whiskey highball, which is whiskey and soda at its most classic, but these days may include a variety of other flavored syrups or sodas. There is no reason to stick to any strict rules regarding what kinds of cocktails you can enjoy in a highball glass, so feel free to make any mixed drink you like in them as long as they offer the required capacity.
Highball glass sets
Most highball glasses are sold in sets. These sets may include anywhere from two to 10 glasses, all of which are the same. Some sets include matching, but differently styled, glasses, which gives each one its own feel.
Additionally, you can also find some highball glasses sold individually. These are often highly artistic and sometimes handmade. These can be a good choice for people who like to make a statement with their barware by serving their friends beverages in unique glasses.
What to look for in quality highball glasses
All highball glasses will be similarly shaped in that they will be tall and relatively thin. After that, many differences in their shape add to their aesthetics and the drinking experience. For example, some curve or angle inwards as they move from the bottom or center towards the lip. These can help keep a drink carbonated for longer, but they can also make them more challenging to drink from without a straw.
There are also highball glasses that expand outwards from the base to the lip. These work well for cocktails with a lot of fruit garnishes since they have a bit of extra space to accommodate. Other highball glasses may have an oversized base, which adds some decorative flair and makes them more stable.
As touched on previously, not all highball glasses have the same capacity. Most people prefer 10- to 12-ounce highball glasses for cocktails. These offer enough room to hold a lot of ice along with the cocktail but aren’t so large that you might be drunk after just a single glass. That said, if you’ll be using your highballs as all-purpose glassware or you plan on putting a lot of fruit garnish in them, something between 12-14 ounces might be better.
Technically, only glasses made from glass, crystal or crystalline are truly glassware. In practice, though, many people refer to plastic, acrylic and even ceramic cups as glassware too. Of these, crystal is the most expensive, followed by crystalline, glass and potentially ceramic. Plastic and acrylic are the cheapest and the most durable but also the least refined. That said, if you are serving highballs near a pool, they are the best option.
Dishwasher-safe glasses are the easiest to clean, which will certainly be welcome after spending a couple of hours enjoying a few drinks with friends. Nearly all glass and crystalline glassware will be dishwasher safe; however, some crystal, acrylic and plastic glasses are not. Make sure to read the product details of any glasses you are considering before purchasing them if this is important to you.
How much can you expect to spend on highball glasses
On the low end of the price spectrum, you can expect to pay between $3-$5 per glass in a set. On the upper end, you may spend $15 or more per glass.
Highball glass FAQ
Can I use highball glasses for hot drinks?
A. Most highball glasses are not suitable for hot drinks. They tend to have thin walls and lack handles, making them too hot to hold if filled with a hot beverage.
How can I chill my highball glasses before serving a drink in them?
A. If you have the time, you can put your highball glasses in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before making your cocktail in them. However, if you are in a rush, you can use the old bartender’s trick of filling them with a bunch of ice and water. This will chill the glass in just 30 seconds or so.
What are the best highball glasses to buy?
Top highball glasses
What you need to know: Elegant enough to elevate any beverage but not so flashy that they take center stage over the drink itself, these highball glasses are ideal for basic mixed cocktails like Cuba Libres and Tom Collins.
What you’ll love: The thick and sturdy base gives them nice stability, while the design creates an interesting distortion without totally obscuring the contents.
What you should consider: The set is pricey for just two glasses.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top highball glasses for the money
What you need to know: These simple highball glasses work equally well for serving cocktails and as daily drinking glasses in the home.
What you’ll love: Many will find the 13-ounce capacity to be just the right size for single-alcohol mixed drinks. Also, they are a surprisingly affordable price yet don’t look cheap.
What you should consider: They have thin walls and are prone to cracking or chipping if handled too roughly.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: With a classic diamond-cut pattern, these highball glasses are the perfect choice for traditionalists.
What you’ll love: They are attractive enough to be used for high-end dinner parties and have a substantial weight and feel that just screams quality.
What you should consider: Some people have received glasses with visible seams.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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