Shaken Not Stirred: The Right Glass for the Job


There is almost no limit to the possibilities of what you can create when it comes to cocktails, all that you need are the right ingredients, and the right glass. Although there are a huge amount of different glasses available, in all shapes and sizes, do you know that there are very specific reasons for serving different drinks in these different glasses? We’ll take a look at four of the most common types, and the reasons that they are how they are. We’ll also take a look at the best way of washing these different glasses, so you can get a great clean, for the perfect glass.


A highball is a tall glass with a fairly small circumference, perfect for carbonated drinks because the tall thin shape helps to preserve the necessary bubbles, as the narrower mouth reduces the surface area of the liquid exposed to the air. One explanation for how the highball got its name is that scotch whisky used to be measured in ‘bolls’, and this made its way into common usage as a word for glass, although one boll equals about forty-eight gallons, so it’s not recommended that you try and find a glass that size!

As highballs are designed to preserve the carbonation in drinks, these glasses are perfect for cocktails that have an effervescent ingredient, such as:

  • Tom Collins

  • Long Island Iced Tea

  • Gin and Tonic

  • Cuba Libre


Somewhat unsurprisingly, the lowball is very similar to the highball, but lower. The base is much thicker to keep the drink cool, and the lower, but wider, profile increases the amount of liquid exposed to the air to allow for oxidisation.

These glasses are perfect for deep spirits like whisky and bourbon, as the complex flavours are given opportunity to develop with the air. Perfect cocktails for these glasses are:

  • White Russian

  • Old-Fashioned

  • Caipirinha

  • Negroni

Martini Glass

The Martini glass originated in the 1900s, and the story behind them either attributes their obtuse shape to the fact that it allows the alcohol the maximum amount of exposure to the air for oxidation, or to the (untrue but marvelous) idea that if during prohibition a glass was required to be emptied swiftly – it would only take a flick of the wrist.

The shape and delicate nature of these glasses require the drinks to be mixed (shaken or stirred) in a separate container, and work well with delicately flavoured cocktails such as:

  • Martini (funnily enough)

  • Manhattan

  • Gimlet

  • Pink Gin


The coupe was originally a type of champagne glass, apocryphally designed based upon a certain body part of Marie Antoinette! Whether or not this is true, it didn’t stop champagne makers Dom Perignon from updating it in 2008, based this time on the breast of Claudia Schiffer. The coupe’s rounded profile makes the drink far less likely to spill out than it is with the martini glass, but like it’s more angular cousin, the stem prevents the drinker’s hands from warming the liquid within.

The best drinks to serve in a coupe include:

  • Cosmopolitan

  • Brandy Alexander

  • Grasshopper

  • Sidecar


You have to be careful when loading glasses into the dishwasher, making sure to position them on the top shelf, and away from each other. If they are too close then they could knock together causing them to chip or crack. This is especially important to take into consideration with lowball glasses, as their low centre of gravity makes them more likely to slide around.

Highball glasses are less likely to slide, but because of their height and smaller circumference they are more likely to tip, so make sure that they’re supported from all sides if you can.

The stemmed glasses, the coupe and the Martini glass, may require you to lower the top rack to create more space. Like the other lowballs however, it’s important to make sure that they aren’t at risk of knocking into any other glasses if they move about during the wash.

For all glassware it’s important to make sure that you’re using the right products. Finish Quantum Max Shine and Protect is developed to give the glasses a great clean, as well as protect them with a unique action which prevents them from going cloudy or dull. Finally, the rinse agents ensure that water evaporates straight off the surface, stopping unsightly water spots from forming. Finish Quantum Max Shine and Protect does not protect from mechanical damage or restore already damaged items.

So whatever your drink is, you can guarantee you’ll be drinking it out of a potentially gleaming glass, thanks to Finish.