While the UK’s love affair with gin is nothing new – gin has been around for more than 300 years – this obsession certainly shows no sign of waning. In 2019, there are more than 360 registered UK distilleries alone, and it’s estimated that the UK gin market is now worth over £1 billion.
But choosing your favourite gin for your G&T or cocktail is just one part of the equation. To enjoy the perfect gin drink, the serving, tonic, garnish and glass all have to be thrown into the mix, too.
When it comes to glassware, aside from bespoke glasses like the martini for specialist drinks, the highball tends to be the traditional glass of choice, especially for G&Ts. The design provides ample space for ice, tonic, and of course, gin.
When filled with ice, the highball’s tall, sleek shape can help to keep your drink cool and tonic water fizzing. This ‘Collins’-style glass is also a popular choice when it comes to gin-based cocktails, such as the Tom Collins.
But there has also been a rise in popularity in the ‘copa’, or balloon glass in recent years – a curvaceous, bowl-shaped glass with a thin stem that’s regularly used in gin bars in Barcelona and beyond.
The copa’s spacious, wide bowl enables botanicals and garnishes to work their magic and infuse your drink with aroma and flavour, making it great for particularly floral, fruity or fragrant gins, while its thin stem helps prevent hands from melting the ice too much.
From highball to copa, martini to tumbler, we tested over 20 different gin glass styles in total, taking durability, quality, capacity, practicality and comfort into account.
For fairness, we used the same gin and tonic for each serve (The Botanist gin with Fever-Tree light Mediterranean tonic), and our own choice of garnish.
LSA International gin balloon glasses
Best balloon/copa glass for gin
- handwash only
LSA International is a reliable name when it comes to glassware, and while we tested glasses from across the brand’s range (including martini and tumblers) it was their balloon gin glasses in particular that stood out for us.
Combining a spacious balloon bowl (it can hold up to 420ml) with an elegant glass stem that’s not too delicate or heavy, this gin glass came out top in our tests.
The spherical shape allows for a generous serving of ice along with the gin and tonic, keeping the drink refreshingly cold. Out of all of the balloon glasses we tested, these best accentuated the botanicals of the gin we were testing.
Anton Studio Designs speckle gin glasses
Best patterned gin glass
- delicate stems
From personalised gin glasses to colourful copas, patterned glasses not only look the part, but can handily denote which glass is yours. These pretty glasses are mouth-blown and handmade – and as such, each glass is unique – and come in a set of four (green, blue, red, purple).
We particularly enjoyed the long, elegant stems, and how the colours of each glass appear to infuse the gin and tonic when drinking. However, the stems are quite delicate, so it’s worth being a bit cautious when holding onto them.
On top of being functional, these glasses are a great option for entertaining, and also look the part when used to serve colourful flavoured gins such as orange or lavender. Handily, they can also be popped in the dishwasher.
Lakeland crystal-look acrylic tumblers
Best gin glass for portability
- doesn’t keep your drink cold for as long as other glasses
When it comes to picnics, barbecues and G&Ts by the sea, transporting your glassware collection isn’t the most practical option – but that doesn’t mean you have to drink your gin out of a tin.
These crystal-look tumblers from Lakeland are surprisingly deceptive; while being made from shatterproof acrylic, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re the real thing, especially when filled with your favourite gin.
On top of being lightweight, they’re an ideal size (350ml) and fit comfortably in the hand. They can be popped in the dishwasher, but handwashing is recommended.
Available from: Lakeland (£15.96 for four)
Root 7 geo tumbler
Most stylist gin glass
- handwash only
- could be bigger
Whether it’s a gin on the rocks or a punchy negroni, tumblers are just the receptacle for this type of drink, and we particularly loved these geometric glasses from Root 7.
Their metallic-style edging sets them apart from other glasses, as does their angular shape, and the hand-blown glass is refreshingly smooth to drink from.
They’re slightly on the smaller side, so don’t expect to pile your glass with ice. Available in gold and black, they also make great gifts.
Hayman’s true English G&T glass
Best highball gin glass
- ideal size
- branding on the glass
The gin distillers at Hayman’s took inspiration from a 19th-century glass design found in their family archive to create this stylish glass.
The design is said to encourage a balanced serve of one part gin and two parts tonic. The glass holds 300ml in total, which allows for a full glass of ice, as well as 100ml tonic and 50ml gin.
These glasses are tall, slim and elegant, with a thick tulip-style lip; the result is not only an ice-cold G&T, but also a wonderfully aromatic drink. Its heavy base also makes you feel like you’re drinking out of a well-designed glass.
It seems that Hayman’s has got the ideal gin-drinking receptacle down to a perfect science, which is no wonder considering the distillery has been producing gin for more than 150 years.
Available from: Hayman’s (£8)
Dartington bar excellence martini glass
Best martini glasses
- good quality
- pricey if not used regularly
Whether you like yours shaken, stirred, or garnished with an olive, there’s no denying the universal appeal of the martini, especially if you’re a gin lover. But, this stylish drink needs to be served in a suitably classy receptacle.
Dartington Crystal’s glasses ticked all of our criteria, and stood out amongst the martini glasses we tried, particularly for the glass quality.
The stems are sleek but solid and not too chunky, and the lip easy to drink from. These glasses had longer stems than others we tried, making them comfortable to hold and elegant to look at.
Wilko gin glasses
Best budget gin glass
- allows for a generous serve
- base could be bigger
Whether you’re entertaining a crowd, or are a bit clumsy and have to continually replace glassware, a pack or two of these will do the job.
On top of being highly affordable, cavernous, and comfortable to hold, these are also safe to put in the dishwasher. No-frills and budget-friendly: we like.
Available from: Wilko (£8 for six)
Waterford Gin Journey Aras hi ball glass
Best high-end gin glasses
- handwash only
There are everyday glasses, and then there are special occasion glasses – and these most definitely fall into the latter category. They are pricey, so you may only be able to have a couple in your collection.
They are also relatively heavy; they weigh 460g each, due to the quality of the cut-lead crystal, so you may not want to fill completely to the top with ice when serving your favourite gin.
That said, you can definitely tell the difference when drinking from one of these, compared to more economical options.
The glasses are weighty, fill your hand, and the wide rim allows the aroma of the gin’s botanicals to infuse. Drinking from these glasses is an experience, as every well-made G&T, or gin-based cocktail, should be.
Available from: Waterford (£115 for two)
Why buy a specialist gin glass?
Along with juniper and a base spirit, gin is typically made up of a unique combination of botanicals, each of which carries its own flavour profile and aroma. To best identify a gin’s individual flavour, mouthfeel and aroma, specialist gin glasses are recommended. Not only do they look the part, they enhance the overall imbibing experience, too.
Which gin glasses should I buy?
As with choosing your favourite gin brand, selecting the right glass can vary according to individual preferences and tastes. For versatility, highball glasses are recommended as they’re ideal for both G&Ts and cocktails, while copa glasses are best if you’re looking for a new way to serve a G&T and show off its botanicals.
For martini aficionados, it’s best to stick to the trusted martini glass. The quality of glass varies, with more bespoke varieties being handwash only, so also take that into consideration when choosing your glassware.
What we looked for when testing gin glasses
Durability and quality: Were the glasses long-lasting? How did they feel to hold and to drink from? Did they keep the gin cold?
Capacity: Was there enough room for a generous measure of gin and tonic or a cocktail, as well as ice? How did the glass feel to hold when full?
Practicality: While they looked the part, were the glasses easy to hold and drink from? Could they be put in the dishwasher?
Ease of storage: Do they fit well on a shelf? Do they stack? Are they space-economical?
More on gin
10 gin & tonics with a twist
Our top gin cocktail recipes
How to make the perfect gin & tonic
This review was last updated in August 2019. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do you serve your G&T? We’d love to hear your product suggestions…