High Class Glasses

The Best Highball Glasses For Your Home Bar

A highball is a simple drink, but it deserves a not-so-simple vessel.

Ariela Basson/Fatherly; Viski, Riedel

Chances are you’ve had a highball, whether you know it or not. A highball is any drink consisting of spirits, sparkling water, and ice. The definition of “sparkling water” is broad in this case, so a gin and tonic, a whiskey soda, a rum and Coke, and a mojito are all examples of highballs. Taken as a whole, the highball may be the most popular drink in the world. So, it’s good to know your way around the best highball glasses and to have a few good ones on hand at your home bar.

A highball glass is designed to hold a drink with a high ratio of a non-alcoholic mixer, like soda or tonic water, and ice. The glasses generally range in capacity from 11 ounces on the smaller side to 15 ounces on the larger side. Choose a smaller highball glass for things like G & T’s, where an excess of tonic would throw off the balance, and a larger glass for something like a Pimm’s cup where you need room for garnish and fruit slices. The height of a highball glass allows for high volume with a small surface area, which helps retain carbonation. A highball glass is generally shorter and wider than a Collins glass, but the two are similar enough that one can stand in for the other.

We assembled this list with the help of glassware and spirits experts to represent a broad range of designs and price points, from high-tech ultra-strong glasses from Japan to hand-blown glasses from Vermont. To make this list, the glass had to stand out with its artfulness, its utility, or, ideally, both. Price-wise, some of these you wouldn’t sweat a dinner guest dropping, while others you’ll want to take care of and pass on to your kids. All of them, however, are worth considering.

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Japanese Whiskey Highball Glasses

Japanese whiskey highballs are wildly popular right now, and they’re one of the few highball drinks that aren’t actually served in a highball glass. In Japan, they use one glass for whisky highballs and a more traditional highball glass for other kinds of highball drinks. This is because Japanese highballs are served bracingly cold, which requires a thicker glass (preferably chilled) to retain that coldness.

“I love the two Japanese approaches,” says Jared Brown, co-founder and master blender of Sipsmith Spirits in London. “Order a gin and tonic (technically a highball), and it comes in a paper-thin glass seemingly filled with a long hand-carved ice cube. Yet, if you order a ‘highball,’ it comes in a frozen beer mug with a handle, frozen. That’s key to a great highball.”

Here’s our recommendation if that’s what you’re hoping to recreate.