Lowballs and highballs are two types of glassware commonly used in the world of cocktails. While they may look similar, there are distinct differences in their design and the types of cocktails they are best suited for.
A lowball glass, also known as a rocks glass or an old fashioned glass, is a short tumbler with a sturdy base. It has a wide opening and a thick, heavy construction that makes it perfect for cocktails served over ice. The lowball glass is commonly used for spirits-forward drinks that require minimal dilution, such as the Old Fashioned, Negroni, or Whiskey Sour. Its wide mouth allows the drinker to fully appreciate the aromas while the solid base provides stability.
On the other hand, a highball glass is a taller and narrower glass, typically with a capacity of 8 to 12 ounces. It is designed to hold a larger volume of liquid and is often used for cocktails that are mixed with a higher ratio of non-alcoholic mixers or carbonated beverages. Highballs are well-suited for refreshing and lighter cocktails like the Mojito, Gin and Tonic, or the classic Highball cocktail. The tall shape of the glass allows for plenty of ice, mixers, and garnishes, while the narrower opening helps retain the carbonation and fizziness of the drink.
The key distinction between the two glass types lies in the style of cocktails they are intended for. Lowball glasses are typically used for shorter, more potent cocktails served on the rocks, while highball glasses are favored for taller, refreshing cocktails with a higher mixer-to-alcohol ratio. Having both lowball and highball glasses in your glassware collection allows for versatility in serving different types of cocktails and ensures an enjoyable drinking experience for various preferences and occasions.