What is the best glass for a gin and tonic: the Copa balloon or hi ball?

There’s a debate about the best glass to use for your G&T. Especially since the rise, rise and rise of the Copa de Balon (Ballon) glass – an import from the Basque country and the Spanish obsession with the G&T.

The hi-ball is still a popular option too - and with good reason. Let's see if we can get to the bottom of the controversy!

The Copa (balloon) glass

The Copa’s supporters say that the shape of the glass – large at the bottom and smaller at the top - concentrates the odours of the gin as they emerge – adding a dimension to the drinking experience. The size of the glass also allows for more and bigger ice cubes – they melt more slowly, and reduce the dilution of the drink. Likewise, given that the drinker can hold the stem, she is less likely to contribute to the melting of the ice cubes.

Finally, this type of glass reminds the British drinker of happy times, sitting in the Spanish sunshine.

Detractors say these glasses are unwieldy, look ridiculous and are out of place – especially at a smart party or if you have small hands.

The hi-ball glass

The major alternative to the Copa is a hi-ball. Smart, easy to hold, and traditional.

Hi-balls are big enough to hold a decent measure with plenty of ice - and you don't feel self-conscious while you're holding one.


We’re on the fence on this one – we actually think of far more consequence is the quality of the gin, the quality of the tonic and the quantity of the ice. Get these first three variables right – and you’re basically home and dry.

It then comes down to personal taste. We love drinking all our gins out of both types of glasses and we stock both branded Copa and hi-ball glasses

See our glasses collection

More gin-fo and helpful articles

What is gin and what are the different types of gin

Gin jokes, one-liners and puns

A short history of gin

How to make a perfect G&T

What is the best garnish for a G&T

How to choose the best gin for you

22nd Jan 2021 York Gin

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