Which Collins glass is best?
When it’s time to relax with a cool, refreshing cocktail, chances are it will be served in a tall and skinny Collins glass. From the traditional Tom Collins cocktail to innovative original drinks, the Collins glass is the vessel for adult beverages that combine one or more spirits with fresh citrus juice, a sweetener like simple syrup and other fresh or unique ingredients to create an upgraded version of a highball cocktail.
So if you’re looking for the best glassware to enjoy a simple-yet-special adult beverage, it’s essential that you add some Collins glasses to your glassware collection. The Lav Collins Glasses, Set of Six is your best bet.
What to know before you buy a Collins glass
Although it’s a simple tall and skinny glass, the Collins glass is ideal for “built” drinks — cocktails that are neither shaken nor stirred but instead built in the glass before adding ice. Alternately known as a highball glass, it’s ideal for simple mixed drinks, and it’s usually pretty easy to track down an attractive and practical set. But there are a few factors to consider before making the investment into a quality set of Collins glasses.
What is a Collins glass?
Like the old fashioned glass and champagne flute, the Collins glass is one of the most simple pieces of glassware that can be commonly found behind a bar or in the cupboard of cocktail connoisseurs. It is tall and slender, constructed without a handle and typically weighted at the bottom for stability. It’s named for two similar cocktails created in the mid to late 1800s: the Tom Collins and John Collins. It typically holds between 8-12 ounces of liquid. It’s also not uncommon to find bartenders filling highball glasses with water to keep their customers hydrated.
Types of drinks you can make in a Collins glass
Collins-style drinks are simple and easy to make. Add one or more spirits to an empty Collins glass, followed by a small amount of fresh citrus juice and an even smaller portion of sweetener and topped with a soda or other mixer. The Tom Collins cocktail calls for gin as its spirit, lemon juice as the citrus element, simple syrup and soda water. Still, by substituting different ingredients, you can make a wide number of variations. Here are a few examples:
Paloma: A light, dry and refreshing drink featuring tequila, lime juice and grapefruit soda (or simple syrup and grapefruit juice).
Long Island Iced Tea: A deceptively-boozy concoction featuring vodka, rum, tequila, gin, triple sec (or other orange liqueur), lemon juice and cola garnished with a lemon wedge.
Moscow Mule: A popular effervescent cocktail featuring vodka, ginger liqueur and lime juice over ice topped with ginger beer and garnished with a lime wedge. A popular variation is the Kentucky Mule, which substitutes vodka with whiskey and lemon juice with lime juice.
What you need to make a Collins-style cocktail
The Tom Collins and its variations are easy to make with a couple of bar tools — a measuring jigger and a mixing spoon are all you really need. The jigger, an hourglass-shaped tool with a small and medium measuring cup on either end, ensures that you don’t overpour your ingredients, especially the spirits. A long cocktail mixing spoon is useful to quickly incorporate all the ingredients before serving.
What to look for in a quality Collins glass
Material and stability
Most Collins-style vessels are made with glass, but some budget or disposable versions may be made with plastic. Tempered glass is great for ensuring the vessel doesn’t crack, break or shatter when knocked over or dropped, but there’s another factor that can prevent easy accidents. The best Collins glasses are weighted at the bottom to keep them from being easily knocked over, making this feature indispensable.
Although the traditional Collins glass is pretty straightforward — tall, straight and skinny — some modern variations add some simple flair to make them more distinct. Some glasses are slightly curved to add a sleek appearance, while others add a minor flare from the bottom to top, similar to that of a pint glass. Others add decorative flourishes or an oversized base for visual appeal and added stability. If the mouth of the glass is too small, consider serving your drinks with a reusable straw.
The typical Collins glass has a capacity between 8-12 ounces, but there’s no rule that says you can’t upsize your homemade cocktails. Some drinks with an abundance of ingredients may need some extra space to ensure the proper proportions, so you may prefer something closer to 12-14 ounces. Anything higher in volume will likely contain more spirits, so try to avoid overserving your guests.
How much you can expect to spend on a Collins glass
A quality four-piece set of Collins glasses typically ranges between $15-$30, while some higher-end glasses, like those made from crystal, may cost $40 or more.
Collins glass FAQ
Can you use a Collins glass for highball drinks?
A. Yes. A Collins glass and highball glass are virtually indistinguishable from each other, so it is ideal for simple mixed drinks such as rum and cola, gin and tonic, or whiskey and soda.
Can you use a Collins glass for hot drinks?
A. No. Collins glasses are not suitable for hot drinks. They are made with thin glass that may crack or shatter under high heat, and without a handle, the drink would render the glass too hot to touch.
What’s the best Collins glass to buy?
Top Collins glass
What you need to know: Simple and straightforward, this Collins glass is an example of the classic model. It is tall, skinny, attractive and practical.
What you’ll love: This 12.25-ounce glass features a weighted bottom and is relatively durable in case of accidents. It’s also dishwasher-safe, but it should still be handled with care to avoid breakage.
What you should consider: Some users may find them too thin, and they may be difficult to wash by hand.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top Collins glass for the money
What you need to know: This 13-ounce glass is an elegant variation of the classic Collins glass with a curved, weighted bottom for stability. In addition, the rolled rim makes sipping more enjoyable than some thin, sharp-rimmed glasses.
What you’ll love: The slim glass is made from durable lead-free crystal that is dishwasher safe, and the company guarantees secure shipping and provides a 12-month warranty. For an even more striking visual, consider the curvy Gwen model.
What you should consider: These glasses are not stackable, and some customers complained about the base separating from the glass.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: For a more classic, old school vibe, this glass features eye-catching, traditional cut patterns.
What you’ll love: Customers love this glass for its durability and stability, and the set comes with a microfiber cloth for keeping the glassware shiny. Made from lead-free crystalline, this glass should stand the test of time.
What you should consider: This highly-rated set of glasses is notably more expensive than other quality models and is recommended for hand-washing only.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Matt Fleming writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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