It was in 1985, during British Raj in India, that malaria was of primary concern and, tonic mixed with quinine — a bitter extract from the pungent bark of the South American cinchona tree — was prescribed to the British in India in abundance due to its anti-malarial properties. While it was an extremely bitter concoction, when mixed with carbonated water and sugar (what we now call tonic) it became a treat, and this led to the birth of the classic G&T.
The winning combination of gin and tonic was somewhat of an accident and has evolved throughout history. From its accidental origins as an anti-malarial treatment in India, through to the baroque garnishes of the Spanish ‘gin tonica’, to the present-day version of the G&T, come summer and it’s time to sip on some delicious G and T.
With the scorching heat, there is nothing as refreshing as a chilled glass of Gin and Tonic. For a drink with only three ingredients — gin, tonic, and a garnish of your choice – the flavours of a perfectly made G&T can often leave you energized.
After its accident. it soon became a popular cocktail in the United Kingdom as well as overseas. The Spanish were quick to catch on to the trend, but not without giving it their own spin. Bringing to the table a Spanish version of the G&T – Gin Tonica. A G&T unlike anything before, highball glasses were swapped with Copa Glass and gin and tonics were paired with flavoursome botanicals, and garnishes. Till today, we see a lot of experimentation with the G&T, and it will continue to rise. One thing is certain – the gin trend is here to stay!
Fun Fact: ‘Copa’ is a Spanish word for glass, and it was in fact the Spanish who started the trend of serving gin and tonic this way.
With more people jumping on the right side of the spirit and the emergence of multiple homegrown gin brands, the demand for gin is currently at an all-time high. While your bar may offer guests an expansive selection of gins from across the world, the question is do you have the right glasses to accompany it? When it comes to glassware, the highball tends to be the traditional glass of choice, given the design that provides ample space for ice, tonic and other mixers. The tall sleek shape can further help to keep your drink cool and fizzy. But as the popularity of gin has surged, so have the types of glasses. In recent years with gin becoming a staple choice for cocktails, there has also been a rise in popularity of the ‘Copa’ or balloon glass.
The most famous gin glass has got to be the Copa Glass also known as the Balloon Glass because of its shape — curvaceous, bowl-shaped glass with a thin stem that’s regularly used in gin bars. But when it comes to the Copa Glass, it works as a multi-sensory treat thanks to its design aesthetic. Promising room for creativity, bartenders can experiment with tipples in the glass to bring out the beauty of cocktails garnished with edible flowers, colour gradations, and even a traditional G&T with a slice of cucumber and orange can look pretty in this glass.
Described as stylish and sophisticated, these gin glasses come with a voluptuous shape that also maximises the gin flavours. The Copa’s spacious, wide bowl adds immensely to the taste of the tipple. The wide rim allows botanicals and garnishes to be perfectly infused in your drink with aroma and flavour, making it great for floral, fruity, or fragrant gins. The thin stem helps prevent hands from melting the ice too much.
LuxeBook spoke to Arijit Bose, co-founder CounterTop to know more about the emergence of the Copa Glass in India. “The Copa glass or Copa de Balon glass was something I saw come into prominence during my trip to Spain and other European countries. It was new and exciting, to see a change in how an age-old style simple drink was being served. In fact, it was used as far back as the 18th century in the BASQUE region. I started using the Copa Glass at events back home in India and people gravitated towards it due to the attention to detail and it quickly went from a fad to a standard of service.”
While choosing a Copa glass there are a few indicators to keep in mind, mind; the primary one is the clarity of the glass — often crystal is much more durable than glass and therefore less likely to chip or crack over time. Secondly, the glass should be light and well balanced, not bowl heavy, and the stem should be slim but not too thin, or else the glass may break.
To help you elevate your gin experience, here is our curated edit of the prettiest gin glasses that will make your drink look (and taste) like a million bucks!
With a flattering shape, the beauty of glass is the ease with which designers can get creative to make these glasses look like statement picks. But the charm of keeping simple and sophisticated never fails to impress. Vista Alegre’s Crystal Vinyl Goblet Glass (Buy It Here) takes inspiration from the Art Deco style and is an ideal pick for your bar. Add some style to your drinks settings with this Puck balloon glass set from Tom Dixon(Buy It Here)or opt for the Nude Glass’s Turkey Vintage Gin Tonic Glasses (Buy It Here). With a delicate stem that supports the big balloon bowl, Copa Glasses allow for the flavours to mix in well, VILLEROY & BOCH’s, Octavie Glass is the perfect example (Buy It Here).
You can even go the extra mile and add opulence to your barware with the Vonshef, UK, Iridescent Gin Glasses (Buy It Here). If you’re hosting a fancy cocktail party, these will surely be the talk of the table. The iridescent effect creates a rainbow of colours as it catches the light, to make enjoying gin feel like an even fancier affair. Made to be admired, be sure to put them on display! Or be unconventional and give the traditional Copa Glass shape a refreshing twist. Riedel, Austria Extreme Gin Glasses (Buy It Here)are perfect for allowing gin lovers to enjoy the full aromatic expression of the gin’s botanicals. With its angular tulip-shaped bowl, these modern glasses are a stylish and functional addition to your bar. And if you are looking for a glass that will blow everyone’s mind, do not look beyond the LSA International, Dusk Balloon Gin Glass. (Buy It Here).The sheer iridescent finish is enhanced by the pleated texture of the glass-making an essential addition to your contemporary glassware collection.
Fancy something a little more royal? Think gold detail accents or a classic gold-rimmed Copa glass? We have you covered. Add a royal touch to your drinking experience like the John Lewis & Partners Leaf Pattern Metallic Metal Glass (Buy It Here).For a minimalistic yet royal appeal opt for the LSA International, UK’s Century Balloon Glasses (Buy It Here).Gin and tonic lovers will love LSA International’s hand-painted copper stems balloon glasses. A truly opulent pick for an extravagant dinner soiree.(Buy It Here)
Let your G&T truly sing on your palate as you savour every sip in these glasses that exude luxury, opulence, and finesse.