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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
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Top Of The Best Highball Glasses Reviewed In 2018Last Updated December 1, 2018
№1 – JoyJolt Stella Lead Free Crystal Highball Glass 14.2-Ounce Barware Collins Tumbler Drinking Glasses For Water, Juice, Beer, And Cocktail Set Of 4
№2 – Anchor Hocking Heavy Base Highball Drinking Glasses, 15 oz (Set of 12)
№3 – Paksh Novelty Italian Highball Glasses [Set of 6] Clear Heavy Base Tall Bar Glass – Drinking Glasses for Water, Juice, Beer, Wine, Whiskey, and Cocktails | 13 Ounces
On The Rock Glass With Ice Ball Maker
For those who like their whiskey on the chilled side, this rocks glass is the perfect option. Each set comes with a silicone mold that, when filled and frozen, forms a single solid ice ball that outlasts regular ice cubes. The glass itself also features a shape conducive for the ice ball, allowing the sipper to swirl with ease minus the worry of spillover.
Corkcicle Whiskey Wedge
The warm whiskey burn can end up deterring many from enjoying one of the world’s finest spirits. Here’s a fantastic solution to that obstacle. The Whiskey Wedge is an artful way to chill but not water down the dram, as the wedge is designed to melt at a much lower pace than floating ice cubes.
Orrefors ‘Intermezzo’ Old-Fashioned Glass
Truly one-of-a-kind, each Intermezzo glass features a drop of color in the stem that distinguishes the glass from anything else you’re ever encountered. It’s made from crystal, is dishwasher safe, and designed by Erika Lagerbielke; add a touch of modern to the bar.
Riedel VINUM Whiskey Glasses
World-famous glassmakers produce this fine whiskey vessel that’s made of 2percent lead crystal for enhanced clarity, a capacity of seven ounces, and features a short stem and elongated thistle-shaped body in order to enhance the characteristics of the whiskey for every drinker’s enjoyment.
If you’re more of a dreamer than a doer check out these Matterhorn glasses inspired by the famous mountain in the Alps. Each glass is crafted out of crystal and looks quite impressive when filled with a dram of your favorite whiskey. And while you may never actually hike the famed mountain, at least now you can admire it from afar.
Get your hands on this glass that was just given the green light for production after a successful Kickstarter campaign. It’s a transparent, double-walled sipping vessel formed from a specific glass-blowing technique. The Norlan weighs in at 12grams and features a faceted base to eliminate fingerprints on the bowl.
Dorset Double Old Fashioned Glasses
Getting its name from the photogenic county on England’ southern coastline, each Dorset Double is composed of lead-crystal and reflects light in all directions thanks to the hand-cut fluting on the side of the glass. Pick up a set of these and any cocktail or dram will be presented in a fantastic manner. iittala Ultima Thule
Classy. That’s the one adjective that comes to mind at first glance. Its design produces a more translucent appearance for the glass and even though they may look too delicate to wash after consumption, you’ll be please to know each piece is dishwasher safe. iittala Aarne Double Old Fashioned Glass
Looking a bit like a shot glass rather and your typical Old Fashioned, the wide mouth facilitates a fuller sip capacity without any drip and the whole piece is made from mouth-blown glass, designed by Goran Hongell. Its mid-century design is one of elegance and simplicity, marrying it well with any number of fine whiskeys.
Library Hand-Cut Double Old Fashioned Glass
Suited for a cool winter’s night next to a warm fireplace, the rough-hewn glass makes this vessel a fantastic addition to your wet bar. It’s crafted from molded blown soda glass, boasts a hand-cut design, and comes in a set of six that also includes a shot glass, highball, wine glass, flute, and martini glass as well.
Ox Horn Double Old Fashioned Whiskey Tumbler
If you’re not satisfied with drinking an after-hours pour out of glass then look to this Ox Horn built tumbler. Built from ethically-sourced horns, it hosts ounces of capacity, is polished to a bright finish, and handmade in England. Easily a more macho option for those whiskey drinkers out there.
Blade Runner Whiskey Glasses
If Harrison Ford drank whiskey, which we’re sure he does, he would certainly own a pair of these Blade Runner glasses. They feature a square design with diagonal cuts at the angles and were modeled after the exact same tumblers used by Deckard himself in the movie.
The Lowball Machined Whiskey Tumbler
As a hard working individual you appreciate the time and effort it takes to get something done correctly. The Lowball was conceived with this notion in mind and is crafted for that special moment when the day is done. The interior features CNC Lathe contours to create a perfect hourglass snifter profile and the tumbler boasts optimized geometry so it fits perfectly in your hand.
Riedel Vinum Single Malt Glasses
I was given a set of Riedel Vinum Single Malt Whisky Glasses by my wife for a previous Christmas and I’m a big fan of the glasses. Riedel makes a whole line of glassware and their hallmark, at least in my mind, is that the glass is often high quality and remarkably thin.
From a design perspective, it opens up at the lip rather than closes in. Whereas the Glencairn almost focuses the aroma on your nose, this one doesn’t. The idea behind opening it up like this is so that the spirit “opens up” as it hits your tongue and lips. As a frequent user of the glass, I don’t know that much happens different if it “opens up” for the few millimeters before it gets to me!
What I do like about the glass is that it’s thin, so I don’t feel like I’m carry a bulky glass, and the opening is better suited for my nose. I don’t feel like I’m inhaling everything and so I don’t get an overwhelming nose, which I would get if I was too enthusiastic in sniffing a scotch in a Glencairn.
As was the case with the Glencairn, it’s best to avoid putting ice in this as it’s a more delicate glass and there isn’t really much room. On the downside, it’s more expensive than any other option here.
The NEAT Whiskey Glass
This is a relatively new entrant into the world of whiskey glasses. NEAT stands for Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology, which is hokey and terrible sounding, but by the shape of the glass you can already see that it looks the part.
Old Fashioned Tumblers
An Old Fashioned Tumbler is what most people think of when you talk about a tumbler (or lowball tumbler, as opposed to highball glass). It’s designed for mixed drinks, like the Old Fashioned after which it was named, and for enjoying whisky on the rocks. (Incidentally, an Old Fashioned is a lump of sugar, two dashes of bitters, ice, a lemon-peel, and a jigger of whiskey)
I don’t often enjoy my scotch on the rocks but if I did, I’d go with a tumbler. It’s the only glass where ice “feels” right and there isn’t much of a design here to accentuate any particular aspect of the scotch. I don’t think you lose anything from drinking scotch neat from a tumbler, the other designs just accentuate something that’s already there that you are getting anyway.
Buy Ravenscroft Crystal 10-1/2-Ounce Classic Double Old-Fashioned Glass, Set of (pictured)
The Glencairn, the Riedel, the Copita and the Tumbler are the classics when you think about whisky glassware. There are, however, a million other types of glassware and any one that holds a spirit you could sip near (brandy, bourbon, tequila, etc.) will have properties that make it suitable for drinking scotch.
There are also fun rocking glasses, like these Normann Copenhagen Liqueur Glasses. Rocking (or swirling) glasses can be fun but they always make me nervous, so my case just has the classics.
Susquehanna Glass Brandy Snifter Glasses, 12-Ounce, Set of (pictured)
Ideal for your favourite cocktails and other mixed drinks, this handmade highball with its intricate star-like pattern perfect for social sittings and making any drink feel decadent. It is designed to be perfectly stacked with other highball glasses in the range to save space. And it’s handmade from soda glass which offers a unique and distinguished finish. This also means that it is suitable for use in the dishwasher.
How we picked and tested
There are plenty of product roundups but we found no pre-existing research on the best qualities of the humble drinking glass, so we did two things: We researched the materials glasses are made out of, and we called up an expert glassblower.
Zachary Rudolph, an instructor at the Bay Area Glass Institute, told us a great glass “can’t be too wide because you want to be able to get your hand around it. It should feel nice in your hand. It shouldn’t be too heavy and when you bring it to your mouth to drink, your lips should just fit right around the rim, and it shouldn’t get in the way of your nose. You also want a nice thick bottom so when you set it down it’s not going to slide off the table.” Many of us have probably seen a lightweight glass hydroplane across a wet table, so this makes sense.
Through research we also decided that a perfect all-purpose drinking vessel should be made of tempered glass, a process that heats and cools the glassware in a way that makes it more durable and break-resistant (read more about that here). And when it does break, it does so in a less dangerous manner than untreated glass, crumbling into dull bits (relatively speaking – it’s still glass), as opposed to shards. This is what a kitchen needs!
We narrowed down the field with these criteria and ruled out restaurant options, like these Anchor Hocking glasses, because no matter where you look for them they’re only available in packs of 32.
A thin-walled, thick-bottomed Schott Zwiesel bar glass was heavy enough to shatter a stone tile.
Duralex is the heritage brand; they’re the Pendleton, Filson, or Heath Ceramics of glassware.
Our favorite all-purpose glass is the Duralex Picardie because using it feels great. But it also has less abstract qualities that make it ideal tableware—it’s made of shatter-resistant tempered glass, it’s lightweight enough that lifting it isn’t a chore, it stacks in cabinets, and it fits in the dishwasher. In the pantheon of drinking vessels, Duralex is the heritage brand; they’re the Pendleton, Filson, or Heath Ceramics of glassware. They also happen to perform better than anything else out there.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Glass can still break. After all, it’s glass. The fact that we can drop it, heat it, chill it, bump it, topple it, jam it in the dishwasher, toast with it, chuck it in cabinets, and pound it onto a table over and over again for years is kind of an everyday miracle.
The Bormioli Rocco Rock Bar glasses survived all but the most extreme of our drop tests and they are lightweight, dishwasher-safe, and extremely compact when stacked. In fact, they were our former top pick, but over time we’ve come to notice how important the extra attention to detail is on the Picardie.
You can verify your purchase by checking for the logo on the bottom.
Of the four glasses that survived the most extreme drop, two of them were from Bormioli. So if you have finished concrete floors in your house and bump this off a table, there’s a good chance it’ll survive.
The Bormioli Rocco Rock Bar glass hitting concrete from 4inches up.
Care and maintenance
Though we stress-tested our glasses, tempered glass isn’t meant to withstand extreme hot/cold temperature changes, so try to avoid abusing glasses that way. Porcelain and stoneware are better at handling hot liquids, so put your daily cup of coffee in those.
About Plastics and Plastic Care, Clearlyacrylic
The Cocktail Glass
Although people might argue about the extent a glass has on cocktail or spirit taste, there’s no denying that beautiful glassware tends to be perceived as being higher quality. Many glasses, like the martini glass, are classic and have been used with certain cocktails for decades. Others, like the more recent NEAT glass, are designed to accentuate the aromas of spirits.
In order to promote a well-rounded drinking experience, you should try to stock your bar with a number of these glasses. Specific glassware will show your patrons that you’re serious about the art of alcohol. Also, because many customers probably don’t have individual glass pairings at home, they’ll remember that special experience they had drinking a nice Irish Coffee out of an authentic Irish Coffee glass at your bar.
This class is also called the Old Fashioned glass, the Rocks glass, or the Tumbler. Unlike a mixing glass, this short glass is designed so you can build the cocktail inside the glass it’s being served in. The Lowball glass has a thick base to allow ingredients to be muddled in the glass before the spirit is added. Its rim wide brim lets the drinker appreciate the drink’s aroma and the shape allows the drink to warm slowly, discretely changing the flavor profile. Avoid using this glass for vodka drinks because vodka is best cold.
Typically, this glass is used for smaller, higher-proof pours like hard spirit-based cocktails that have a limited amount of mix or straight spirits with ice (on the rocks). Originally, this glass held two ounces but now there are usually two sizes for a broader cocktail application. Now a standard Low Ball glass holds about 6-ounces and a double holds 12-16.
A Highball glass, also called the Collins glass or the Delmonico glass, is taller than an Old Fashioned glass. Each name is used to describe a variation of the basic shape: the Highball glass is shorter and wider, the Collins glass is straight and narrow, and the Delmonico is the shortest and somewhat flared. Traditionally, each glass variation is used for a different type of cocktail: the gin fizz going in a Highball, a Tom Collins in a Collins glass, and a Rickey going in a Delmonico glass. Although some mixologists abide by these rules, the important thing to note is tall and narrow shaped glasses are better for keeping a drink cold and carbonated because of the limited surface area.
The Highball glass is best used for serving highball cocktails, a family of mixed drinks that are made with an alcoholic base spirit and a larger portion of non-alcoholic mixer such as a Rum & Coke or a Gin & Tonic.
This type of glass is for customers who want to take a shot (have a drink in one sip). Usually this drink is simply a single liquor or spirit or for a small extra strength cocktail. Shot glasses come in a variety of shapes and sizes like basic, short, tall, and fluted. You can stock your bar with any variation of these.
A Cosmo glass has an elegant look. It resembles a martini glass but instead of a stem, it has a foot. This glass is great for Cosmopolitans (obviously) and a variety of other cocktails. The tapered design showcases the colors of the cocktail and draws the flavors and aromas to the top.
This glass is usually used for aged brown spirits such as whiskey, brandy, and fine rums. It has a very short stem so the drinker’s hand will slowly warm the drink and a large bowl so the drink can be swirled. The mouth is shorter so the aromas are trapped, allowing the drinker to enjoy a more intense smell as they sip.
This glass was developed by New Orleans tavern owner Pat O’Brien in the 1940s and named after its hurricane, lamp-like shape. It’s used for a variety of drinks, specifically for tropical cocktails. The glass has a curvy and tall shape made up of a tulip-shaped bowl and a bulbous base. It also features a short stem and a small foot. This glass was originally used for the Hurricane Cocktail, a rum-based cocktail, but it is also used for cocktails like the Blue Hawaii and the Pina Colada.
Moscow Mule Mug
The Moscow Mule has been served in a copper mug since it first appeared in the the 1940s. The metal quickly takes on the cold temperature of the drink, offering a cooler sensation to the drinker. The copper and the mug handle help to keep the drink cold for a long period of time and the material is also great at deflecting the heat from the sun.
As far as the taste, the copper mug helps to enhance the individual flavors of the vodka, ginger beer, and lime. When the drink is poured, the copper begins to oxidize and slightly boosts the aroma and taste of vodka, the lime juice’s acidity is reduced and its tangy citrus notes are heightened, and the ginger beer becomes more bubbly.
This glass is pretty much a shorter version of a wine glass. It’s used for drinks with a base spirit, a sweetener, lemon or lime juice, and traditionally egg white like a Whiskey Sour or an Amaretto Sour. The glass has a thick stem to provide stability and a narrow top to boost and intensify drink aromas.
Considered to be an elegant glass, the cordial resembles a wine glass but it’s more delicate, thinner, and holds less alcohol. usually the cordial is used for after-dinner liqueurs or for cocktails at events. Cordials are small because they are meant to be sipped from slowly. They have large bowls that allow you to swish the liquid around to release the flavor and aroma.
These glasses can be used for any purpose, but you can choose to use smaller glasses for water than you use for other beverages because a lot of guests use water to supplement their beverages, not act as their primary beverage. These glasses range from 5-1oz.
These glass mugs can be used to hold any type of warm or iced beverage such as coffee, tea, or cider. In a bar setting, they are often used to serve Irish coffee because the glass mug keeps the beverage warm while adding a decorative touch to the drink.
Beer Mugs & Steins
These heavy, thick mugs are designed to hold beer without breakage. They have sturdy handles for easier lifting. Beer steins are a special kind of beer mug that originated in Germany. A stein is much like a beer mug but includes a thumb rest or a lid.
Some glasses are specifically designed to hold pints of beer or pilsner and lager beers. Pilsner glasses are flared with the top being wider than the bottom. Pint glasses are perfect for holding water, soda, or beers and ciders from the tap.
Red Wine Glasses
Red wine glasses are designed to have a larger rim so that the person drinking the wine can smell the aroma while sipping the wine. Stemless wine glasses can also be used for red wines because the wine is served at room temperature and will not quickly grow warm in the guest’s hand.
These glasses are usually fluted with a tall and narrow bowl for holding champagne. The small opening helps keep the carbonation inside of the glass longer so that it keeps the drink from going flat. These glasses are great for holding mimosas and other cocktails as well as champagne.
Tea strainers resemble small sieves and are used for straining tea that has been made with loose tea leaves. Tea bag tongs are small flat tongs used for squeezing and removing teabags from your cup.
Coffee filters are used when brewing coffee. Fresh coffee grounds are placed in the filter and hot water is poured on top. The filter allows the brewed coffee to seep through whilst the grounds remain in the filter. Some filters are available for individual cups of coffee, sitting in or on top of a cup.
Stencils and Shakers
Stencils and shakers are used for creating delicate patterns on top of your coffee foam with cocoa powder. These patterns can be seasonal like snowflakes or general like leaf patterns. The shaker is a tin with a perforated lid that you put the cocoa powder in. A quick shake of the tin over the stencil will create the desired pattern.
Bottle openers come in variety of designs and methods and are used for removing corks from wine bottles and crown tops from beer bottles. Popular styles of corkscrew include the winged corkscrew and the waiter’s friend – these require some effort from the user to remove the cork. Lever openers, ‘just turn’ models and electric corkscrews require less effort but are generally more expensive to buy. Models like the waiter’s friend and winged corkscrew also incorporate a crown top opener into the design. A foil cutter is used for removing the foil that covers the tops of wine bottles. Again this is incorporated into some types of corkscrew.
Bottle coolers are available in a variety of designs. The most commonly used coolers are double walled buckets that can be chilled before use, or buckets that can contain ice. Other coolers include neoprene sleeves that act like wet suits and maintain the temperature of the bottle for as long as possible. These sleeves are great for outdoor dining like picnics and barbecues as they are compact, light and small to store and pack.
French Press Cafetiere
This type of cafetiere is best described as being a jug with a filter and a plunger. Coffee grounds are placed in the bottom of the jug and hot water is poured on top. The plunger and circular filter is placed on top of the coffee and after a few minutes of brewing, the plunger is pressed down slowly until the filter reaches the bottom. This process traps the loose coffee under the filter leaving you free to enjoy the freshly pressed coffee.
Due to wear and tear over time, the mesh filter of the cafetiere will occasionally need to be replaced. Replacement filters are available, either on their own, or as part of a three piece set that includes the upper and lower discs that the mesh sit between. The upper disc incorporates a spring coil around the edge which creates resistance when you are plunging the filter.
Pour Over Coffee Maker
The pour over coffee maker is an alternative way of preparing fresh coffee, the filter cup sits on the top of the round jug with the ground beans inside, pour over hot water and allow the fresh coffee to drip down. The fresh coffee can now be poured straight from this.
These jugs are designed to hold a large amount of liquid like hot water, tea or coffee. The generous size is ideal for catering for several people at functions. The jugs will be double-walled with a vacuum in between to keep hot contents warm and cold contents cool.
These glasses, some with handles, are mostly used for espressos and coffees. The double walled space keeps the coffee hotter for longer whilst keeping the outside cool to the touch. Double walled glasses are very stylish too and look great as part of your daily coffee ritual.
Champagne glasses range from saucers to flutes and are a top attraction at any celebration. Champagne saucers are wide, shallow and curved glasses sat on the top of long tall stems, they always look great for serving to guests. Champagne saucers can be stacked to create a fountain, from the top Champagne is poured until it flows all the way down to the bottom until all the glasses are filled. A star attraction. Other Champagne glasses include flutes which are long tall and thin.
Shot glasses are just as they sound, a small cylindrical glass just about big enough for one shot. These shots are mainly associated with tequila and vodka. Shot glasses can also be used for creating chilled recipes like alcoholic jello shots or an appetiser called amuse bouche and can be a great way of serving a chilled dessert as they can be styled and served in a culinary fashion.
An electric grinder is used for grinding fresh coffee beans into a fine powder for use in a coffee filter, cafetiere or a machine. An electric grinder will use a stainless steel blade that will spin at a precise RPM to finely grid the beans into aromatic freshly ground coffee. A viewing window will allow you to determine how course or fine you want your coffee.
A manual coffee grinder is similar and sometimes referred to as a mill. The manual turn handle to grind the coffee is normally on the top, the beans will be poured in and the grinding mechanism will be operated by the handle. This allows the grade and size of ground coffee to be more controlled. The manual grinder will have a drawer or collection tray at the base called a hopper.
An Infuser is a small perforated object used for loose tea, the infuser is filled with the tea and submerged into hot water to infuse the tea flavour into the water. The design of the infuser can be a round ball, egg shaped or a novelty design such as an animal or a fish.
A water infuser is used for flavouring water with fresh fruit. A removable chamber can be filled with fruit which will infuse the water giving you naturally flavoured fruit water.
A handheld frother is used for thickening and frothing milk, it can also be used for frothing hot chocolate and coffee. The handheld frother is motorised and spins the mini frother on the end very fast to whip up the milk for the top of hot drinks or for a smooth hot chocolate.
A frothing jug is perfect for using to froth your milk in due to its wide pouring spout. This makes it easier to pour as the milk will be thick and you will have more control over this. Some frothing jugs come with their own frother as part of the lid. As the plunger is pushed manually, the attached whisk at the bottom will spin to create the froth.
The stove top kettle is used for boiling water on a hob. Traditionally this is how water was boiled for tea, coffee and even for washing before the days of the electric kettle. The kettle is filled with fresh water and placed on the stove. When the water is boiled the kettle will whistle through a steam vent or flap to indicate this. These kettles are suitable for all hobs but some may exclude induction due to the material it is made from, always check manufacturer’s recommendations.
Storage pots for tea, coffee and sugar come in a range of styles and material to fit in with the theme of your kitchen. The storage jars should have a secure and sealed lid to keep moisture out.
A teapot is used for brewing tea, either using tea bags or loose tea (you’ll need a tea strainer to catch the loose leaves when pouring). Teapots are generally sized by the amount of cups it can make – ranging from one cup up to 1cups. Larger teapots used for catering and events will be sized in litres.
A tea press is similar to a coffee cafetiere in that the tea, either bags or leaves, are put inside a central filter and left to steep. The plunger is pressed to push the tea to the bottom of the filter, locking the tea away and allowing the tea to be poured. These tea presses are more commonly used for tea leaves or herbs but tea bags can also be used in the press.
A travel mug is used for carrying coffee or tea to drink on the go. These mugs are generally tall and are insulated or double walled to keep your drinks warm. The travel mug will have some form of drinking spout and many have some form of stopper to prevent spillages. Care should be taken as although travel mugs might be spill-proof they may still leak hot liquids if not kept upright.
A travel press is a cafetiere that you can use on the go. The tall insulated mug in addition to the leak proof lid and drinking spout also contains a plunger for steeping a pressing of your fresh coffee and tea. The fresh pressed drink can then be consumed straight from the mug.
A mug cafetiere is a large insulated mug with a filter and a plunger. This allows the use of fresh coffee or tea to be added to the bottom of the mug. After the water has been added and allowed time to steep, the plunger with the filter on is then pressed down and the coffee grounds or tea leaves are pressed to the bottom of the mug. The plunger itself embeds into the handle so that it is no longer visible or in the way when drinking.
Some drinkware items are designed to be stacked together, but do so with care not to scratch off any patterned or coloured areas. Delicate items like china and glass should be handled carefully and not stored with other heavy or sharp items that could damage or break them. Bulkier items should be stored separately and not stacked where they could damage other smaller delicate items.
Our Bluetooth speaker pick
This all-in-one speaker offers a wide sound stage, with clear, crisp highs and midrange audio and hearty, booming bass, no matter where you set it up in a room or from which angle you listen to it.
Using a smallish Bluetooth speaker allows you to have a dance party in any room and cede control of the decks to your friends with Bluetooth-enabled devices. Our favorite home Bluetooth speaker is the Peachtree Audio Deepblue2.
It’s the one speaker we tested that everyone on our blind-listening panel agreed sounded great—and once the blindfolds came off, that everyone agreed looked good. A Bluetooth speaker won’t be as powerful or rich as a stereo system, but in our tests the Deepbluedelivered full, big sound for the wide variety of music styles we tried. For the price, nothing else can touch it—this model sounds at least 80 percent as good as our upgrade pick, the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless, a speaker that sells for hundreds of dollars more.
If you’re interested in filling a much bigger space—or the whole house—you should get our favorite whole-home audio system instead. Or if you’d rather have something that you can move from room to room, and you’re willing to give up a bit of sound quality, get the Riva Turbo X, which is the upgrade pick in our portable speaker guide. —Ganda Suthivarakom
Rule the ambience for guests in every room of the house (no matter how big your palace is) with a whole-home wireless music system. We’ve spent hundreds of hours over several months using six whole-home wireless music systems in every possible room and Sonos is still the best around because it’s super easy to use and set up, and has excellent sound quality for the price.
The best part about a wireless home music system compared with a series of Bluetooth speakers is that it connects directly to the Internet instead of relying on your phone or computer. Just select the music you want to play and the machine will do the rest, freeing up your phone to do other stuff—with no notification sounds or ringtones to interrupt playback. And you can play different music in different rooms, or group them together, all while maintaining independent volume control on each unit. —GS
A good selection of candles can make or break a party’s atmosphere. In a new round of testing this fall, we looked at dozens of candles online and spent several hours on research to determine our top picks.
You can find four main styles of candles: tapers, which are tall and skinny, and stand in candlesticks; pillar candles, which are squat (usually at least to inches in diameter) and come in a variety of heights; votives, which measure about inches tall and inch wide, and go in votive holders; and tea lights, small candles in metal cups that traditionally serve to warm teapots but also make great accent lighting.
For all the candles we tested, we looked for four main things: no dripping (which can ruin candleholders or tablecloths), very little smoke or none at all, no scent to interfere with food on the table, and the length of burn time. (set of three)
With an impressively long burn time of about seven hours, Richland’s Tealight Candles Extended Burn (available in a pack of 100) are our pick. These tea lights gave off the least amount of smoke compared with IKEA Glimma unscented tea lights (sold in a pack of 100) and Waxations Superior Quality Unscented Tea Light Candles (available in a pack of 125). In our test, the IKEA candles burned for only five hours, and their wax turned an unattractive yellow color. The Waxations tea lights had the shortest burn time of four hours and gave off a lot of smoke when extinguished. —Jamie Wiebe, Michael Sullivan
Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic
In an age when most people experience photos only as pixels on their phones, nothing draws attention at a party like the tactile, retro charm of an instant camera. Our pick for an instant camera is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic. Its film is widely available, and the pocket-sized prints make for excellent keepsakes with more-accurate colors and finer detail than its competitors can produce, all in a compact and durable retro design. —GS
The Duralex Picardie survived an 8-foot fall off a roof onto a linoleum floor. It stacks neatly, too, and it costs only a few dollars per glass. (set of six)
After 2hours of research including drop tests onto tile and concrete, plus years of long-term testing, we couldn’t resist picking the Picardie tumbler from French manufacturer Duralex as our favorite drinking glass. While they look elegant enough for the dinner table, they’re versatile enough to sit stacked up on the bar for use as wine or cocktail glasses. You’ll spot these glasses at Paris bistros and Middle Eastern tea shops, making everything from espresso shots to bordeaux look good. During our temperature stress tests, the Picardie tumbler’s tempered glass withstood freezing temps and boiling water, so it’ll work for both hot apple cider and ice water. When we flung the tumblers off an 8-foot roof onto a linoleum floor, they didn’t break, and because they stack well they’re easy to store once your dinner is over.
The 10⅞-ounce size is ideal for smaller portions of juice or warm punch and comes in boxes of six. For water or for tall coolers like iced tea and lemonade, the 16⅞-ounce tumbler (box of six) is big enough to hold your drink and lots of ice, too.
Our champagne glass pick
The Viv doesn’t have the characteristics that make higher-end flutes better than others, namely tulip-shaped bowls, effervescence points, and leaded crystal. For fine dining or an intimate occasion, our favorite high-quality Champagne flute is the Riedel Vinum Cuvee Prestige, and you can read about it in our full-length guide.
The Libbey Signature Kentfield Estate All-Purpose Glass is ideal for casual drinking and entertaining. Photo: Michael Hession
The best wine glass for hosting parties is the durable Libbey Signature Kentfield Estate All-Purpose Wine Glass. This inexpensive, tulip-shaped glass ranked among the top stemware chosen by our experts in our blind taste test. It stood out for showcasing the aromas of both red and white wines well. It’s nicely balanced with a thin lip that doesn’t distract from enjoyment of the overall drinking experience. The Libbey glass has a classic look that makes it appropriate for daily use, or for more formal occasions such as dinners and cocktail parties. It’s also dishwasher-safe, and since it’s so affordably priced, you won’t be heartbroken if one breaks.
If you’re seeking something more elegant to create a polished and formal feel for your dinner table, check out our full-length wine glass guide. —MS for a set of 3
When it comes to having a pitcher of water on the table, we found that simple and cheap is the way to go. The Weck Juice Jar is economical, sturdy, and comfortable to hold. It has a small footprint, and the classic shape blends in well on most dining tables. It comes with a loose-fitting glass lid that’s a little impractical for day-to-day use, but thankfully you can purchase a plastic snap-on lid if you require airtight storage in the refrigerator. Even with the extra lid, though, we can’t recommend storing this jar on its side in case your fridge has limited shelf clearance. —Lesley Stockton
If you want a cobbler shaker
This all-in-one shaker and strainer will be easier to use for novice mixologists. It has less of a tendency to leak than other cobbler-style shakers, and it feels more solidly built.
If you want an all-in-one option, we also like the Usagi Cobbler Shaker. Cobbler-style shakers, which separate into three pieces (a canister, a lid with a strainer, and a cap to cover the holes), are sometimes easier for beginners but generally prone to leaking. The Usagi is the only cobbler shaker we’ve found that doesn’t: In our tests, all three parts remained snug during shaking, yet the parts weren’t so tight as to make breaking the seal difficult. We also appreciate that the Usagi shaker has a little ergonomic indentation in the cap where you can put your index finger while shaking. For those who care, this shaker also looks nice and classic. —Christine Cyr Clisset
For larger parties, grab big bags of ice from the supermarket or gas station and then separate the ice into two groups: ice that cools your beverages (and won’t be consumed) and clean ice meant for drinks. The clean ice needs its own container—nobody should have to stick a hand in the cooler to grab ice meant for chilling dirty off-the-shelf cans of beer.
After 20 hours of watching ice melt, we can say that our favorite ice bucket is the Oggi Stainless Steel Ice Bucket. Double-walled for insulation, this shiny, stainless model has a removable lid, a 3-quart capacity, and an included pair of tongs. In our tests, it didn’t sweat at all on the outside, keeping stacks of napkins and tablecloths dry.—EO
Stocking a bar is a matter of personal taste: It’s your party, so buy what you prefer. As long as you’re offering something to drink, your guests will be happy to linger. But if you need to stock up from scratch and want suggestions for basic, crowd-pleasing bottles of liquor that are good for most cocktails but won’t blow your budget, we narrowed the field down to seven selections. How much booze should you buy? The best advice is to buy plenty. Martha Stewart also has a helpful party calculator to determine how much to buy.
After speaking to eight celebrated bartenders, researching what the entertaining experts had to say, and cross-referencing their responses, we recommend the following.
Vodka: Absolut. Dale DeGroff, formerly of the Rainbow Room, told us, “If you want something a little more viscous, with a little more flavor, we’re talking pastry flavor, you get the malty, grainy: Absolut.”
Gin: Tanqueray. Chad Solomon of beverage consultancy Cuffs & Buttons called Tanqueray a “Rolls-Royce–quality” gin.
Dry vermouth: Dolin. Solomon and John deBary of Momofuku both picked Dolin for dry vermouth, a key ingredient in martinis.
Bourbon: Wild Turkey. “Right there in the heart, at 10proof, is Wild Turkey,” DeGroff said. “This man is the master.”
Whisky: The Famous Grouse. Solomon gave points to The Famous Grouse whisky for being “more of a mixer than a sipper … it’s not overly sweetened and has a little bit of smoke to it.”
Rum: Bacardi Superior. For white rum, DeGroff told us, “obviously Bacardi.”
Different cocktails (or straight sipping) may be better suited to different bottles. You know your friends, so pick and choose the alcohol you think they’ll enjoy most. —Nick Guy
Our sparkling wine pick
It’s bready and complex, and it smells like burnt sugar. People recommend Gruet to us all the time, even when we’re not asking.
Real Champagne is expensive and not commonly bought by the case. Luckily, you have much to choose from beyond the French stuff these days, and if you’re having a celebration and you don’t want to go broke, we recommend Gruet Brut. This non-vintage sparkler from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is made in the French style by a family from Champagne.
To find a great bottle that’s available for purchase by the case, we first consulted “best of” lists from various sources, including Food & Wine, Good Housekeeping, Huffington Post, The Nest, Serious Eats, and Wine Enthusiast. Then we sought out the experts.
Chad Solomon, a Milk & Honey bar alumnus and partner of beverage consultancy Cuffs & Buttons, told us, “It’s quite lovely to sip on.” Michael McCaulley, wine director and partner of Philadelphia’s Tria bar-cafe, said, “It’s toastier, it’s bready, it’s complex, it’s awesome with luscious cheese.” It’s also widely available across the US, including at online shops such as Astor Wines & Spirits.
Again and again, our sources listed Gruet Brut as one of their favorites, even without our mentioning it. Just to make sure, we pitted it against the Wine Enthusiast–approved Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut, which pops up on top sparkler lists, as well as against the similarly well-received Segura Viudas Aria Brut Cava, yet in taste tests the Gruet was the clear favorite.—NG
Our utensils pick
Sturdy, disposable cutlery is hard to find, but Kirkland’s plastic stuff fills the bill and won’t break on you.
In our tine-to-tine face-off of three plastic utensil sets, the clear winner was Kirkland Signature Crystal Clear Cutlery. These utensils won’t break on you mid-meal unless you’re dining with the Hulk, and they come in a huge quantity for cheap, so one box (which can be even cheaper in-store at Costco) should last you through quite a few dinner parties, bake-offs, and picnics. The 360-piece set comes in real-world proportions of 180 forks, 120 spoons, and 60 knives.
Our slow cooker pick
With a slow cooker you can put a roast with mouthwatering, braised flavor on the table without spending all day tending to it. Plus, preparing your main dish in an independent appliance can help free up valuable oven and stove space.
We considered many slow-cooker models across the budget range and couldn’t find the perfect one—most of them run too hot. After 5hours of research and testing, we decided that our pick is the slightly fancier but still affordable Hamilton Beach 6-quart Programmable Set & Forget, which is large enough to hold a 4-pound brisket. The built-in meat probe seems gimmicky, but slow-cooker expert Phyllis Pellman Good told us that it’s a useful feature. Keep in mind, though, that the short probe may not be long enough to reach into the front cut of every brisket.
If your brisket has gone eight hours and hasn’t reached optimal melt-in-your-mouth texture, keep cooking it on low for a few more hours. The writer behind Smitten Kitchen, a big fan of slow-cooker brisket, lets hers go for 10.
Is a roast too formal or hearty for your soirée? Slow cookers set on low are also the perfect serving vehicle for hors d’oeuvres like glazed meatballs, crowd-pleasing dips, mulled wine, and even decadent desserts. —Camille Chatterjee
Ready-made puff pastry offers an easy and sophisticated option for entertaining. It’s a great staple to keep on hand for making fancy-looking desserts, special entrées like beef Wellington, and even breakfast pastries. Using puff pastry is also one of the best ways to make tasty, impressive-looking appetizers with the bare minimum of effort.
Most people don’t want to make puff pastry from scratch, as it’s a labor-intensive process. The store-bought variety can be a real time-saver, especially when you’re prepping for a gathering, and we found Trader Joe’s Puff Pastry Dough to be the best you can buy.
As the name suggests, puff pastry puffs up as it bakes. The resulting pastry should have an airy, flaky texture. The flavor should be buttery and have a melt-in-your-mouth quality. Good ready-made puff pastry should be relatively easy to work with. Ready-made puff pastry dough usually comes in a sheet; it should roll out smoothly, without cracking where it was folded in the package. The dough should feel slightly moist but not wet, and no sections of the dough sheet should be dry or suffering the effects of freezer burn.
Generally you can find premade puff pastry dough in the freezer section of a grocery store, near the pie crust and phyllo dough. After testing Trader Joe’s dough against the high-end Dufour Classic Puff Pastry and the commonly available Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets, we found the Trader Joe’s brand to offer the best taste and the best value.
TJ’s puff pastry comes thinly rolled in parchment, which makes it easy to unroll and work with immediately. Although we like that the Dufour Classic dough is made with butter (which we could particularly taste in our apple tart), we also tasted the butter in the Trader Joe’s brand (which is created with a combination of butter and non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening made from palm oil). And at about a fourth of the price of the Dufour dough, Trader Joe’s puff pastry is a steal. It’s available only during the holidays, so if you like it, stock up; it should keep in a steady freezer for about six months. Otherwise, Dufour’s puff pastry is our offseason pick. —CCC
A toaster oven is a must for parties: It frees up oven space and heats up canapés without heating up your whole kitchen (which is good if you have a lot of people congregated in your kitchen). For our best toaster oven guide, we spent over 5hours on research and went through stacks and stacks of toasted white bread, mini pizza bagels, and cookies. Our main pick is the Panasonic FlashXpress, which is smaller than most competitors and cheaper, too. For a party, however, we’d recommend a larger toaster that can function as an auxiliary oven, the Cuisinart TOB-260NChef’s Convection Toaster Oven. —Raphael Brion
For large parties, Husky’s bags will hold a lot of the garbage and recycling that piles up at the end of the night, and they’re extra-thick to ward off punctures.
Our pick for the best kitchen trash bag is the Glad Tall Kitchen Drawstring Bag, which works fine for a smaller dinner party. But as anyone who has had to clean up after an excellent party knows, a tremendous amount of garbage and recycling can pile up—especially if you’re using disposable flatware. For these situations, you’ll want a contractor bag.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Highball Glasses wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Highball Glasses
- №1 — JoyJolt Stella Lead Free Crystal Highball Glass 14.2-Ounce Barware Collins Tumbler Drinking Glasses For Water, Juice, Beer, And Cocktail Set Of 4
- №2 — Anchor Hocking Heavy Base Highball Drinking Glasses, 15 oz (Set of 12)
- №3 — Paksh Novelty Italian Highball Glasses [Set of 6] Clear Heavy Base Tall Bar Glass – Drinking Glasses for Water, Juice, Beer, Wine, Whiskey, and Cocktails | 13 Ounces