“See that bottle on the counter? Let’s pour ourselves a drink. I’ll go with the old-fashioned glass, and you can use my new whiskey glass.”
After hearing this particular story, you might have received one of two reactions: relief because you didn’t have to drink straight from the bottle; or nervousness because your partner suddenly declared they were not only taking over control of your drink selection but also how it was served.
We’ve all been there, but luckily there are many types of drinking glasses that work for different types of whiskey. And the best part about whiskey is that it’s an affordable, accessible spirit to try out at home.
What Makes A Whiskey Glass Special
A whiskey glass is designed to highlight the smells and flavors you perceive, and it does make a difference to the whiskey glass types you select. The shape of the mouth will highlight the vapors, creating aromatics that inform your palette and enhance your whiskey-drinking experience.
There are ten different types of whiskey glasses to choose from, each with its own style and benefit of use. The name for whiskey glass types are;
- Swirling Glass
- Vinum Single Malt
- Highball Glass
- Copita Glass
- Norlan Glass
- Glencairn Glass
- Rocks Glass
Each of these types of whiskey glasses presents different notes to your nose, creating different flavor profiles as a result. Whiskey glass sets will vary in size but have one thing in common, they are designed to highlight the scents and aromas of the whiskey, enhancing the flavor once you sip it.
Although it may seem like a daunting task to figure out which type of glass to use, whiskey enthusiasts have learned over time to balance the sweet, mellow flavors with the full-bodied characteristics of bourbons and other higher-proof liquors.
What follows are 10 types of whiskey glasses that can help you master the art of pouring a good drink.
Neat glasses are not only stylish but also double as a drinking tool.
The glass is etched with a diamond pattern and divided into six sections: three on the side and three on the bottom. The pattern is designed to hold 60 ml of liquid, ensuring none of it will spill out when you pour.
Where to use them: Neat glasses are made specifically for whiskey and pour quickly, which is perfect for cocktails such as the old-fashioned or whiskey sour.
Why they’re awesome: If you want to make sure none of your drink will spill out, then neat glass has you covered. It also comes with other perks that make this glass great for whiskey lovers.
- Tip #1: The NEAT glass helps ensure that your shot is perfect every time, be it a straight pour or a heavy-on-the-soda cocktail. Plus the design is attractive enough to display on your bar cart.
- Tip #2: If you want to be fancy, use the curved side of the NEAT glass for your drink with ice. The sides are designed to fit perfectly in the contour of your hands, so you can keep your drink cool while holding it.
This is one of my favorite whiskey glasses. It’s affordable and easy to use, plus it doesn’t have any obvious flaws. I use it for just about every whiskey and rye I drink, and in the future, I’ll probably try it with tequila and grappa.
This is the coolest glass, in my opinion.
If you want to give your whiskey a nice, full swirl to release the aromas, then you’ll want to choose a swirling glass. The glass is designed with a wide bottom and narrows toward the top for this specific purpose.
Where to use them: Swirling glasses are ideal for single malts or Japanese whiskeys that would benefit from some air time while drinking. They’re also used for other drinks like tequila, rum, and other spirits that should be swirled before drinking.
Why they’re awesome: The design of the glass allows the whiskey to develop its full flavor by allowing the liquid to breathe through the “neck” portion.
- Tip #1: Swirling glasses are even great for cocktails like mojitos and martinis, allowing them to release their aromas before drinking. If you plan on using your swirling glass for straight whiskey, then let it breathe in the freezer beforehand.
- Tip #2: Some whiskeys, like single malts and Japanese whiskeys, can be very strong and can easily overpower a glass. If you don’t want the strong whiskey to overpower your drink, wait for it to breathe in the freezer before using it.
If you’re a whiskey buff who loves the nuances of different single-malts or Japanese whiskey, then this is a must-have. Not only will it help your drink develop its aromas but also look stylish on any bar cart.
Vinum Single Malt
Sometimes you need a little bit of a kick, whether it’s a traditional whiskey or a more interesting spirit. If you want to try something wilder, then consider a single malt with a single malt glass.
Single malts, which are distilled from the grain of the barley and then aged for at least three years in oak barrels, can be more powerful than their counterparts. So if you’re looking for an extra kick in your drink, then single malt is for you.
Where to use them: Single malts are made for whiskey and other spirits that can take a pounding.
Why they’re awesome: These crazy-strong spirits have a smokey smooth taste that goes great with smokey meats. If you love whiskey, then single malt is perfect for you.
- Tip #1: Be careful when using a single malt because it can be very powerful, so drink in moderation. You might want to mix it with something milder, like Irish whiskey or bourbon.
- Tip #2: If you like your single malt neat and strong, be sure to choose a glass that can withstand the harsh drink. The NEAT glass will help you make the most of your single malt while keeping it cold and looking stylish.
This is one of my personal favorites when it comes to whiskey glasses. It has a nice, wide base and is tall enough to hold even the strongest drinks for several minutes without spilling over. It also looks great on any bar cart or table.
You can add a little touch of class with a highball glass. They’re simple and elegant glassware that holds just about any drink. If you’re looking for a way to get more whiskey into your drinks, then this is the glass for you.
A highball glass is tall and slender and its narrow shape allows the drinker to get every last drop of whiskey out. They’re designed with a small bowl in the bottom of the glass so every last drop stays in the beverage.
Where to use them: Highball glasses are best used for classic whiskey cocktails, like the old-fashioned or whiskey sour. They also come in handy if you’re serving other spirits that need shaking, like rum and tequila.
Why they’re awesome: The narrow shape provides a small amount of headspace, so every last drop is captured in the glass. Plus it’s easy to transport and will look great on your bar cart or tabletop.
- Tip #1: If you’re making whiskey cocktails, then a highball glass is the perfect option. Be sure to use a glass that fits safely into your hands and allows you to stir or shake without spilling out.
- Tip #2: If you want to make use of the small bowel, then be sure it’s large enough for your drink. The highball glass will help contain the liquid and prevent it from spilling over and onto your table and bar countertops.
The classic highball glass is great for any home bar and will work for almost any drink you make. If you like whiskey, then it’s a must-have. Not only does it look classy, but it also allows every last drop to stay in the glass.
I love a great cocktail at home as much as I enjoy a good whiskey. And one way to get the most flavor from your drink is by using a copita.
A copita is a small wooden cup specially designed for serving cocktails. Similar to a wine or champagne flute, the copita gives the drinker a very clear view of their drink without losing any of its subtle flavors.
Where to use them: Easy drinking whiskey and Japanese whiskey are the best way to go with copitas.
Why they’re awesome: The small cup allows you to see your drink without losing its flavor or aroma. Plus the wood will keep the liquor colder for longer, allowing you to savor every last drop. If you’re looking for maximum flavor in your whiskey, then copitas are for you.
Tip #1: If you plan on making whiskey cocktails, then you should consider purchasing a set of copitas. They’re easy to clean and will look great on your bar cart.
Trip #2: If you like to entertain at home, then copitas will help you make your whiskey cocktails look extravagant and delicious. They also make a great addition to any table setting.
The copita has a timeless design and will look great with any type of whiskey you pour in it. Plus it’s perfect for sipping and tasting the subtle flavors different whiskeys have to offer.
Another glass that looks great and adds a touch of class to your bar cart and table is the Norlan glass. They’re made of crystal and look like old-fashioned wine glasses, but they’re designed for whiskey.
They also come in a variety of colors, which you can keep on display in your home bar or use to add an extra touch to other drinks set out for guests. They’re perfect if you want something that has a traditional look but doesn’t hold too much liquid or provide too much headspace.
Where to use them: For whiskey cocktails, like the old-fashioned or whiskey sour, you’ll want to use a Norlan glass. They’re also great for drinks like Irish coffee or Manhattan that need shaking. Just make sure the headspace is suitable.
Why they’re awesome: The small amount of headspace allows you to slowly sip your drink without spilling over the edge. At the same time, it doesn’t give too much room for dilution either. If you like drinking whiskey in small amounts at a time, then this is the glass for you.
- Tip #1: If you want to present your whiskey in the ways mentioned above, then be sure to use a glass that’s made of crystal. It looks classy, yet it doesn’t hold too much whiskey or dilute the whiskey too much.
- Tip #2: If you’re at home and need something that works for something other than whiskey, then use a clear or clear/white glass to give your drink a little extra color. This will also help you keep track of how much liquor you’ve poured into each drink.
The Norlan glass is a classic way to serve whiskey and it’s the perfect glassware for any home bar. The crystal design lets you slowly sip your whiskey without spilling over the edge. It’s a great addition to any bar cart or tabletop.
If you like to experiment with your whiskey, then you’ll want to start using a Glencairn glass. It’s the official glassware for Loch Lomand whiskey and was designed by Glencairn Crystal who wanted to improve their tasting glasses.
The design is a classic way of serving whiskey and it’s perfect if you want something that holds a lot of liquor or if you’re going to be drinking a lot at the same time. They’re not the most elegant glasses, but they do have a lot of benefits.
Where to use them: If you want to present your whiskey in a new way, then a Glencairn glass is the best option. Not only does it hold a lot, but it also looks great in any setting you place it in. It’s perfect for drinking and serving Scotch and blends alike.
Why they’re awesome: If you like to be able to sip your whiskey for a long time, then this is the glass for you. The wide bowl gives you plenty of room to breathe and it’s easy to hold with both hands. It’s also great if you want something that looks stylish.
- Tip #1: Don’t let the large bowl deter you from using these glasses. If you want the extra space, then go ahead and use it in place of ice in your whiskey cocktail. Only fill the glass 1/4 of the way, so you have plenty of room to see your drink and taste it.
- Tip #2: If you want to add a touch of class to your bar cart, then let them do the tasting for you. Use them when entertaining guests and they’ll think you’re a pro at whiskey making when you go out of your way to serve in these glasses.
The Glencairn glass is a classic way to serve whiskey and it’s perfect for any home bar. Not only does it look great, but it keeps your drink cold and makes pouring whiskey a breeze.
My final recommendation for good whiskey glasses is the rocks glass. I love the look and feel of this kind of glass. They remind me of a classic wine glass, but they’re designed to hold liquor and whiskey like a highball or cocktail glass.
You can get these glasses in different colors and then get creative with how you place them on display in your home bar or on your table at any party. They’re also great for making cocktails, like the old-fashioned whiskey-making or Manhattan, which need shaking before serving.
Where to use them: For whiskey cocktails, like the old-fashioned or Manhattan, you should use a rocks glass. Plus they’re great for special occasions, especially if you have guests over.
Why they’re awesome: The slight curve lets you slowly sip your drink without losing any of its flavor or aroma. Plus the highball glass shape is ideal for whiskey cocktails because it reduces dilution and encourages headspace. If you want to make sure every last drop is enjoyed, then the rocks glass is great for making whiskey drinks.
- Tip #1: If you like whiskey on the rocks, then make sure you use a rocks glass. However, be mindful of how much ice you put in each glass. Too much ice can cause your drink to dilute sooner than expected, which means you’ll have to drink quickly without getting the full effect of the whiskey’s flavor.
- Tip #2: If you plan on making cocktails that require shaking, then grab a few rocks glasses and set them out with some cocktail mixers for your guests. This way, if they make a cocktail mistake, they can help clean it up.
The rocks glass is a good glass for any home bar and adds a touch of class to your collection of barware. They look great on display and provide a large amount of headspace for the drinker to enjoy every last drop.
The snifter glass is another great way to serve whiskey. It’s designed specifically for the cocktail, which always seems to be a bit more flavorful. Plus, these glasses are great for sipping whiskey or using it in mixed drinks. They’re also stylish and will look great on your bar cart or table setting.
Where to use them: For whiskey cocktails, like the old-fashioned or Manhattan, you should use a snifter glass. Plus they’re perfect for adding an extra touch of class to your home bar or serving guests.
Why they’re awesome: The rounded shape creates a great amount of headspace for the whiskey drinker. This allows the whiskey to expand and fill up the glass with its aroma. Plus, it has a neat little feature where if you swirl it slightly, it will cause the whiskey to spiral around inside the glass, which makes for a great presentation when serving guests.
- Tip #1: If you want your whiskey drink to be even more flavorful, then use a snifter glass for cocktails like old fashioneds or Manhattans. You’ll also get a better idea of how much you’re getting when you pour your drink. For instance, you’ll be able to see the size of the headspace without having to sip on it.
- Tip #2: If you’re serving guests at your home bar, then have the snifter glasses rest beside your whiskey bottles. This way guests can help themselves to a few drinks without having to move away from the table or bar area.
The snifter glass is a great way to serve whiskey and it’s the ideal glass for making cocktails from your favorite liquor. It’s a stylish addition to any bar cart or table setting and provides a large amount of headspace so you can enjoy your drink slowly over time.
Double-walled glasses are designed to keep your drink cool for longer, but they also help keep the frosty air out.
The glasses are made of two walls with an air space in between. The double walls act as insulation against the cold, keeping the whiskey inside colder for longer during the warmer months.
Where to use them: Double-walled glasses are ideal for high-proof liquors like whiskey and tequila. They can also be used with vodka and rum.
Why they’re awesome: If you’re into trying new things, then you’ll want to try some whiskey that’s not only full-bodied but also flavored with notes of spice. With a double-walled glass, the whiskey will stay hot longer to help mellow out the flavors.
- Tip #1: Avoid drinking straight from the double-walled glass. The air between the two walls keeps it cold longer than a standard drinking glass.
- Tip #2: If you’re not sure what the drink you’re about to imbibe is like, pour yourself a small glass of the whiskey and wait until it’s cooled down before adding anything else.
Try drinking whiskey straight out of the bottle if you want to put it in a glass. If you want to drink whiskey on the rocks or in a glass, go with double-walled.
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Whiskey Glasses FAQs
What is a whiskey glass called?
The most commonly named whiskey glass is called the Old Fashioned Glass or “rocks” glass, and lowball glasses are short tumbler types of glasses. The shape of the rocks glass is designed to be multifaceted, especially to muddle and stir ingredients, and to allow a large ice cube or two.
The glass is named after the Old-Fashioned and the typical Old-Fashioned recipe is both delicious and easy to make. It calls for whiskey, bitters, orange zest, sugar cube, and in some cases cherry with perhaps a splash of grenadine and served in a rocks glass. In some cases, a highball whiskey glass can be used if the Old-Fashioned is served over large ice–typically this is the type of glass used in bars and nightclubs.
Does the glass matter for whiskey?
Yes, the types of whiskey glasses you use to enjoy whiskey are essential as the shape and whiskey glass size will influence the aromas and smells before you take your first sip, enhancing the flavors of the whiskey. The shape of the mouth of the glass will sharpen and concentrate the vapors of the whiskey, making it a more enjoyable drink.
How much does a whiskey glass hold?
In general, a typical whiskey “neat” is about 2 ounces or the average sized shot glass in the United States. If you’re curious how many ounces in a whiskey glass, you can do a pour test. The pour test is simple; take a 2-ounce shot glass and practice free pouring into the 2-ounce glass or count a 4-count as you pour.
Do whiskey glasses make a difference?
The different types of glass you use and the type of mouth opening will create different aesthetics, especially with the aromas of whiskey. For example, a tulip shaped Glencairn glass or Waterfowl Double Old-Fashioned glasses will create different effects for the smell and taste of the whiskey. It’s essential to consider the type of whiskey you plan on drinking and pair it with the correct shape and mouth of the glass.
Also, the difference between cheap whiskey glasses and higher quality whiskey glasses can impact the aromas and temperature of the whiskey in the glass, creating less desirable flavors and notes.
What to do while drinking a glass of whiskey?
Typically, whiskey drinkers sip on their beverage, so activities of a slow, relaxing tempo are ideal. You can sip on whiskey and stream Netflix for your favorite shows, have a soothing nightcap before bed, or listen to your vinyl records and other forms of music, getting into the groove of the tunes while taking in the flavors and hues of various whiskeys.
If you’re wondering the best way to hold a whiskey glass, it’s best to hold it only while drinking, the exception would be stemmed whiskey glasses, you’d hold along the stem much like a cabernet glass for wine. Holding a whiskey glass by the mouth can warm the whiskey, creating different flavors than if left untouched.
When did whiskey glasses come out?
The song, Whiskey Glasses by Morgan Wallen was published in 2018 and soon became a touring favorite. Over time Morgan Wallen saw how the crowds would lighten up and become more and more energized by the song and quickly became a heavy favorite in his repertoire.
What’s the difference between whiskey and scotch glasses?
Whiskey is a beverage made from grain and malt, and scotch is a beverage made in Scotland with noticeable smoky flavors.
In essence, the drinks are the same, except for one distinction, scotch is a type of whiskey but not every whiskey is scotch. The distinction is that scotch whiskey is solely made in Scotland. As such, there are no differences in the types of glasses to enjoy whiskey or scotch.
Are whiskey and bourbon glasses the same?
Whiskey is grain alcohol made with corn. Bourbon is a variation of whiskey with strict ingredient lists, aged in oak barrels.
To be considered Bourbon, it must be manufactured in the United States, specifically Kentucky and Tennessee. There are small differences in the types of whiskey glasses to enjoy these beverages, but they are generally interchangeable.
Why do whiskey glasses have bumps on the bottom?
A whiskey glass’s predominant shape and design highlight the whiskey’s flavor profiles and aromas. To do this effectively, the shape of the glass is critical, including the thick bottom and bumps along the surface of the bottom of the glass. The wide, bumpy bases are to help minimize heat from surfaces and while being held, which can impact vapors and flavors.
How to Choose The Best Whiskey Glass
When selecting the best types of whiskey glasses for drinking, keep in mind that the shape of the body and mouth enhance specific notes, making for a more enjoyable beverage. The best whiskey snifter glasses are the tulip-shaped copita glass is considered the best glass to sip quality whiskey, but depending on if you’ll be enjoying the whiskey straight or as a cocktail does determine the type and shape of the glass.
There are plenty of whiskey glasses out there. From old-fashioned glasses to big stemmed cocktail glasses, you can find a great glass as long as you know what to look for.
However, the 4 best whiskey glasses out there are the snifter glass, the shot glass, the rocks glass, and the Glencairn. I’d recommend going with either a snifter or a rocks glass for your home bar and I recommend a Glencairn if you want to know how to make perfect whiskey drinks.
So there you have it! Ten glasses that can make you a whiskey expert. The best thing about choosing the right type of whiskey glass is that there isn’t really a wrong choice here. It depends on what your tastes are and what type of spirits you’re looking to focus on.