Whiskey Glasses Buying Guide
Long gone are the days of thinking a shot of whiskey at the end of the night will do you good. For true whiskey aficionados, choosing the best glass to drink whiskey at home takes a lot of thought. Having spent years drinking Irish whiskey in Ireland, having spent time touring scotch whisky distilleries in Scotland, and having drank many Old Fashioned’s I’ve learned a lot about what makes the best scotch glasses for every drinker.
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Buying Whiskey Glasses Online
This Whiskey Glasses Buying Guide will answer every question you have about how to buy whiskey glasses online. First, I walk through the various types of whiskey glasses there are as well as talk about the difference between whiskey, whisky, and bourbon. The goal here is to help people understand the difference between a whiskey tumbler, snifter, and tulip shaped glasses, among others.
Then, I offer recommendations for various whiskey glasses for each of these types of glasses. I also make recommendations for whiskey glass gift sets. Many of these glasses will make incredible gifts, either for whiskey connoisseurs or for budding whiskey lovers.
We recommend Amazon for purchasing most home wares and even gifts. Most of our recommended glasses are Amazon Prime, which means free and often super-fast delivery. Plus, they make returns really easy.
The Best Glass To Drink Whiskey
We include detailed descriptions for all of our recommended whiskey glasses below, but if you are short on time, use the the table below for our top pics. These are the best whiskey glasses to buy on Amazon.
Why Use A Whiskey Glass In The First Place
Until the last few years, I didn’t give much thought to what glass I used for drinking whiskey. I started with cheap whiskey shots in college, which is the gateway for many people. When I was a practicing attorney, I graduated to blended and single malt scotch and realized I needed a proper glass. At the time that meant a heavy whisky glass because I thought that meant quality.
It wasn’t until I started drinking whisky in Scotland, that I really started to learn more about what it means to truly enjoy a good whisky. This means making a decision as to whether to use ice. It also means finding a glass to let you smell, sip, and appreciate the quality of the beverage in your glass. This means not only drinking whiskey, but appreciating the quality, aroma, color, and flavor of what is inside the glass.Check out the Best Whisky Tasting Glasses on Amazon
Whiskey Versus Whisky Versus Bourbon
First, a little bit about nomenclature. Scotch is whisky that is produced in Scotland. Whiskey with an “e” is whiskey produced outside of Scotland, including Ireland. Whiskey with an “e” can also be used to refer to American whiskeys. Bourbon is produced in a similar fashion but is from the United States, generally from Kentucky.
Scotch whisky is produced from malted barley whereas bourbon is distilled from corn. In this post, I will use the word whiskey the most, unless I am referring to bourbon or scotch whisky in particular.Get Our Recommendations For The Best Whiskey Gifts
Whiskey Glass Types
We were once collectors of glasses. We owned all different types of wine glasses and cocktail glasses. If this is you, then scroll along the post and look for a pair of cool whiskey glasses that appeal to you. You’re done.
But if you are wondering how to choose a whisky glass based on your needs and how you drink whiskey, this guide will help. These are the things to consider when choosing a whiskey glass.
First, think about the shape of the glass. Whisky should have room to breathe and you should be able to dig your nose in to take in the aroma of the whisky. Nice whiskey glasses should look appealing as well, but don’t let looks overtake the structure or feel of the glass.
You want to ensure the glass makes the whiskey drinkable. Keeping this in mind, here are the most popular types of whiskey glasses you will see.
The Glencairn Whisky Glass – Snifter Glass
We came across the Glencairn whisky tasting glass when we started traveling to Scotland. I was familiar with the shape, but didn’t know the Glencairn name. Often known as the Glencairn nosing glass, it is short, solid, and made for drinking scotch whisky neat (without ice). It’s meant for being able to swirl whisky to open up the aromas of the whisky.
The Glencairn Crystal Ltd company in Scotland developed this glass. It’s the glass that is used for most tastings at the distilleries all over Scotland. This glass is the only one endorsed by the Scotch Whisky Association. It usually holds 6 ounces (175 ml) but is meant to hold 25-50 ml drams or 1.7-3.4 oz of scotch whisky. This is the perfect glass for a no nonsense scotch whisky drinker who respects tradition.
There are other snifter-style glasses that are not produced by Glencairn crystal glass company. Any short glass that is wider at the bottom than the top would also fall within this category. The wide bottom allows you to hold the glass and warm the whiskey, to release the aromas. They are really whiskey nosing glasses meant for serious tasting and enjoying quality scotch. They also bring up connotations of old men’s clubs where the powerful sat around drinking cognac or brandy.
How To Use Glencairn Scotch Glasses
- Drink whisky neat
- Most traditional Scotch drinking glasses
- Approved by the Scotch Whisky Association – making it almost an “official” whisky drinking glass
Tulip or Copita Glass
The copita nosing glass is a tulip shape and is based on the glass used to drink sherry in Andalusia, Spain. We see these a lot when in Andalusia as we live in Spain. It was once known as the dock glass because it was used by merchants to smell and taste wines dockside. Now, it is more often referred to as a copita nosing glass or tulip whiskey glass. Just for a little bit more nomenclature fun, copa is the Spanish word for glass and copita means a small glass.
Similar to the Glencairn glass, there is a narrow rim to concentrate the aromas. Even though there is a stem, you can cradle the whiskey in the palm of your hand to warm it to further release the aroma.
How To Use Tulip or Copita Whiskey Glasses
- Drink whisky neat
- Perfect for nosing
Whiskey Rocks Glass – Whiskey Tumbler Glasses – The Old Fashioned
This is definitely the most common scotch whiskey glasses and they were the first whiskey glasses we owned. I felt quite sophisticated using one when I was in law school. This glass has a wide rim making it easy to add ice to your drink, but it is not the best rim for nosing a whiskey. Because there is a wide, often heavy, base, it is perfect for muddling ingredients, which is why it is great for an Old Fashioned. They generally range from 6-12 ounces, making them significantly bigger than the Glencairn or the copita.
How To Use Whiskey Rocks Glasses
- Drink whiskey on the rocks
- Drink whiskey cocktails
- Prepare an Old Fashioned
The Highball Glass
This is a taller version of the tumbler and rocks glass. The shorter glasses are also known as lowball glasses, so it’s taller, lankier cousin is known as the highball. I wouldn’t put this in the category of a traditional whiskey glass mostly because it is mostly used for cocktails and scotch and soda. It leaves room for a lot of ice as well as a mixer, which is not needed to prepare a proper Old Fashioned.
The Norlan Whisky Tasting Glasses
These are almost like modern, designer whisky glasses. The Norlan Whisky glasses are double walled, and like the NEAT glasses, use science to create a proper drinking experience. We have these at our house in Ireland and Eric uses them all the time.
The Norlan Whisky glasses feature a hybrid double walled construction scientifically designed to reduce ethanol burn. Four built-in protrusion forms help dissipate ethanol more efficiently as the whisky is swirled. The protrusion forms have been scientifically designed to create what is known as a standing wave shape which increases the rate of oxidization in whisky. The increased oxidization opens the whisky’s aromas and flavors, making for a more enjoyable experience.
Only the Norlan Whisky glasses feature these protrusion forms. This innovative design comes from world renown Master Whiskey Distiller, Jim McEwan. In addition to providing an unmatched whisky drinking experience, the Norlan Whisky glasses are beautiful. They are elegant to hold thanks to their lightweight design. Sets are available in either clear glass or in a flat-black finish. Their faceted base reduces the number of fingerprints left on the bowl.
How To Use The Norlan Tasting Glass
- Drink whisky neat
- Perfect for people wanting a contemporary design with nosing functions
- Available in clear glass or brushed black
The NEAT Whiskey Glass
This is hardly a traditional whiskey glass. NEAT refers to Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology and is the perfect glass for the science-minded. The NEAT company claims to banish the burn by separating ethanol from the liquor due to its unique shape. With some whiskies reaching 60% or more in alcoholic content, this is not a bad idea.
I’m not a scientist myself, but apparently the neck of the glass captures the aromas while the alcohol burn or ethanol is trapped below the flare in the glass. Because it is a newer whiskey glass design, it can take some getting used to from a comfort perspective. It’s kind of like “where do I put my hands?”
How To Use The NEAT Whiskey Glass
- As it says in the name, to drink whiskey neat
- Perfect for newer whiskey drinkers because it alleviates the alcohol vapors
- Can also be used for rum, tequila, and other liquors
Check out the Science Behind The NEAT Whiskey Glass
Our Recommended “Best” Whiskey Glasses
So what is the best glass to drink whiskey? Keeping everything above in mind, it depends on how you intend to use your glass. Do you want a nosing glass for drinking single malts? A tumblr for enjoying Old Fashioned’s? Something super traditional or uber-contemporary? We cover all of this and more. In addition to the NEAT whisky glasses and Norlan whisky glasses already mentioned above, here are a variety of unique whiskey glasses perfect for any whiskey drinker.
Glencairn Scotch Glasses
Glencairn produces a few different types of glasses, even though they are known for their most traditional. Here are some of the options available:
- Classic Glasses: The Glencairn whisky glass set of two glasses is the most traditional. They also come in sets of 4 glasses, 6 glasses, and even 12 glasses.
- Gift Sets: If purchasing glasses as a gift, there are a variety of options that come in deluxe velvet gift boxes in sets of 2 glasses, 4 glasses, or 6 glasses.
- Travel Set: Glencairn also produces a tasting glass set that comes in a leather traveling case.
- Glencairn Cut Crystal Whisky Glass: Taking things up one notch in sophistication is the Glencairn cut crystal whisky glass. These cut glass whiskey glasses would be the perfect addition to any sophisticated home bar.
Glencairn Crystal Canadian Whiskey Glass
Glencairn is not just for scotch whisky, they also produce a version that is specifically intended for drinking Canadian whiskey. The Glencairn Crystal Canadian Whiskey Glass has a wider bowl to fully appreciate the rich color of Canadian whiskey. The solid base of the glass is meant to make it a little easier to hold onto.Buy The Glencairn Canadian Whiskey Glass on Amazon
Old Fashioned Whiskey Glasses
We have a little bit of an addiction to the Old Fashioned. It’s one of the best cocktails to show off the natural flavors of bourbon or whiskey. Although we’ve traditionally drank bourbon Old Fashioned’s, we recently found ourselves trying scotch whisky Old Fashioned while in Moray Speyside.
Regardless of whether bourbon or scotch whisky is used, the glass sort of makes the drink. We have several glasses in the running for the best Old Fashioned glass, where much of the decision needs to be made by the drinker. These all work well to make an Old Fashioned, or to serve whiskey or bourbon over ice. It all comes down to style.Check Out The Best Selling Old Fashoined Glasses Here
Tritan brand products resist brekasge, chipping, and scratching, and they are dishwasher safe. They are made of a lead-free blend of titanium and zirconium oxide. The Schott Zwiesel Tritan Old Fashioned Glass has a 9.6 ounce capacity with a heavy, rounded bottom perfect for whiskey cocktails.Buy Now
Taking things up a notch in the design department, the Venero Crystal Whiskey Glasses are made of lead-free crystal and come in a unique twisted design. These modern whiskey glasses are also functional, with thick sides and a thick base to prevent breakage and keep beverages cool.Buy Now
Sagaform Rocking Whiskey Tumbler Set
This is a unique style of whiskey tumblers unlike the Old Fashioned glasses above. The Sagaform Rocking Whiskey Tumbler Glasses have a unique, curved bottom that makes the glass rest at a perpetual angle. This is just a really cool look, but also allows the aroma for the whiskey to fill the glass without falling over or spilling. They are also made of a thick glass to prevent breakage. Comes in a pack of six scotch glassesBuy the Sagaform Rocking Tumbler Set on Amazon
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Whiskey Glass Buying Guide
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FAQs - Choosing the BEst Whisky Glasses
Glass is a generic word whereas crystal is a subcategory of glass. They are normally made in the same way. Traditionally crystal contained lead, that is why now you will see cocktail glasses and wine glasses sold as “lead-free crystal.”
It depends on whether you plan to drink your whiskey neat, where a smaller glass is sufficient. If you plan to use the glass to drink a whiskey cocktail or to drink whiskey over ice, the glass should be bigger. Larger whiskey glasses are normally between 7 and 12 ounces.
Great question. Traditional whiskey drinkers will say it is important to drink whiskey neat, without ice. Or, you can add a few drops of water to bring out the flavors. If you prefer whiskey with ice, try to use one or two really big ice cubes rather than smaller cubes. Smaller ice cubes will dilute the flavor too quickly.