Did you ever feel like someone ruined your whiskey experience by using the wrong glass? Does that sound impossible and crazy for you? It certainly doesn’t for many whiskey-lovers.
And choosing the right glass to go with a whiskey can be more complicated than you think. There is a large variety of whiskey glasses on the market, from classic whiskey tumblers to snifters. And the whiskey experience can vary depending on the glass you choose. In this post, I’ll show you the most common types of whiskey glasses and when to use them.
Do whiskey glasses make a difference?
You may wonder how the choice of a whiskey glass possibly can make a difference to your drinking experience. But I promise you it can. Just like every quality spirit, whiskey needs space and temperature to unfold its full aroma. You need to be able to smell and taste the different nuances. The shape, structure, and design of a whiskey glass can support this a great deal. For instance, some glassware is designed to concentrate the vapor and pronounce the smell of the whiskey. Other designs take away harsh aromas of their content simply by their shape.
The different types of whiskey glasses
There’s an immense selection of glasses available, from clean and elegant tumblers to fancy art pieces. But regardless of the option you choose, make sure the whiskey has enough space to swill. Similar to good wine, it also needs to breathe to show its true aroma. But let’s move on to the different types of whiskey glasses.
The Tulip or Copita glass
This glass is derived from a traditional sherry sampling glass, the Copita glass. Also known as sherry glass, this small, stemmed glass is often used for tasting spirits of all kinds. These days, many whiskey lovers, master distillers, and blenders choose this kind of glass to taste whiskey.
Holding it at its stem will prevent your hand from being too close to your nose. And your hand could cause irritations and distort the true aroma of the whiskey. Further, the bowl of the copita glass is narrow and tall. That concentrates aromas and makes this glass a perfect choice for nosing whiskeys. If you’re looking for glassware that highlights the nuances of a single malt whiskey, go for a copita.
The Glencairn whiskey glass
This glass is solely used for whiskey tasting. Shape-wise, the Glencairn is quite similar to the copita. The main difference is the missing stem and the overall more robust appearance. The glass is shorter and thicker, making it ideal for sociable drinking without fearing to break it.
With its small size, the Glencairn makes the perfect glass for swirling your whiskey. That will unfold the aromas in the whiskey, which intensify due to the bowl shape.
Whiskey tumbler or Old fashioned glass
A tumbler is the most common whiskey glass you can find. In movies, when someone’s drinking a whiskey, a tumbler is shown. Whiskey in a tumbler usually is served on the rocks. This glass is definitely not for nosing a whiskey, but that is also not its purpose. Other types take care of this aspect. The wide rim allows you to put in an extra-large ice sphere or cube. And this is already the main advantage of this glass. It’s also commonly used for serving a classic whiskey sour or gin sour.
The Snifter Glass
Wide bottom, narrow top on a short stem – that’s how a snifter glass looks. Snifter glass, brandy bowl, or cognac glass, all these are terms for the same thing. By tasting whiskey in a snifter glass, you’re showing class. That is the kind of glassware you will see in high-class Gentlemen’s clubs, where guests sit on Chesterfield sofas and smoke Cuban cigars. It’s perfect for serving classy, aged, and dark spirits like whiskey, rum, brandy, or cognac. I suggest, get some of them for your home bar.
The NEAT glass
The neat glass is relatively new and offers a fascinating feature. The way this glass is shaped prevents harsh notes of alcohol from getting to your nose. In this context, “NEAT” is an abbreviation for: Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology. The way it works is that the shape of the glass lets lighter molecules out but keeps the heavier ones in the whiskey. It’s a fun way to drink whiskey. However, it takes some time to get used to due to its unconventional shape.
Why do whiskey glasses have thick bottoms?
There are multiple reasons why some types of whiskey glasses have a thick bottom. Besides the apparent effects on durability and stability, there are other reasons for this. One is that the bottom of a whiskey glass helps to maintain temperature.
Change of temperature can have enormous effects on the taste of a whiskey. Its aroma change is so significant that some people would never drink their whiskey on the rocks as they consider it a waste of money. But either way, no matter at what temperature you want to enjoy your whiskey, it is crucial to keep the temperature on the same level for as long as possible.
The second reason is more related to functionality in the early days of cocktails. When old fashioned cocktails were trending, the thick bottom was essential. It is perfect for muddling ingredients inside the glass. For instance, when you wanted to create an old fashioned, you muddled the sugar cube drenched in aromatic bitters before adding the spirit.