Whiskey Glass Guide: How to Choose the Right Type of Glass

Even though there’s something special about taking a sip of whiskey from a flask while in the wild outdoors, nothing beats sitting down with your favorite bottle and pouring a perfect glass. Already from the sound of opening the bottle, you tell your body and mind, that it’s time to relax and unwind.

The whiskey glass guide intro

Choosing the right glass for your whiskey depends on what kind of whiskey you like and how you prefer to drink it. We are not here to tell you how – or judge what is right or wrong. In this article, we just want to guide you in the jungle of whiskey glasses and help you find the right glass that perfects your experience.

What kind of whiskey glasses exists?

In our list below, you’ll find all the standard and original types of glasses used for drinking whiskey. Please note, that in addition to these, many companies have designed their own versions with unique names to brand their products in connection with a certain drink.

  • The tulip/copita glass: middle-size glass with a broad middle and narrowing top (shaped like a tulip) on a stem
  • The whiskey tumbler: a flat-bottomed drinking glass that comes in many different sizes (note that the old fashioned/rocks/lowball glass is also a tumbler)
  • The highball glass: a bigger/taller version of the lowball/tumbler glass
  • The old fashioned/rocks/lowball glass: a middle to large-size glass with a wide brim and thick base.
  • The Glencairn glass: small tulip shaped glass with a short base instead of a stem. Designed in 2001 specifically for whiskey drinking.
  • The snifter glass: a short-stemmed glass with a wide bottom and narrow top (balloon-shaped)
  • The neat glass: middle-sized old fashioned/rocks/lowball glass specifically designed for drinking your whiskey neat – unmixed, without ice or chillers.
  • The shot/shooter glass: small (typical 2 oz.) glasses for drinking shots of whiskey
  • The cordial glass: very small and thin glass with stem – also known as “pony glass”

How to choose the right whiskey glass?

Just like whiskeys, glasses come in a variety of shapes and sizes. In addition to the type, you should also pay attention to the material (preferably lead-free crystal for the best clarity and brilliance) as well as the weight and feel in your hand. Below, we give you some overall guidance as to what kind of glass fits your preferred way of drinking whiskey:

  1. Neat: means drinking whiskey at room temperature without anything else in the glass
    Recommended glass: tulip/copita, Glencairn, snifter or neat glass – depending on the quality of your whiskey and your personal preference.
  2. With water: adding a small amount of distilled or spring water into the whiskey
    Recommended glass: tumbler and old fashioned/rocks/lowball glass that allows for adding water and still being able to swirl the whiskey
  3. On the rocks (chilled): means adding ice to the whiskey – either via whiskey stones or ice cubes depending on whether you want to water down your drink
    Recommended glass: larger versions of the tumbler and old fashioned/rocks/lowball glass (but; do ensure that the glass is fit for ice and whiskey stones as it might damage thinner ice or delicate decorations)

Cocktail-style: blending your (low- or mid-range) whiskey into a cocktail – e.g. Old Fashioned, Mint Julep, Manhattan or a Rob Roy

Recommended glass: highball or old fashioned/rocks/lowball glass depending on the volume of the cocktail. We’ve made it easy for you to find the perfect whiskey glass.

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