Whiskey glasses may vary greatly in size and shape, and all are designed to serve a distinct purpose. The way you prefer your whiskey cocktail, and how fast you plan on drinking it, all play a role in the type of glass you’ll want it served in.
Sometimes referred to as a highball, the whiskey tumbler is a straight, tall glass that can hold 8 or 10 ounce of fluid. This can be used to serve whiskey straight or on the rocks but it is best suited for mixed drinks like a whiskey and coke or even a Manhattan.
The lowball glass is the shorter version of a tumbler, and is known to most as a rocks glass. Since these only hold up to 4 ounces of liquid, they are ideal for straight drinks, with or without ice. They are also great for super sweet whiskey concoctions like a sour, since these are usually overwhelming when served in large doses.
A tulip glass has a unique shape that makes it often confused with a wine glass. The shape is rounded at the bottom, narrowing slightly before fluting out at the top. These are also known as Glencairn glasses and are tall for a cocktail glass. Scotch lovers prefer to drink from these because the unique shape allows them to savor the aroma and taste of their favorite blends.
A snifter glass has a similar shape to the tulip, but it is much shorter. It also does not have the fluted brim, but the bottom is substantially larger. The whiskey’s aroma will collect in the upper portion of the bowl, which in turn enhances the flavor as you sip it. A snifter adds a visual touch of class when you’re drinking a high end, single malt scotch.
Shot glasses are designed to hold only 1 or 2 ounces of whiskey, and are typically used when you want to down the drink quickly. Since the entire drink goes down in one swallow, the quality of the liquor can easily be masked. Most drinkers will have a “chaser” nearby to wash it down, like a cold beer or even a glass of wine. You can sip on whiskey in a shot glass, but that is basically defeating its purpose.
Choosing the right glass will depend heavily on the way you plan on drinking your whiskey, and the type that you want to indulge in. Whiskey connoisseurs will prefer a tulip or snifter that enhances the flavor, while those who are more concerned with effect over flavor should go with a shot glass. Tumblers and low balls are more flexible, and ideal for serving a variety of different whiskey drinks.
Just like with most other alcohols, the glass that whiskey is served in says a lot about its type, and the drink. For those who take their libations seriously, serious consideration needs to be given to the glass it is being served in.