Why Does Whiskey Glassware Matter?

  • by Edward Simpson
Why Does Whiskey Glassware Matter?

Whiskey glassware affects your tasting experience. That's why it matters how your spirit is showcased. 

Depending on your drinking habits, you may be interested to know that there is, indeed, a glass best suited for each occasion.

Shape, design, and material of the glassware you choose can all affect the character of your whiskey, changing the perceived flavor when you bring it first to your nose, then to your lips.

So make sure you are instructing your customers on the best glassware to use for your spirit. By "instructing", we don't just mean your sales person or your tasting room team. We also mean your social media manger. How are they portraying your spirits? 

When selecting the best whiskey glass for your needs, you’ll want to make a few considerations first.

After this article, you'll be able to instruct your photographer and team to use the correct glassware for your spirit and brand when showcasing your product.

How to Choose Different Types of Whiskey Glasses

Your glassware can have an immense effect on the tasting notes of your whiskey, depending on its purpose, how it sits in your hand, and how it interacts with your pour. When selecting a whiskey glass, consider the following options.

Shot Glass

Built for quick sips and shooting, this is a glass built for those who enjoy romping about dive bars and making quick decisions. If you’re drinking out of a shot glass, we don’t recommend pouring one of your finer bottles. The narrow opening of a shot glass makes it hard to get a sense of smell or flavor before chucking one back, completely negating the purpose of a good whiskey anyways.

Rocks Glass

Also known as a tumbler, low ball, or old fashioned glass, the rocks glass has a short body and a wide rim. Designed for classic cocktails that need to be poured over a large rock, this glass is ideal for cocktails like the Old Fashioned or Sazerac.

Coupe Glass

A stemmed glass with a wide, shallow saucer, typically reserved for cocktails that are shaken or stirred, strained, and served up. The shape of the glass allows you to show off the presentation of your cocktails while the stem helps prevent your hand from warming it.

Glencairn Glass

A popular choice amongst most casual whiskey aficionados for its tulip shape. A rounded bottom allows for swirling of the whiskey in the hand. When brought to the nose, the aromas are pushed forward for an improved olfactory experience while you sip, making this glass ideal for the purist who just wants to focus on whiskey.

Highball Glass

A glass tumbler that’s a taller version of the rocks glass, shaped to hold cocktails with large amounts of mixers and ice. 

Snifter Glass

Often used for cognac and brandy, the snifter glass has recently begun picking up popularity amongst the whiskey crowd. With its short-stem, deep bowl, and narrow mouth, the aromas are trapped inside allowing a slightly different broader nosing experience than the classic Glencairn glass.

Tulip Glass

Commonly referred to as the copita, the tulip glass was originally used in Spain’s sherry industry as a dock glass, in which it would be used to nose sherry upon arrival. The long stem varies from the Glencairn and Snifter, preventing the hand from getting too close to the bowl to affect the whiskey.

NEAT Glass

The NEAT glass is the new kid on the block for whiskey glasses. A happy result of a glass-blowing mistake, its peculiar shape resembles a squashed hourglass. Representing Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology, the NEAT glass is an excellent purchase for the newcomer to whiskey because its wide surface area design negates the nose burn of alcohol, allowing you to explore the more nuanced aromas present in your glass.

How to Choose the Material for Your Whiskey Glass

One of the considerations to make when selecting your ideal whiskey glass is the quality of the material you’re sipping out of. Think about the occasion you’ll be drinking and who will be joining you.

Crystal and glass are some of the most highly touted materials for whiskey glassware as they allow you to view the color, nose it, and fully immerse yourself in the flavor profile, but they may be more suited to dinner parties and formal affairs due to their fragility. 

You may find drinkware made out of materials like wood, ceramic, or even bone, which can make for unique collectibles or talking points during casual affairs, but you lose the ability to view the color of your whiskey and you may find that they impart their own flavors on it too.

Stainless steel is also a popular option used to make portable tumblers and flasks. While it's great for maintaining the temperature of your whiskey when you’re on the move, over time it may dilute your whiskey with a metallic flavor.

Why It Matters... And Doesn't Matter

You want guests to have the best experiences with your spirits, of course. Guiding them in their glassware choices will help elevate that experience.

You can guide them by listing preferred glassware on your web site, educating your tasting room on the glassware types (although they're probably already pros), and telling your marketing team your preferences and how to showcase it in your campaigns (ie. on social media and in ads). 

What you don't want to do is to put a premium product in photos that showcase it in glassware that is seen as too casual or incorrect. You wouldn't drink a $60 scotch from a Solo cup, would you? (I mean, if you do, we won't judge you...).

But at the end of the day, once the product is in your consumer's hands, it's up to them. Let them shoot your $70 craft whiskey if they so choose... As long as they're enjoying it!


If you need photos or videos showcasing your spirit correctly, we can help. We have a massive glassware library that's at your disposal when you schedule a shoot with us. Get in touch!

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