When it comes to whisky there are so many ways to drink it: neat, on the rocks, paired with your favourite mixer or in a cocktail. But what should you serve your drink in? And how many types of whisky glasses are there? Well, some might sound familiar such as the rocks glass but, there are also glasses that can be used for many spirits such as the shot glass and the highball.
We thought we’d settle the score by outlining the best whisky glasses to drink your scotch in. You don’t need to follow these points to the letter – good whisky doesn’t need rules – but it’s always useful to know the ropes when it comes to the different types of whisky glasses.
1. OLD FASHIONED GLASS: OLD FAITHFUL
It’s classic, it’s iconic, it’s the old fashioned glass. Also known as a rocks glass, or whisky tumbler, it is custom-made for anyone wanting to indulge in a small amount of top-tier whisky. Although it was named after the crowd-pleasing cocktail, this is the go-to glassware for anyone that enjoys their whisky with a touch of ice or water or even neat. The heavy base feels satisfying to hold and can easily handle an ice cube. It’s versatile too, use it for a leisurely sip or whip up a quick old fashioned cocktail using this classic glass.
2. GLENCAIRN GLASS: STRANGE BUT FUNCTIONAL
Show a Glencairn glass to someone and you might get a confused look. Shaped like a teardrop, this is the ultimate way to soak up every last detail of a whisky. It only holds a small amount, but it’ll maximise the experience of the finest scotch whisky. Pour in, swirl then savour all the complex aromas and flavours from your favourite whisky, all thanks to that unique shape. Why not use this glass for our 15 year scotch? You’ll easily be able to appreciate the creamy toffee notes and hints of toasted almond.
3. TULIP GLASS: AMPLE FOR AROMA
You can think of this glass as the Glencairn’s slightly bigger brother. It’s similar in shape but is actually based on the design of the traditional Spanish copita which is used to sample sherry. The tulip glass is perfect for fully appreciating a dram of your favourite Ballantine’s whisky. The bowl of the glass allows you to release the aromas whilst the tapered rim directs them to the nose. We’d recommend a pour of our 30 year old scotch so that you can take in the deep, fruity aromas and vanilla oakiness.
4. SHOT GLASS: SHOOT YOUR SHOT
Some people collect stamps, some coins, and others shot glasses. No prizes for guessing which one we prefer. A good whisky goes down nice and easy, more than any other spirit. The shot glass can have a bad reputation, but not in the world of whisky. Throw in a bit of a different liquor, syrup or just some lemon juice and you’ll have something original to you. Give it a shot, mix things up.
5. COUPE GLASS: SERVE IT UP
A coupe glass is a stemmed glass which is characterised by a shallow, broad, round bowl with straight sides. This differs from the v-shaped glasses that are synonymous with martinis. Coupe glasses were originally designed in the 1660s for champagne but they have gained favour for cocktails served ‘up’; that is, without ice. Luckily, there are plenty of great whisky cocktails that fit the bill! For instance, there’s the Sandbox Sip, a blend of whisky and sweet vermouth and The Guadalupe which is a tropical whisky pineapple cocktail.
6. HIGHBALL GLASS: LONG AND TALL
Similar to the old-fashioned glass, the highball glass took its name from a style of drink. Traditionally, a highball was just whisky with a mixer but the highball glass can be used for whatever cocktail you desire. Whether you want to have your scotch with a top-up of coke, or mixed up with a dozen far-out ingredients, this glass has enough room for the lot, plus a teeth-chattering amount of ice.
7. MASON JAR: YOU CAN HANDLE IT
Nobody says that whisky has to be served in a standard glass. Just as you can get creative with the ingredients and flavour of your cocktails, so can you when it comes to what you serve them in. There are mason-style glasses that have handles which are ideal if you intend to slowly sip away on your drink. Of course, you could also wash and reuse glass jars from your cupboards; just use all the jam for your toast first! Fill your jar with something refreshing like a whisky cranberry cocktail or opt for something a little more indulgent such as a whisky milkshake.
8. FLAGON OR HORN: THINK OUTSIDE THE GLASS
To truly stand out from the crowd, why not swig your scotch from a flagon or even a horn, like the Vikings back in the day? Good whisky tastes great, no matter how you take it. It makes sense too – horns and ancient mugs have a good grip so you won’t spill a single drop.
What type of glass is best for whisky?
So, what type of glass is best for whisky? Well, it really depends on how you are drinking it! If you’re choosing a neat 15 year old single malt scotch for instance, the focus is on savouring the aromas and flavours. Therefore, you’re best opting for a Glencairn or tulip glass that allows you to warm the whisky, swirl it around the bowl and appreciate the notes.
If, however, you’re in the mood for a short drink like a whisky sour or you love your whisky on the rocks, then an old fashioned glass is what you’ll want.
When it comes to cocktails, there are plenty of glasses to choose from. Highball glasses, for instance, are great for cocktails with plenty of ice and lots of fizz like a classic whisky soda. Various styles of cocktail glass, such as the coupe, are perfect if you are using garnishes and want to add a touch of sophistication.
For fun and unique options, look to the likes of mason jars. Hey, you don’t even have to use a glass at all! You could pour your whisky into a horn, a fishbowl or even a hollowed-out piece of fruit. All you need to remember is that your whisky-drinking experience should be as individual as you are.
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