A Guide to Whisky Glasses

When you drink a glass of whisky, the aroma produced by the golden liquid contributes greatly to the enjoyment of the experience.

But did you know, the glass you pour your whisky into has a huge impact on the way this aroma reaches you? Choosing the right whisky glass is important if you are looking to elevate your whisky enjoyment to the next level.

Here, we take a look at some of the most common types of whisky glasses and what they offer to the whisky drinker.


Whisky Tumbler (aka Old Fashioned glass, Lowball glass, Rocks glass)

A lowball glass is the classic and most common type of glass you’ll see associated with whisky.

These types of tumblers have a wide rim, so they’re not the best for getting a good nose from your Scotch whisky, but they are ideal for serving whisky over ice or making a cocktail.

This is the glass you’d use to make an Old Fashioned, as the wide and sturdy base of the cup makes it suitable for muddling the cocktail ingredients together, and for filling with ice.

It’s wide size also makes it ideal for adding in larger ice wedges, which is the perfect way to serve whisky on the rocks. A larger ice wedge or ball is preferable to smaller ice cubes, as it takes longer to melt, and so dilutes the whisky less.

The rocks glass is a classic, and every whisky enthusiast should own one!


Highball Glass

The highball is a tall, straight glass that is used to make the simple cocktail of whisky and soda.

The tall glass accommodates a lot of ice to chill the whisky and leaves room for the spirit to be topped up with a mixer, such as lemonade or ginger ale. Whisky and soda is especially popular in Japan, where the drink is known as the Japanese Highball, due to the use of this cup!


Copita Glass / Tulip Glass

If you’re serious about the aroma of your whisky, then this could be the glass for you. Tulip-shaped glasses, known as Copita glasses, are the choice of blenders, distillers and whisky connoisseurs who want to get the bottom of the nuances present in each dram.

The bowl shape of the glass, paired with the slightly narrowed rim, helps to concentrate the aromas of the whisky and direct them to your nose. It is quite incredible how a simple shape change can have such an impact on the amount of aroma you can detect!

The glass also features a long stem, which is used to keep the drinker’s hand from coming too close. There could be smells present on the hand that could pollute and overwhelm the nose of the whisky, so the longer stem prevents this from happening.

The longer stem also allows for the bowl of the whisky glass to be held, which can help to warm the drink up a little.


Glencairn Glass

The Glencairn glass has a similar tulip shape to the Copita glass; however, it also has a much shorter stem. This makes the glass more sturdy and stable while still offering advanced aroma appreciation qualities.

The thicker glass and robust base of the Glencairn glass makes it better suited for whisky parties and casual drinking, as there is less risk of it being smashed or knocked over by accident.

The shape and size of this glass makes it an ideal choice for those who like to swirl their whisky – a technique used to help open up the full flavours present in a whisky.

Like the Copita glass, the Glencairn glass’ bowl-shape and narrowed rim help to channel the aroma to the nose.


Snifter Glass

Snifter glasses, also known as brandy bowl, cognac glass or balloon glass, are another classic option for enjoying whisky.

This glass is the quintessential gentleman’s club glass – one you’d hold and swirl in one hand as you recline in an armchair, puffing on the rich Cuban cigar you’re holding in the other hand!

Built with a wide body and tight rim, the snifter glass is designed so that the drink does not spill out, even when you tip the glass almost horizontally! This design allows the drinker to tip the glass closer to their nose to get a good sniff!

However, the shape can sometimes let you down – the wide body and tight rim can cause harsher ethanol vapours to be released, which can overpower the lovely aromas of your whisky.


NEAT Whisky Glass

The NEAT glass – which stands for Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology – is one of the most recent additions to the whisky glass family. The small glass has been designed to direct alcohol vapours away from the nose, allowing for you to appreciate the subtle undertones of your whisky’s aroma.

The shape of the glass pushes lighter molecules of ethanol out of the opening, leaving behind the more exciting whisky molecules.

Not only is this glass great for the whisky enthusiast who wants to better appreciate the aroma, but it is also ideal for newcomers to the world of whisky, who find the harsher alcohol taste of whisky unpleasant.


Shot Glass

If you’re less interested in sipping and savouring the aroma and flavour of your whisky, then a simple shot glass certainly a glass to add to your collection.

Whisky is meant to be savoured rather than immediately swallowed, but if you’re after a quick shot, then we won’t tell you off!

A shot glass is also a must-have for those who want to make their own cocktails. The glass helps you to measure out exactly how much alcohol you should be using in your drink.


Irish Coffee Glass

The Irish Coffee glass is a fairly self-explanatory glass. This glass is a handled mug that is used to create Irish coffee. Irish coffee is a cocktail of hot coffee, Irish whiskey and sugar, topped with cream.

The glass is usually thicker to accommodate the warmth of the coffee, and the handle helps to protect your hands from the heat.


Julep Cup

The julep cup is used to create mint julep cocktails. Mint julep is a cocktail consisting of Bourbon, sugar syrup and mint poured over crushed ice.

While a mint julep can be found served in a highball glass, the traditional way of serving it is in a stainless steel or pewter cup. This allows for frost to form on the outside of the cup, keeping the drink cooler and also looking pretty awesome!


If you’re a whisky lover, then you’re in luck, as here at Havana House we have an extensive range of whisky, including Scotch, Japanese, Irish and American whiskies.

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