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The Expert’s Guide to Whiskey Glasses

Our 'aha' guide demystifies whiskey glasses and helps you choose the perfect one for all of your beverage needs.

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Close-up of two men clink glasses of whiskey drink alcoholic beverage together while at bar counter in the pub after work on colorful backgroundPopTika/Shutterstock

Whiskey’s status as the “it” libation appears to be endless—which means it’s about time you bought a proper glass. When shopping for whiskey glasses, stay away from oversized options. While visually impressive, your iced beverages will water down and warm up before you finish. Stick to traditional glass sizes and go like a pro. These are our top picks.

By the way, these are the types of whiskey you really need to know.

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The Tumbler

Basic barware begins with the whiskey tumbler—aka rocks glass, lowball or Old-Fashioned glass. It’s a multitasker, perfect for serving whiskey neat, adding cubes or for making a muddled cocktail. Choose this easygoing glass set ($25) or classic crystal ($100).

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The Highball Glass

Use this tall, slender glass for lots of ice, booze and mixers. A classic scotch and soda, or an easygoing whiskey and lemonade (make your own!) are both perfection in a highball glass. Choose pure simplicity ($30) or timeless cut glass ($60).

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The Cocktail Glass

Classic cocktails served up, like the Whiskey Sour, are enjoying a renaissance. The correct glass has an inverted cone-shaped bowl, and holds about 6 to 8 ounces. The traditional stemmed version ($78) keeps the beverage frosty longer, while stemless glasses ($25) are heavier and more stable.

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The Copita Glass (aka Stemmed Tulip)

The wide body and narrow top of this tasting (aka nosing) glass make savoring single-malt (or scotch) whiskey memorable. Hold the stem to swirl the liquid, or cup the glass in your hand for warmth. The aromas remain in the glass—whether it’s long-stemmed ($90) or short ($22)—for your appreciation. Just don’t confuse this glass with a beer tulip!

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The Glencairn

This Scottish Whiskey Association-endorsed glass ($18) takes sipping and savoring to the next level. Holding about 6 ounces of whiskey, this stemless glass’ inward curve traps aromas as you swirl, engaging your nose in the sipping process. A cut crystal Glencairn ($73) turns an exceptional scotch into an event.

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The Shot Glass

Forget sipping and savoring; whiskey shots get tossed straight down. The shooter glass ($13) holds enough booze for a double shot. This allows for creativity when filling the glass with multiple ingredients. The classy cordial shot glass ($60) is stemmed, and holds between 1 and 2 ounces.

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The Odd Balls

The result of a happy glass-blowing accident, the Neat nosing glass ($22) offers a gentler tasting experience. The wide top allows harsh ethanol molecules to escape, while the whiskey’s more palatable aromas remain. The engineered Norlan whiskey glass ($48) also makes sipping easy on the nose.

Note: Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Ellen Riley
As a free-lance writer and former Southern Living Associate Garden Editor, Ellen Riley has a knack for teaching readers to find joy in the garden (indoors and out) every day. Her approach is based on simplicity, ease, and success. When not in the garden, find her in the kitchen preparing the day's harvest or arranging a few flowers to share. Her latest adventure offers 4 hands-on gardening workshops in the Nashville area.