For whiskey connoisseurs, a glass of Scotch, whiskey or bourbon isn’t just a drink — it’s an experience. Watch a whiskey expert for just a moment or two, and you’ll notice how they pour slowly and lightly, how they swirl it around so it coats the glass and how they nose it to get the smell before they ever take a sip.
Whiskey is a serious thing. And if you want to enjoy it properly, you need the right glasses for it.
You wouldn’t do tequila shots out of wine glasses. You wouldn’t drink juice out of shot glasses. And you shouldn’t drink whiskey out of anything that’s not a whiskey glass.
What’s the Difference Between Scotch, Whiskey and Bourbon?
Before we get into the best glasses for whiskey drinking, let’s be clear about what whiskey actually is.
Scotch and bourbon are types of whiskey. What separates them is where they’re made and what ingredients they’re made with. It’s like how all thumbs are fingers, but not all fingers are thumbs. All Scotches and bourbons are whiskeys, but not all whiskey is Scotch or bourbon.
Whiskey can be made anywhere in the world – unless it’s made in Scotland. If it’s made in Scotland, then it’s Scotch (which is sometimes referred to more obviously as Scotch Whisky).
Bourbon refers to whiskey made specifically in the United States. And while many bourbons are made in the state of Kentucky, it does NOT need to be made in Kentucky to be called bourbon. That’s a myth.
What distinguishes bourbon from whiskey and Scotch is that bourbon is made with at least 51% distilled corn grain. Whiskey and Scotch are generally made with malted barley and wheat.
The combination of ingredients varies from distillery to distillery, which is why sampling different whiskeys can seem like an endless quest. There are so many to try!
If the extent of your whiskey knowledge revolves around Jack Daniel's, Johnny Walker and Maker’s Mark, we recommend sampling Bulleit Bourbon from Kentucky, Suntory Whisky from Japan and any limited edition Bruichladdich Scotch you can get your hands on. Do a little taste test sampling of these three varieties, and you’ll really get a sense of how different whiskeys from around the world taste.
How Do You Drink Whiskey?
There are endless ways to enjoy whiskey — and no, we’re not talking about tossing back shots.
You can enjoy whiskey neat or straight. “Neat” means pouring just an ounce or two of whiskey in a proper whiskey glass without ice, water or anything else added.
You can drink whiskey on the rocks in a glass with ice or, better yet, poured over an ice sphere, so the ice doesn’t melt or water down your drink too quickly.
You can also drink whiskey with water. A simple splash of water can actually enhance the flavor.
Whether you’re new to whiskey or have already declared it as your favorite drink, we say drink it how you like it. Just be open-minded and be willing to sample it in different ways! Who knows? Your favorite whiskey drink may be one you haven’t even tried yet.
Different Types of Whiskey Glasses
Just as there are various shapes of wine glasses, there are different types of whiskey glasses as well. The key types of whiskey glasses are the tulip glass, the Glencairn glass, the tumbler, the highball glass, the snifter and the neat glass.
Each one has a unique shape and structure, and different glasses are best used for different types of drinks.
For example, if you’re going to drink highballs, buy yourself a set of highball glasses. If you like your whiskey neat, you’ll want neat glasses. And if you’re practicing how to swirl and nose your whiskey like an expert, you’ll want a set of Glencairn glasses.
If your home bar is always stocked with high-quality whiskey, it’s time to get some real deal whiskey glasses to go with it.
Here are our faves, ranging in price from the super affordable to the slightly more luxe.
The Maketh the Man Art Deco Whiskey Glasses set features two rock glasses made from lead-free crystal with textured edges at the bottom of each glass. Each glass is sized to hold 10 ounces and can fit a 2-inch ice sphere or ice cube.
Packaged in a neat little box with a hinged lid, these whiskey glasses make the perfect gift for any whiskey fan.
Shopping for a matching barware to go with your new drinkware set? These cocktail glasses also come in a set of four with a matching decanter.
Available at Amazon, $29.57
Featuring four individual 11-ounce glasses, the KANARS Emperor Whiskey Glasses have an oversized shape with a unique texture made from lead-free crystal. This glassware set is thick-walled and features a heavy base, giving them a nice weight and feel.
Unexpected grooves and an eye-catching shape make them perfect for sipping Scotch or making tasty whiskey cocktails.
Available at Amazon, $45.99
Smell and swirl your whiskey in style in the Glencairn Crystal Whiskey Glass. This set of four glasses is made from lead-free crystal and glass and features a wide bowl at the bottom so you can get a good look at the color of your whiskey.
The tapered top makes it a classic — perfect for the whiskey expert who really wants to enjoy their favorite bottle of spirits.
Available at Amazon, $28.58
Sip your favorite whiskey the way it was intended in the Norlan Whiskey Glass. This set of two glasses features a hybrid design in the classic tumbler shape with a tapered style for better nosing of your whiskey.
It’s made from double-walled hand-blown glass and boasts a lightweight design with a curved inner bowl that helps to aerate your whiskey and make it easier to smell.
Available at Wine Enthusiast, $48
The Experience Glass from the NEAT delivers a drinking experience so superior that distillers and critics have been using it to judge whiskey competitions for the past decade.
Sold as individual glasses so you can order as many as you need, this glass is made from hand-blown super-flint crystal with a heavy, thick bottom.
What makes this glass so special is that it has a flared rim, curved sides to release the whiskey’s aromas and a tapered neck that separates the alcohol smell from the actual aroma.
Available at Amazon, $30.95
Perfect for making all sorts of whiskey cocktails, the Hotel Collection Fluted Double Old-Fashioned Glasses are a stylish addition to any home bar.
A fluted, ridged texture gives them an art déco vibe, while the tapered base makes them easy for stacking in a cabinet if you don’t have any extra room on your bar cart.
These glasses are dishwasher safe, come in a set of four and can be mixed and matched with coordinating barware, such as these fluted highball glasses.
Available at Macy’s, $62
Okay, so this one’s a bit pricey at $99 per glass, but if you loathe whiskey on ice, this is the glass for you.
The Nude Chill Whiskey Glass is made from lead-free crystal and features a timeless tumbler shape set atop a natural marble stone slab. Not only does the marble base look incredible, but it helps to keep your whiskey at the ideal temperature without having to add any ice.
Give one of these as a gift to a whiskey lover, and you’ll certainly get the prize for best gift-giver of all time!
Available at Wayfair, $99
Sip your favorite bourbon (or any other whiskey for that matter) in the Denver & Liely Bourbon Glass. Made from polished lead-free crystal, this elegant glass has a sleek silhouette with a tapered shape and a comfortable bottom for easy gripping.
The opening compared to the base is less than the traditional Glencairn glass, making this glass ideal for adding a sphere of ice.
Available at Denver & Liely, $45
Enjoy a whiskey on the rocks in the Tiffany & Co. Diamond Point Old Fashioned Glass. Packaged in a set of two, these fine crystal glasses feature a timeless look with a diamond point texture at the base.
Available at Tiffany & Co., $150
These handmade tumblers are detailed with a topographical mountain at the bottom of each glass, making each one in the set of four distinguishable from the others.
This set is made from lead-free glass that gives each one a lightweight and comfortable feel.
Available at Huckberry, $65
The Nude Beak Crystal Drinking Glass comes in the classic clear style, but we’re seriously obsessed with it in this purple hue. A modern spin on the traditional snifter glass, this lead-free crystal design is sold in individual units, so you’ll have to shell out some bucks if you want a set of two.
It’s sized to hold three ounces of whiskey, making it perfect for sampling a new bottle or enjoying a nice splash of your favorite Scotch.
Available at Wayfair, $69
Shaped like a diamond and designed to rest at an angle, the Dragon Diamond Whiskey Glass is definitely an eye-catcher. This set of tumblers is made from clear, lead-free crystal and features a distinctive design that seemingly defies gravity.
Perfect for whiskey, Scotch and all sorts of other spirits, these glasses are spill-proof and anti-rocking, despite the fact that they rest at a tilt.
Available at Amazon, $34.99
Sold as a set of two, the Riedel Vinum Whiskey Glass gets top ratings and excellent reviews as one of the best single malt whisky glasses around. This glass is made from lead crystal and features a turned-out rim that makes it easy to drink from.
The Vinum glasses were designed in collaboration with master distillers in Scotland, so you can be sure they’re made to make your whiskey taste as fine as possible.
Available at Wayfair, $59
Forget about ice cubes — the Corkcicle Whiskey Wedge offers a way better way to drink your whiskey at the perfect temp.
This whiskey tumbler includes a wedge-shaped silicone ice mold. Fill it and freeze it like you would any ice cube, put it in the glass and pour in your whiskey.
As you drink your whiskey, the ice-wedge melts away slowly, without turning your drink into a watered-down mess from a handful of small ice cubes.
Available at Corkcicle, $24.95
Looking for a super affordable whiskey glass for your home or office bar cart? Check out the Anchor Hocking Glencairn Glass, priced at just $8 each.
This glass features a wide base that lets you appreciate your whiskey's color, a solid bottom that makes it comfortable to hold and a slightly flared rim.
It’s sized to hold 11.75 ounces, though the experts always recommended pouring about 2 ounces at a time.
Available at Amazon, $16
What Are the Best Whiskey Glasses?
Most whiskey drinkers are very particular about the type of whiskey they drink, and some are just as particular about the glasses they drink it from.
If you’re a whiskey fan in need of some new barware, proper whiskey glasses are a must.
And if you’re looking for a gift for a whiskey lover, whiskey glasses are perfect – especially if you pair them with a bottle of whiskey to pour inside.
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Best Whiskey Glasses:
- Maketh the Man Art Deco Whiskey Glasses
- KANARS Emperor Whiskey Glasses
- Glencairn Crystal Whiskey Glass
- Norlan Whiskey Glass
- The Neat Glass The Experience
- Hotel Collection Fluted Double Old-Fashioned Glasses
- Nude Chill Whiskey Glass
- Denver & Liely Bourbon Glass
- Tiffany & Co. Diamond Point Old Fashioned Glasses
- Whiskey Peaks Glass
- Nude Beak Crystal Drinking Glass
- Dragon Diamond Whisky Glass
- Riedel Vinum Whiskey Glass
- Corkcicle Whiskey Wedge Glass
- Anchor Hocking Glencairn Glass