Whiskey glasses come in all sorts of shapes and sizes that, to those who don’t know, may seem somewhat arbitrary but are in fact intended to improve the whiskey drinking experience. There are actually four types of whiskey glasses and overall, there are seven things they do to enhance your drink.
(As a side note, I wrote an article that explains the different types of whiskey glasses in more detail, which you can find here.)
1. They Reduce the Impact of The Alcohol
The tulip shaped whiskey nosing glass that’s tall-ish, with a wide bowl, long narrow neck, thin stem and broad pedestal, is designed to reduce the impact of the whiskey’s alcohol.
This is one of the most important things a whiskey glass can do because whiskey has a high alcohol content level (anywhere between 40% – 68%ABV) which keeps many of the whiskey’s flavors closed up and overpowers those that aren’t. Without a nosing glass you won’t taste many of your whiskey’s delicious flavors, but you will taste the unpleasant flavor of alcohol.
The strong alcohol can also numb your nose and palate, temporarily reducing your ability to smell or taste any flavors.
A nosing glass helps reduce the impact of the alcohol because it has a wide bowl which provides more room for air to get to the whiskey so it can breathe. This allows some of the alcohol to evaporate, making it less dominant and less likely to numb your nose and palate. With less alcohol in your drink, your whiskey’s flavors will open up.
2. They Prevent a Loss of Aromas and Flavors
Whiskey nosing glasses also prevent a loss of aromas and flavors. The aromas of a whiskey start dissipating when they’re poured into a glass, and since flavor is smell as well as taste, their loss will mean your whiskey’s flavors will be muted.
That’s why a whiskey nosing glass has a long narrow neck. It allows the whiskey’s aromas to concentrate towards the narrow rim where they can accumulate. You will now be able to detect all the aromas of your whiskey and taste all its flavors.
I have written an article about some of the best whiskey glasses for improving your drink, which you can find here.
3. They Add Class and Style to Your Drink
Whiskey glasses add a certain amount of class and style to your drink. And rightly so, because after all, the drink itself is pretty special. It’s been carefully made using techniques perfected over hundreds of years, it’s been matured for years if not decades so is packed with lots of delicious flavors, and you’ve spent far too much money on it.
Drinking whiskey out of an ordinary glass simply wouldn’t do it justice.
Nosing glasses add class style to your drink because they make you look like you know what you’re doing … or as my friends say pretentious. After all, why else would you drink your whiskey out of such an unusually shaped glass.
Whiskey tumblers that don’t have to be a specific shape have much more design flexibility. And although you can get plainer looking ones, you can also get very stylish whiskey tumblers, that gives the person holding them a certain amount of class and sophistication.
I have written an article about some of the most unique whiskey glasses out there that will certainly add class and style to your drink, which you can find here.
4. They Stop Ice Cubes Melting Too Quickly
The whiskey tumbler that’s short and wide with straight sides, a thick or heavy flat bottom and no stem or handle, stops ice cubes from melting too quickly and diluting your whiskey too much.
It’s wide opening allows you to add one or two large or even giant ice cubes (that wouldn’t fit through the narrower opening of a nosing glass) which, because they have less surface area than many smaller ice cubes of the same volume, melt slower, and you don’t have to worry about your whiskey becoming diluted quickly.
Also, their thicker sides and bottom insulates the contents of the glass from the heat coming from your hand or surface the glass is resting on and prevents it from warming the ice cubes and causing even larger ones to melt quicker than you would want.
5. They’re Strong Enough for Ice & Cocktails
Whiskey tumblers and its taller brother, the highball, that’s exactly like a tumbler only, as the name suggests, taller, are strong enough to hold ice and for cocktails to be built inside the glass.
The stronger sides and thicker bottoms of both glasses, prevent any added ice cubes from breaking or scratching the glass – something that could easily occur with the more delicate and fragile nosing glasses.
They’re also strong enough that those cocktails that are built inside the glass can have their ingredients muddled against the base without it breaking – also something very likely to happen if done in a whiskey nosing glass.
6. They Keep Carbonated Whiskey Cocktails Fizzy
Highball glasses help keep carbonated whiskey cocktails fizzy for longer. This is important because there are many popular carbonated whiskey cocktails, such as scotch and soda, and whiskey and ginger ale, and the highball helps keep the pleasant, cooling fizz … fizzy for longer.
Similar to the narrow neck of the nosing glass which allows the whiskey’s aromas to accumulate, the narrowness of the highball glass causes the bubbles in any carbonated whiskey cocktail to concentrate, which makes it keep its fizz for longer.
7. They Help You Track How Much You’re Drinking
Shot glasses, the smallest of all the whiskey glasses which are short, narrow, with a thick or heavy flat bottom, help you keep track of how much whiskey you’re drinking. This is important when you’re drinking whiskey shots because the goal is to get alcohol into your body as fast as possible, and not to slowly sip and savor all the flavors of your whiskey.
Shot glasses help you do this by being made to hold 1fl oz or 1.5fl oz, which are standard amounts for a shot of alcohol. 1.5fl oz of 40%ABV whiskey contains 15 grams of pure alcohol, which, in the US, is one standard drink.
Since you fill shot glasses to the top, knowing how much they can hold, allows you to easily keep track of how much you’re drinking, so that you can stop before you become drunk.
Alternatively, since you fill shot glasses to the top, knowing how much they can hold, allows you to easily keep track of how much you’re drinking, so that you don’t stop before you become drunk.