WHAT ARE THE BEST GLASSES FOR ENJOYING BOURBON?
It can feel as if there are almost as many varieties of bourbon glasses as there are bourbons. Which one should you use? And...why? Is there truly a compelling reason to retire your trusty jam jar and purchase some kind of specialized bourbon drinking device?
Short answer: Yes (although if you really love the jam jar, please definitely keep it in the rotation). The right glass can take your bourbon from good to great. And, conversely, a bad glass can dull your experience of an otherwise fantastic whiskey.
A lot also depends on context. Are you doing a formal tasting? Enjoying a neat pour, or a cocktail? Tailgating? Canoeing? Each setting demands a different glass for the best experience.
Here, we’ll break down some of the most common types of whiskey glassware and why you might use each one. But ultimately, like most things pertaining to whiskey, the perfect glass is a matter of personal opinion, and the only way to find out what you like best is through experience.
Originally introduced for Scotch whisky, the Glencairn glass has become the de facto tasting glass for much of the whiskey industry. Its unique tulip shape was specifically designed to concentrate the aromas of your favorite bourbon whiskeys or single malts so you can better appreciate their nuances. A stubby base gives you an ergonomic handhold that won’t warm up your whiskey.
Aesthetically pleasing, dishwasher safe, and ubiquitous, there’s a lot to love about the Glencairn. The only potential drawback is that some people with bigger noses find them a little too petite for comfort.
If that might be you, the NEAT glass offers a roomier fit for noses of stature. Other glassware that’s narrower at the top and wider at the bottom, like sherry or white wine glasses or the Kenzie whiskey taster, can also work well.
While tulip-shaped glasses are best for focused tasting, sometimes, you just want a slightly more relaxed experience. Enter the rocks glass. A cylinder shape and heavy bottom make it feel good in your hand, and the wider form makes it easy to add a big cube if that’s your style.
We’re partial to a more elevated rocks glass–like this one, which is made of lead free crystal with cut details at the bottom of the glass. Crystal glasses might not be essential to drinking whiskey with enjoyment, but why cheat yourself? Plus, they’ll look great next to that family heirloom hand-blown vintage decanter set you inherited.
OLD FASHIONED GLASS
Old Fashioned glasses might be the most essential glassware for the home bar. Most whiskey cocktails can be successfully served in one, from the eponymous Old Fashioned to whiskey sours, boulevardiers, and Manhattans.
A wide shape means there’s plenty of room for an ice cube or three, plus whatever creative garnish you can dream up. Thick bottoms are designed to take even your most enthusiastic muddling, and they’re not so precious you can’t toss them in the dishwasher when happy hour’s over.
It may not offer the most elevated drinking experience, but it makes up for it with portability and a certain kind of panache. What other drinking vessel could you safely tuck in an inside jacket pocket?
A good flask should be easy to fill, comfortable to hold, and not so big that it’s irritating to lug around. Our BCS branded flask is wrapped in leather for a soft handfeel, plus it’s made of stainless steel that won’t react with high-proof spirits.
Is it coffee? Is it whiskey? Could it be both? Keep ‘em guessing with a Barrell Craft Spirits travel mug. It’s made of double walled stainless steel to keep beverages warm (or cold) for a long time. Camping will never be the same.
Of course, the right glass is just the beginning. You’ll also need something to put in it. And on that front, Barrell Craft Spirits has got you covered.
Visit our website to shop the full range of Barrell’s award-winning cask-strength Bourbon, Whiskey, Rye, and Rum batches, plus all special releases like Dovetail, Armida, Seagrass, and much more. You can order online and have them shipped directly to your door, or use our map tool to find a retailer near you.