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best whiskey glasses Neiman Marcus

The 12 Best Whiskey Glasses for Sipping Your Favorite Bourbon, Scotch and Rye

This list runs the gamut, from inexpensive Glencairn glasses to fine cut crystal from Baccarat and Waterford.

Any casual whiskey drinker—or anyone who’s watched Mad Men protagonist Don Draper pour an afternoon drink or three in his mid-century dream office—knows the spirit is more important than the glass it’s in. Still, you might walk away from a conversation with whiskey purists believing that you need eleven different vessels to get the most out of individual varietals. This isn’t necessarily true, but if you’re interested in spirits or regularly share drams with guests, it’s worth having barware that’s well-suited to how you enjoy drinking.

Generally, you can split the best whiskey glasses into two categories: aesthetics-first and function-first. If you’re drinking like Draper—whose famous glasses are of Dorothy Thorpe design, sets of which you can sometimes find on 1stDibs—you’re drinking more casually, and with style top of mind. The classic shapes and styles of rocks glasses, tumblers and brandy glasses are unfussy and ideal for that kind of dram. If you’re the type to scribble down tasting notes, it’s the smaller, olfactory science-focused glassware you want. But what to buy? I tried far, far too many to get to the bottom of it.


Best Overall Whiskey Glass

Riedel H2O Classic Bar Whiskey Glass

Broadly, whiskey glassware design is very nostalgic. So much Gilded Age. So much art deco. This means the combination of well-made and simple can be hard to find. Where there is a niche—but very annoying—problem in the barware world, Riedel usually has an offshoot collection to fill the gap.

The company’s H2O glass is designed to serve a variety of purposes and espouse a clean design that even maximalists will appreciate—once it’s in their hands, anyway. At 15 ounces, it’s the same size as a classic Old Fashioned glass size and comes without the star, column and herringbone patterning that adorns so many of its cousins. (That means it can stand in at a party when you’re serving both cocktails and single pours of the good stuff.) It’s made of unleaded crystal, is dishwasher safe and, at roughly $12 a glass, on the more affordable end of the whiskey glass spectrum.

Material: Crystal
Size: 3.9 in
Liquid Capacity: 15.3 oz
Number in Set: 6 (Amazon), 1 (All Modern)

Buy Now on Amazon: 86 $74

Buy Now on All Modern: 39 $35


Best Classic Whiskey Glass 

Waterford Lismore Straight-Sided Tumbler

Operating since 1783, Waterford is synonymous with fine glassware, and we could have easily filled this list from its portfolio alone. For variety’s sake, we’ve selected just one of its excellent wares: the Lismore Diamond Tumbler. A reinterpretation of early Waterford designs, Miroslav Havel’s design is a mid-century modern classic. Three factors working in unison make the drinking experience special: the circular cuts that run around the lower third of the glass, the vertical wedge cuts that bisect them and the quality of the crystal itself. Together, the glass almost collects the light around it and refracts it toward the whiskey in the glass. Great for sipping a good whiskey neat or a round of Old Fashioneds, drinking out of one feels important.

Material: Crystal
Size: 2.8 in x 2.8 in x 3.2 in
Liquid Capacity: 7 oz 
Number in Set:

Buy Now on Amazon: $150

Buy Now on Bloomingdale's: 150 $120


Sleekest Whiskey Glass

Nolan Rauk Heavy Whiskey Tumbler

Norlan’s aggro-modern aesthetic may not be for everyone, but the quality and craftsmanship are undeniable. The Rauk—”rock” in Old Scottish—is like the universe, made in a single blinding flash. Molten crystal slips into a five-piece mold that’s machine-pressed into a rocks glass fit for the set of Dune or Westworld. The base of the interior looks a bit like a three-dimensional seismograph which, despite being cool enough to justify itself on looks alone, also serves to assist in muddling ingredients in a cocktail. The base sits on four transparent points, which makes the glass appear to be levitating. Despite that, the most jarring feature is invisible; the smaller version of the glass weighs more than a pound, while the larger one is just shy of two pounds. While heft shouldn’t always imply quality, in this case, the weight of the glass adds to the drinking experience.

Material: Crystal
Size: 3.7 in x 2.95 in
Liquid Capacity: 8.5 oz
Number in Set: 1

Buy Now on Bespoke Post: $50


Best Modern Whiskey Glass 

Nude Alba Whiskey Glasses

Not all luxe glasses need to be cut with the same patterns we’ve seen for the last 70 years or laser in on the purest whiskey drinking experience; some glasses can simply look excellent on a bar cart. Nude’s Alba is one such glass. The base is thick and heavy and the walls are thin and taper slightly as they rise from the bottom. The pattern cut onto the glass is a subtle nod at the tartan patterns that dominate traditional barware in the whiskey world.

Material: Crystal
Size: 3.25 in x 3.5 in
Liquid Capacity: 8.75
Number in Set:

Buy Now on Huckberry: $177

Buy Now on Neiman Marcus: $177


Best Luxury Whiskey Glass

Baccarat Massena Tumbler

Baccarat, the older of the two dominant luxury glassware makers, was founded in 1764 by a wealthy French cardinal named Louis-Joseph de Montmorency-Laval. Montmorency-Laval created the company with the express permission of King Louis XV, who is probably best known for losing the French-controlled lands in North America before the Revolutionary War (and setting the table for a revolution a little closer to home). The company went on to make stained-glass windows, chandeliers and all the fancy-people-in-the-19th-century accoutrements they were commissioned to—including some drinkware. The quality of the crystal and craftsmanship of the glasses is unparalleled.

The Massena Tumbler is one piece of the larger Massena collection, and it’s perfect for something special poured on the rocks. The glass’s design receives, contorts and fires light across rooms. It’s also the glass Bill Murray drinks Hibiki 17 out of in Lost in Translation.

Material: Crystal
Size: 3.9 in
Liquid Capacity: 12.5 oz
Number in Set: 2

Buy Now on Bloomingdale's: $290

Buy Now on Bergdorf Goodman: $290

Buy Now on Amazon: $257


Best Whiskey Glass for Tasting

Glencairn Whisky Glass

Most “industry standard” products aren’t crafted with home users in mind, but the Glencairn can go from tasting room to living room with ease. Designer Raymond Davidson developed the glass hand-in-hand with master Scotch blenders to accentuate whiskey specifically, rather than borrowing glassware from other booze industries. (Before the Glencairn’s release in 2001, the professional whiskey sipping vessel of choice was the humble copita, a long-stemmed glass with a tulip-shaped bowl designed for drinking sherry). Davidson removed the stem and replaced it with a kind of glass knob on the base, making the glass less prone to breaks and much easier to store. The base of the bowl was widened to allow for more swirling, as well as to provide a clearer view of the spirit’s hue. Mercifully, the outward taper of the rim lessens the likelihood of whiskey running from the glass and straight down your chin, too, which is a big plus.

The glass shape is excellent at allowing no-splash swirling, and flushing the nose of the whiskey toward the drinker. Though the glass is small (it’s meant to hold just 1.5 oz of liquid), there is room for water if you prefer it. Because of the glass’s durability, low price and sip-focused utility, few glasses are better suited for a whiskey tasting party.

Material: Glass
Size: 4.5 in x 4.5 in
Liquid Capacity: 6 oz
Number in Set: 4

Buy Now on Amazon: $27


Best Whiskey Glass for Aromas

The Neat Glass 

Romanticization is a fundamental tenet of whiskey marketing. The makers of the NEAT glass didn’t get the memo. Though you can never be sure if a name was created with its acronym in mind, NEAT stands for Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology, and the glass is designed for sipping whiskey neat. Even more than drinking, it’s designed for smelling. The designer’s manifesto argues traditional tulip-shaped glassware is more likely to burn your nose with a rush of ethanol than highlight a spirit’s quality. The way around this is a flared rim which works to instigate a more diffused evaporation than a traditional whiskey sipping glass.

The shape and look are a bit strange and holding one feels a little fiddly, but there is a reason it’s been adopted as the official glassware for judging various spirits contests, including what’s widely considered the loftiest of them all: the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. If you take your whiskey seriously, it’s a great option.

Material: Glass
Size: 3.7 in x 2.52 in
Liquid Capacity: 2 oz
Number in Set:

Buy Now on Amazon: $22


Best Outdoor Whiskey Glass

Rabbit Freezable Whiskey Glass

Though the brand is better known for corkscrews and other wine paraphernalia, Rabbit gets a lot right across all drinking categories. You likely won’t reach for its freezable whiskey glasses when pouring something special, but, mercifully, whiskey doesn’t have to be rare or obscenely expensive to be enjoyed.

Chilled whiskey can be tricky, though—especially if you’re averse to dilution in the form of ice or water. Rabbit’s solution is glassware with built-in cold packs, which keep the spirit cool for two hours and change. Plus, a helpful silicon sleeve keeps your hands from going numb, and eight-ounce fluid capacity is just right (especially if you’re drinking straight whiskey). It’s an ideal summer-at-the-lake glass, and performs admirably whenever you want to take your glass outdoors.

Material: Glass
Size: 3.2 in x 4 in
Liquid Capacity: 8 oz
Number in Set: 2

Buy Now on West Elm: $39

Buy Now on Amazon: 40 $30


Best Whiskey Glass for Purists

Riedel Vinum Single Malt Whisky Glass

Though the Glencairn steals most of the shine today, other companies had a go at making whiskey-specific glassware before it became the standard. Riedel’s Vinum Single Malt Whisky Glass is one such effort and, though some more modern and science-focused options on this list may offer more “pure” sipping experiences, it has a place among the best. Released almost ten years before the Glencairn, the glass’s wider, outward-flaring rim combines with a taller glass to cut back on the alcohol burn when nosing your dram. The Vinum whisky glass rides the line between aesthetics and the necessary functions of a tasting glass better than most.

Material: Glass
Size: 2.5 in x 4.5 in
Liquid Capacity: 7 oz
Number in Set: 2

Buy Now on Amazon: 75 $46


Best Brandy Glass 

Moser Royal Brandy Glass

Moser, a craft-focused glassmaking company open for more than 150 years, makes more typical whiskey glasses, but the style and provenance of its iconic brandy glass is what you want. Moser’s “Royal” brandy glass was born in 1907 when England’s King Edward VII had it made for his wife Queen Alexandra. The company has been making glass by hand with lead-free crystal since the late 19th century, and its time-tested techniques are evident in the cutting work. The rim of the glass is lined with a thin stripe of 24K gold.

As far as drinking out of one goes, it’s not so different than other glasses on this list; it just has more space for swirling and, notably, the cup tapers inward, focusing the smell of the spirit inside. Because of this, it’s most suited for drinking middle- and lower-ABV whiskeys, unless you take your whiskey with water; otherwise you may get a nose full of ethanol.

Material: Crystal and gold
Size: 2.6 in x 4.7 in
Liquid Capacity: 10.8 oz
Number in Set:

Buy Now on Moser: $177


Best Bourbon Glass

Denver & Liely Bourbon Glass

Australia-based Denver & Liely’s bourbon glass (much like its whiskey, gin and agave glasses) is an upgraded take on a classic design. Like the Glencairn—effectively the standard in whiskey glassware bent toward sipping—the foundation is a weighty glass knob that’s just the right size to wrap a few fingers around. Beyond that, this design cuts a different path. The cup is wider and shorter—a bit like the neat glass—which effectively tempers bourbon whiskey’s sweeter, corn-focused flavor. In the hand, an upgrade in glass quality from other sipping-focused glassware is apparent; its shape, lines and weight have a premium feel. And considering Aussies and American Southerners share brutally hot summers, the fact that the glass is just wide enough for an ice cube or two doesn’t seem like an accident.

Material: Crystal
Size: 3.5 in x 3.54 in
Number in Set:

Buy Now on Denver & Liely: $45


Best Textured Whiskey Glass

Terrane No. 12 Glass

Terrane’s barware looks considerably more egalitarian than cups made at the behest of European monarchs, but it’s no less deserving of praise. Made by hand in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, its glassware is among the very best being made in the U.S. The company’s small team of artisans works periodically on different designs and batches, and the aesthetic ranges from ultra-thin and contemporary to something closer to the newer and more rustic No. 12 glass, a dodecagon made with textured glass in a silhouette that’s at once modern and easy to hold.

Material: Glass
Size: 3.25 in x 3.7 in
Liquid Capacity: 10 oz 
Number in Set: 1

Buy Now on Tom Beckbe: $45


Will Price is a home, drinks, and lifestyle editor from Atlanta. He lives in Vermont and is terminally interested in bourbon, houseplants and cast-iron skillets.

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