Champagne has the flute. Brandy has the snifter. Martinis even have a glass with their name on them! Libations and their glassware work hand-in-hand to create the best circumstances for fully  enjoying a spirit. As we consider the options for bourbon, we must also understand how the proper choice in glass can heighten the experience and how the wrong glass can actually inhibit your bourbon’s natural characteristics.

Glassware is not just about appearances. It serves two specific purposes: to enhance the aromas of the drink and to assist in maintaining proper temperature. For example, stemmed glassware allows you to hold the glass and keep your hands from heating up the wine or other chilled beverage. In the case of a champagne flute, the shape of the glass even helps minimize the loss of carbonation. For bourbon, each of the preferred glasses has its place depending on how you take your bourbon and if you prefer to emphasize aroma or taste.

  • Rocks Glass – Also known as a lowball or tumbler, this glass is the go-to for a cocktail or the addition of ice or water. It has plenty of room to stir and its wide opening allows you to get a big whiff of your bourbon with each sip.
  • Snifter – The characteristics of a snifter make it ideal for a neat bourbon, as well as brandy or cognac. Its shape keeps the bourbon at room temperature and the small opening allows you to swirl the bourbon, releasing all those wonderful aromas just prior to a sip.
  • Martini Glass – If you are mixing a cocktail that requires chilling on ice before serving neat, a martini glass is the perfect vessel. The conical shape and stem keeps the beverage cool while its large open mouth releases all the wonderful smells.
  • The Glencarin – A relative newcomer to the glassware market, the Glencairn has the weight of a rocks, the base for temperature control, and the opening to direct the aromas of the spirit towards your nose without the overpowering smell of the ethanol. Originally conceived for scotch whiskey, like the snifter, it has found its place in the bourbon world as well.
  • NEAT Glass – An even younger glass, the NEAT glass is the result of an accidental glass blowing product, some research, and plenty of trial and error. Its hourglass shape does much to enhance the aromas. However the roller coaster path the spirit takes on its way to your mouth can prove cumbersome initially.
  • Shot Glass – Of course if you’re just looking to slug one back, nothing can replace the quick, down-the-hatch action of the perennial shot glass.

However you take your bourbon, the important part is… you’re enjoying bourbon! Let Tour With Us KY take you on a journey to explore all that the Kentucky bourbon community has to offer!