Posted by Chris Randle on 15th Jun 2022

How To Hold A Whiskey Glass

Almost every alcoholic beverage has a typical glassware match, whether by tradition or necessity. Whisky glasses come in many shapes and sizes ranging from old-fashioned tumbler glass to the infamous Glecarian glass and there is something for everyone. But it's not just the type of glassware that matters, it's also the way you hold a whiskey glass that makes you look like a pro. Understanding how to properly hold your whiskey glass isn't just a matter of avoiding etiquette faux pas. It can also have a direct effect on your enjoyment of the beverage. The complex spirit requires patience and concentration in order to experience the full range of flavours and aromas it has to offer. 

Whiskey Glass Characteristics 

The best whiskey glasses are created to complement the tasting experience by the fantastic type of whiskey that is being served. Whiskey glasses are designed with three factors in mind: 

  • Appearance - The way the glass looks and feels enhances the appearance and presentation of the drink when it is served.
  • Drinkability - When the glass is tilted, the design of the glass might affect the flow of the drink. Narrow openings may be used to minimize the amount of liquid in a sip during tasting experiences, whereas wide openings may be used for mixed beverages.
  • Nosing - The shape of the glass can direct the aroma of a whiskey either towards the drinker's nose or towards the air to release any ethanol fumes. The drinker detects different scents and aromas by smelling the whiskey ahead of time, which may influence the overall flavour of the drink.

How to hold a stemmed whiskey glass vs a stemless whiskey glass? 

Holding your whiskey glass properly gives a sense of etiquette and class when enjoying a fine whiskey. Also, it allows you to swirl without spilling and slows down the melting of any ice. Whisky glasses can largely be broken down into two types – stemmed and stemless glasses. 

Stemmed Whiskey Glasses 

The classic stem design is used in whiskey glasses such as Glencairn and Snifters. The majority of them have a deep bowl with a wide base and a narrow rim. Having a stem will keep your fingers and fingerprints off the bowl. This allows you to see the subtle colours more vividly and prevents your hand from warming up the whiskey as it travels through the glass.

Holding Whiskey Glass by the Bowl 

Place your middle finger and your ring finger under the bowl while having the stem in the middle. As you swirl your drink, this grip keeps the glass safe and secure. This method works best with Snifters because their stems are thin, whereas Glencairn glasses have thick stems that may be uncomfortable for your fingers.

Holding Whiskey Glass by the Stem

Holding your whiskey glass by the stem shows sophistication, class and elegance. Place your thumb and two or maybe three fingers on the stem. The rest of your fingers should be resting on the foot of the glass or gently hovering in mid-air. 

Because the stem of a Glencairn glass is thicker, you'll need to grip the whiskey glass with all of your fingers to keep it from slipping.

Holding Whiskey Glass by the Foot

The foot of the whiskey glass is not usually held, but some people do so to get a better swirl because the lower the grip, the bigger the swirl.

Swirling encourages the scent of the whiskey to evaporate, allowing the drinker to fully appreciate the various aromas. It also helps to see the legs, which are whiskey drips. By observing how the whiskey legs fall back into the golden pool, the strength of the drink can be determined.

Use your thumb on the top of your whiskey glass as a lever. Allow the rest of your fingers to support the foot's bottom. If you're not sure about your thumb working as your only lever, you can also grab the stem of your glass with your thumb and forefinger.

Holding Whiskey Glass by the Rim

Though many people avoid using this grip because of the risk of smudges, it can be handy in some situations. 

Use your thumb and one or two fingers to surround the glass on opposing ends of the rim. Allow the rest of your fingers to float in the air for a royalty effect. Because you can feel the temperature and dampness of the drink in the palm of your hands, this grip allows for a more controlled swirl than holding the whiskey glass by the foot.

Stemless Whiskey Glasses 

Stemless glasses like the classic old-fashioned, also known as a tumbler or a rock glass are typically known for serving spirits such as whiskey neat or “on the rocks”. They like the highball glass are also used for serving cocktails. They can be a lot more convenient and fit perfectly and comfortably in the palm of your hand. Usually, stemless glasses have a wide brim and thick base. They’re easier to hold, offering a stable, solid grip. They’re also more robust, and less likely to tip over or break while being washed.

Holding Whiskey Glass by the Base

Short whiskey glasses, such as the classic old-fashioned or “rocks glass”, are best held by the base. On the other hand, because Highballs are taller, you risk losing your balance and spilling your lovely whiskey drink all over the place.

whiskey glass

Use your four fingers to balance the whiskey glass from the base, and your thumb to lock it in place at the other end. 

Holding Whiskey Glass by the Body

Every whiskey glass has a body that is precisely the right size for your hand to grip it. Because it is safer than the previous styles, holding the glass by the body is the best grip for highball whiskey glasses. Because whiskey cocktail recipes call for lots of ice, there's no possibility of your drink warming up.

With your thumb on opposite ends of your four fingers, grasp the glass's body. You have the option of pressing your palm against the glass or letting it float. This is the safest way to hold any stemless whiskey glass, although it increases the chance of finger smudges on the glass's surface.

Holding Whisky Glass by the Rim 

This grip prevents drinks with ice from warming up, such as scotch on the rocks. Despite the fact that whiskey is often served at room temperature, many people choose to sip it over ice for a cold and refreshing feeling after a long day at work.

Allow two or three of your fingers to grab the other side of the whiskey glass while the rest hover beside or above it, depending on which fingers you're using for your grip. While your palm is positioned above your whiskey glass, you can also surround the rim with all of your fingers.

Crystal Whiskey Glasses

Crystal whiskey glasses are even more beautiful to look at because of their mineral content, which allows them to collect more light and be made thinner, resulting in a more refined sipping experience. It's always a magnificent and unforgettable experience to drink from crystal glassware.

Make your next drink in a glass that matches your sense of style. Whether is a crystal-cut Glencairn glass or a classic crystal tumbler is the must-have glass for anyone who wants to make their friends envious of their awesome, classy whiskey glass.

Although it isn't a formal skill or one that requires training, knowing how to hold a whiskey glass is an important skill to have. By holding your whiskey glass the proper way you'll look cultured and sophisticated while still enjoying a wonderful drink.


How Do You Hold a Glass Like a Gentleman? 

Depending on the type of glass there are several different ways you can hold your whiskey glass. If the glass has a stem, holding it by the stem is probably the preferred way. If you have stemless glass, you should hold your glass by the base. Either way, avoid holding your glass by the body, so as not to warm your whiskey. 

What Is the Proper Glass to Drink Whiskey?

The typical glass for serving whiskey drinks is an Old Fashioned glass (also known as a rocks glass or a whiskey tumbler). However, there are specific whiskey-tasting glasses that are meant to create a three-sensory drinking experience during whiskey tastings: sight, smell, and taste. As a result, the best whiskey glass for you will be determined by your particular preferences as well as your intended use. 

How Do You Hold a Glencairn Glass? 

Drinking whisky from a Glencairn glass is the greatest way to enjoy it since it allows the whisky to breathe and gives the perfect shape for swirling and sniffing. Glencairn glasses also allow the aroma of the whisky to emerge as you sip. Because the stem of a Glencairn glass is thicker, you'll need to grip the whiskey glass with all of your fingers to keep it from slipping.

Why Does a Whisky Glass Have a Lid?

Also known as Tasting Caps, the lid is designed to help contain the vapours from your whiskey, allowing for greater concentrations of aromas whilst nosing.