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Why Do Whiskey Glasses Have Thick Bottoms?

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Whiskey glasses have their own unique look. The most apparent, unique feature is the thick bottom of a whiskey glass. You may be wondering why a whiskey glass has a thick bottom. Is it just for appearance? It is actually for a number of reasons. Let’s explore them.

Whiskey Glass Structure

First, it is crucial to understand the structure of whiskey glasses. Although there are plenty of different types of whiskey glasses with many different structures, the most common whiskey glass is the old-fashioned whiskey glass, also known as a whiskey tumbler. This whiskey glass is a short, thick-bottomed glass that can be used for serving whiskey straight, on the rocks, or in cocktails. There is also a taller version of the whiskey tumbler called the highball, which is perfect for whiskey cocktails that involve more non-alcoholic mixers and ice.

orrefors-old-fashioned-whiskey-glass
Orrefors Intermezzo 8.3 Ounce Old Fashioned Whiskey Glass
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whiskey-snifter-tasting-glassesThere are also types of whiskey glasses that have thick bases but are separated by a short stem from the glass. These tasting glasses are the Glencairn and the snifter glass. They are more delicate, but they are perfect for whiskey tastings and are often found at high-end restaurants.

glencairn-whiskey-glass
Glencairn Whisky Glass, Set of 2 in Twin Gift Carton
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Now that we understand more about the most common whiskey glasses, let’s get into why they are made this way.

Whiskey Temperature

Perhaps the most important reason whiskey glasses have thick bottoms is to keep your drink from warming. Temperature plays a significant role in drinking whiskey. If the whiskey gets too warm from your hand, you risk altering the flavors and aromas of the whiskey.

This is especially true of whiskey tumblers because many people use this glass to enjoy ice cubes with their whiskey. The thick base prevents the ice from melting too quickly. This is for a good reason, as hardly anyone wants to drink diluted whiskey because their ice cubes melted too fast.

whiskey-glass-slamWhiskey Glass Strength & Durability

It seems rather obvious that a glass with a thick bottom would be stronger and more durable, but there is more to it than just that.

In terms of durability, the thick base of the glass keeps rough handling from compromising or breaking the glass. If you think about shot glasses being slammed down on a bar after a quick shot, you might be very thankful that the glass has such a thick bottom and no one’s hand turns up bloody. Whiskey glasses were created with this concern in mind.

Muddling Ingredients

The old-fashioned glass (aka the whiskey tumbler) can be used for muddling ingredients for whiskey cocktails. The method of muddling involves using a muddler, which is like a pestle, to add non-liquid ingredients to a glass of whiskey. This tool could do a lot of damage to the base of a glass without a thick bottom. Thankfully, those serving whiskey should not have to worry about breaking glass from muddling due to the added durability and strength of a thick bottom.

A crystal glass cocktail muddler
MOFADO Crystal Cocktail Mixing Glass Set
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On the Rockswhiskey-stones-crystal-glass

Additionally, whiskey tumblers serve whiskey on the rocks. Ice and whiskey stones could do damage to a whiskey glass if the glass is not strong or durable enough. Whiskey stones especially could do damage to a glass, considering you are placing frozen metal or stone into a glass. Thankfully, the thick bottom of the glass usually helps prevent occurrences of glass damage from happening.

A brown wooden box with a golden latch and golden wording that reads "Whiskoff" sits in the back of the image. Two half full crystal whiskey glasses sit on two dark square, gray stone coasters. One of the glasses has a small silver tong sitting on top of the glass rim. In front of the two glasses are 8 cubed small gray stones.
Whiskey Glass Set of 2 with Whiskey Chilling Stones
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Whiskey Glass Feel

The durability of the whiskey glass is felt by the person holding the glass because of the thick and heavy bottom. The glass feels more robust and durable in the person’s hand and this helps them feel comfortable with their glass compared to handling a lightweight, delicate glass. This adds to a more carefree experience.

highball-whiskey-glassWhiskey Glass Stability

The whiskey glass’s stability is necessary to help prevent drinks from being knocked over. For example, the highball glass is a tall, slender glass that could be knocked over fairly easily due to its height and high center of gravity. Although, this has been mitigated with a thick, heavy base that helps keep it stable in these situations. But highball glasses are not the only unstable whiskey glasses that benefit from a thicker bottom.

rcr-highball-glass
RCR Opera Highball Glass
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Whiskey glasses that are used for nosing whiskey are particularly vulnerable as well. Nosing whiskey glasses, such as the snifter glass, is designed so that you can swirl and aerate the whiskey capturing all the aromas and flavors of whiskey. They feature a shorter stem and a hefty base so that the glass does not become as unstable as it would be with a long stem and a small base.

orrefors-snifter-glass
Orrefors Intermezzo Satin 8.6 Ounce Snifter Glass, Set of 2
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If you’re in the market for whiskey glasses that are strong, durable, and stable with thick bases, Glass.com has many excellent choices for you to select from. Enjoy your whiskey right with a new whiskey glass of your choice. Let us know what your favorite whiskey glass is in the comments below.

Please note, this article may contain links to Amazon products. As an Amazon Associate, Glass.com earns from qualifying purchases.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Isabella Taffera

Isabella Taffera is an author for Glass.com

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