A Taster’s Club Guide to Tequila Glasses
Tequila, the mezcalian, drinkable agave plant that brings life to parties and reminds everyone who drinks it that yes, hangovers suck. We now know the types of tequila, how to drink it, and tequila’s origins, but now we need to choose our tequila glass of choice. Just like we did with whiskey glasses, we’re going to review the best tequila glasses for shots, sipping, and savoring.
Tequila Glass Anatomy: What makes a tequila glass special?
Not every tequila is meant to be ingested with a shot glass. With the proper tequila glass, you can sip a glass of the finest añejo in luxury. The proper glass can make or break the tequila tasting experience.
The basic tequila glass structure draws inspiration from a wine glass.
Glasses with expansive bowls have better aeration and are easily swirled without spillage. Longer, larger bowls with narrow rims focus tequila vapors to the nose, highlighting the fruity and sweet notes of the tequila, and decreasing harsh aromas.
Depending on how you enjoy your tequila, depends on whether or not you’ll choose stem or stemless. For sipping tequila, a long stem is necessary as it’s important to hold your glass by the stem to avoid heating the tequila.
According to Riedel, the best drinking glasses have cut (or thin) rims allowing the liquid to flow smoothly onto the tongue versus rolling into the tongue (which can highlight the acidity and harshness of the tequila). The rim also holds in and focuses the aromas to the nose.
These terms define the components of a tequila glass.
Types of Tequila Glasses
You’re probably used to the tequila stereotype: tequila’s either in a shot glass or a cocktail. But finer tequilas deserve a fine glass.
COPITA (WINE TUMBLER)
- Expansive middle to gather aromas
- Narrow rim concentrating the aromas
- Easily fits in your hand
- Tall enough to swirl your tequila around
- No stem contributing to unintentionally warming the tequila with hands
THE NEAT GLASS
NEAT (Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology) glass was the result of a freak accident in a glass blowing factory. Originally made for whiskey, the spherical base fits a single 1.5 ounce service of liquid. Its neck diminishes the intense alcoholic aromas, and the flared rim puts your nose in the perfect position.
- Shallow bowl for breathing
- Sturdy base
- Wide rim
- Design was inspired by traditional Mexican Copita glasses
- Glasses are too large for some individuals
THE ROCKS GLASS/TUMBLER/OLD-FASHIONED GLASS/LOWBALL
A traditional whiskey glass, but they’re equally viable for tequila drinking. This style of glass is perfect for sipping variations: neat, on the rocks, or mixed in with your favorite cocktail. With the glasses’ uniform design, there’s an equal distribution of aroma vapors upon smelling. The scent isn’t as focused as it is with a copita glass, but you’re able to smell holistically.
- Adaptable for any drink style
- Sit comfortably in most hands
- The stable base helps retain the temperature of the tequila
- Limited ability to separate the aromas
Reserve this glass for times of desperation or pre-gaming. The shot glass can hold between 1.25-1.5 ounces. According to legend, the original shot glass had thick walls filled with lead for feather quills. Shot glasses are best for blancos (white) or joven (young) tequilas because they’re less expensive and have less complex flavors.
- Easy to slam down as a shot
- That’s it
- Don’t focus aromas
- Too small for sipping or savoring
- Often poorly designed
- Narrow bowls
- Wide rims
What are tequila glasses made of?
There are three materials typically used in tequila glassware. They are:
- Glass: glass is the main material used for tequila glasses.
- Crystal: a level above glass, crystal provides clarity, luster, style, and charm.
- Tritan plastic: this material is resistant to drops and is highly affordable.
The Best Tequila Glasses: Five Recommendations from Taster’s Club
Every one of our recommended glasses are specifically designed for tequila. We consider: weight, feel, and overall aesthetic in making our recommendations.
RIEDEL VINUM LEADED CRYSTAL TEQUILA GLASSES
These glasses share characteristics similar to champagne flutes. They’re tall, elegant, long-stemmed, and hold up to 6 ounces. What’s better? These Riedel glasses are dishwasher safe so after a long night of hosting a dinner party, you can rinse these bad boys out, toss them in your dishwasher and go to sleep. They add a stylist twist to tequila sipping. The rim allows only the harsh vapors to evaporate so they don’t overwhelm the pleasant aromas.
Where to buy: Riedel
This tulip-shaped glass is adaptable to a variety of liquors like whiskey, scotch, and especially tequila. The glass itself is made of a lead-free crystal. It’s a whiskey icon and solidifies your status as a tequila connoisseur. The tulip-shaped bowl allows for a brilliant swirl while the small rim concentrates the vapors to the nose.
Where to buy: Amazon
NEAT ELITE SPIRITS GLASS
Another crystal glass, this accidental beauty is where form meets function meets fashion. The large base is easy to hold in most hands. The glass itself is made of a lead-free European crystalline weighing in around 12.3 ounces. Another glass with an ergonomic shape perfect for swirling and enhancing subtle aromas.
Where to buy: Amazon, NEAT Glass
LIBBEY 5.5 OUNCE BRANDY GLASS
Enhances the experience of brandy, whiskey, bourbon, cognac, and amber-colored tequilas. The broad glass bowl aerates the tequila, and the rim tapers upward, funnelling aromas directly to the senses. The glass features a short stem perfect for holding and a round bowl for your hand to cradle around. The rim is laser-cut, offering chip-resistance. All are lead-free and BPA-free and designed for dishwasher use.
Price: $39.99 (set of 4)
Where to buy: Amazon, Libbey
ROOT7 HIMALAYAN SALT SHOT GLASSES
What would a list of tequila glasses be without shot glasses? These glasses are made from pure pink Himalayan salt. Salting the rims is unnecessary with these naturally disinfecting glasses. Perfect for tequila, this shot glass gives a salty flavor to your palate, creating a balance of salt+tequila+lime.
Price: $30.00 (set of 4)
Where to buy: Amazon
HONORABLE MENTION: FIESTA BRANDS RECYCLED-GLASS
Less about function and everything about fashion, these colorful shot glasses are made from recycled glassware. It’s like drinking a fiesta. These are similar to the ubiquitous Novica shot glasses, but a lot more festive.
Price: $43.95 (set of 6)
Where to buy: Amazon
Tequila Glasses – FAQs
WHAT ARE THE USES OF A TEQUILA GLASS?
Glasses are a vessel to drink tequila. You can use them for any occasion: dinner parties, superbowl parties, celebrating important life milestones, etc. Whatever the occasion, fine glassware is necessary. Glasses allow you to take your tequila any way you want.
CAN YOU SWIRL TEQUILA LIKE YOU SWIRL WHISKEY?
Absolutely. Swirling isn’t reserved for wine or whiskey. Swirling the tequila gives the alcohol its “legs” (drips that form as the liquor recedes down the sides of the glass).
Legs tell you the ABV (higher ABV is related to slower-moving legs) and the age (heavier legs indicate older tequilas).
Swirling promotes evaporation. Aromatic chemicals move towards your nose. Without evaporation, you won’t be able to smell the tequila.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF TEQUILA?
There are five types of tequila:
- Blanco (white)
- Joven (young)
- Reposado (rested)
- Añejo (aged)
- Extra añejo (extra aged)
WHAT IS A CRISTALINO?
Don Julio brought cristalinos into the world in 2012. The tequila is aged for 12+ months and then charcoal filtered to produce a clear (cristalino) spirit combining the complexities of añejo with the agave brightness of blanco.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO DRINK TEQUILA?
The best way to drink tequila is however you want to! There’s no wrong way and it depends on the type of tequila you’re drinking. Some like to drink tequila the Mexican way (with salt and lime) and others add citrus and hot sauce to pair with the fruity and spicy notes of tequila.