whiskey glasses

There’s something about whiskey glasses that speak of elegance, pleasure, and history. If you enjoy the occasional glass of whisky or scotch, here’s some history of their origin. Knowing that people from the 16th century were already drinking whisky or scotch makes for a charming connection to the past and a glimpse into the times, the drinking customs, and always the people who made them possible. Read on if you want to turn back time for a little bit.

Cup of the Water of Life

Before the whiskey glass, there used to be quaiches or drinking bowls with handles on both sides. The name comes from “cuach,” which is Gaelic for a cup. Whiskey is a Gaelic word, too, if you’re wondering, and both the cup and the drink have roots in Ireland and Scotland. The first quaiches were around in the 16th century, mostly made of wood, sans the symbols that adorn the cup today. Over time, though, the higher classes had their quaich engraved and used silver for them, turning the vessels into a status symbol of wealth, while the lower classes still had quaichs made of wood. Years later, quaichs went out of circulation along with the goblets and beer steins, turning into something ornamental. These days, if you see quaichs, they’re now only used as symbolic gifts.

The Tumblers Came After

Quaichs were the first popular type of whiskey glasses. But even with engraving and using precious metals like silver, quaichs had to make way for tumblers. Tumblers were the next popular type of glasses for drinking whiskey, and they were made in the 17th century. That’s when the first one appeared, with a rounded bottom for its design. The tumbler came from the glass’ inability to stand. The glass would tumble when people put down their drinks, and the whiskey would spill out. Tumblers were easier to manufacture and cost a lot less than quaiches. By the time it was the 19th century, tumblers had overtaken the spot of quaiches, becoming the default drinking vessel for whisky, scotch, and even bourbon.

The Glencairn Finally Arrives

The Glencairn whisky glass is one of the most popular glasses for whisky tasting and drinking. The design alone tells you that there’s a story behind it. It wasn’t until 1992, though, when experts realized the importance of the glass’s shape in the drinking experience. In 2001, the Glencairn whiskey glass was officially introduced to the world. The glass is a tulip-shaped vessel that helps capture the liquor’s aroma while you drink. Using the glass allows you to enjoy and experience the drink in more ways than one.

Choosing a Glass  

If you enjoy malt whiskey and are a purist, you might want to stick to tumblers. There is a wide range of whiskey glasses available at our online store Wheel & Barrow. Whiskey glasses are meant to have heavy, sturdy bases to make them less accident-prone, so you might want to choose glasses with that detail in mind.

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