When You Don't Have A Traditional Whiskey Tumbler, Reach For A Wine Glass

For some, the act of drinking a good glass of whiskey is more like an art form, one that may even verge on ritual. After all, the warm, amber spirit requires rounds of expert craftsmanship to produce, from its meticulous distillation to its well-maintained aging process. So consuming it should call for the same degree of reverence. Indeed, while there are plenty of whiskey-infused cocktail recipes out there to enjoy, a true connoisseur may prefer to drink their dram unadulterated save for perhaps a drop of water to bring out the whiskey's flavor.

Like art forms or rituals, whiskey drinking even comes with its own lineup of accouterments, from whiskey stones to, of course, the all-important crystal tumbler. However, you don't need fancy drinkware to sip your whiskey like a pro. For example, if a high-quality bottle of the spirit falls into your lap and you don't have a traditional whiskey glass to drink it from, you can simply reach for a wine glass in order to enjoy it to the same effect.

In fact, a wine glass with a wider bowl and more narrow rim is the preferred vessel for some alcohol experts, including Jota Tanaka of Fuji Gotemba Distillery, producer of Fuji Japanese Whisky. According to Sommelier Edit, Tanaka recommends savoring the spirit in glassware specifically designed to serve white wines like sauvignon blanc. And when you think about it, it totally makes sense.

The shape of a wine glass can enhance the whiskey's flavor and aroma

Like wine, whiskey is a sip rich with layers of flavors and aromas, and the type of glassware you use when consuming it can be the key to unlocking all of the hidden notes. First off, a white wine glass's silhouette is comparable to that of another go-to whiskey vessel: the Glencairn glass. Commonly considered the absolute best type of glass for drinking bourbon whiskey, the Glencairn has somewhat of a tulip shape with a curved middle and narrow rim that creates the perfect conditions for sniffing and sipping.

While the short and stout tumbler is the traditional choice for whiskey served on the rocks or in cocktails like the Old Fashioned, its wide mouth and uniform shape aren't necessarily the best choice if you'd like to appreciate a robust dram. As Jota Tanaka explained to Sommelier Edit, the shape of a wine glass, which features a wide bowl and tapers towards the rim, allows the liquid "to breathe, open up, and share its complexity."

The wider bowl also gives drinkers the opportunity to swirl the whiskey. Again similar to wine, this allows the spirit to interact with oxygen, promoting the evaporation of ethanol and the release of more potent aromas. The thinner opening of the glass, meanwhile, forces those molecules to converge and concentrate towards the top, providing the optimal opportunity for your nose — and taste buds — to drink it all in (quite literally).