The Best Old-Fashioned Glasses to Upgrade Your Cocktail Hour

From sleek silhouettes to weighty crystal, old-fashioned glasses like the Spiegelau Perfect D.O.F. will make your perfectly-balanced drinks shine.

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best old fashioned glasses
Photo: Amazon

Made with a muddled sugar cube, a dash of bitters, and a shot of whiskey, the old-fashioned is a pillar in the world of classic cocktails — as popular today as it was when it was first developed in the 19th century. "The old-fashioned embodies the definition of a cocktail: spirit, bitters, sugar, and water," says Lynn House, the spirits and cocktail educator for Heaven Hill Distillery and host of Elijah Craig's old-fashioned Week. "A great and well-made old-fashioned is all about balance, and getting the recipe right is sublime."

Also important to get right: the glassware. The old-fashioned glass, also known as a lowball or rocks glass, typically has a wide brim and a base that's weighty enough to stand up to muddling sugar as you build the cocktail. "Nothing beats the standard rocks glass," says David Vitale, founder of Melbourne-made Starward Whisky. "I like it flat bottomed and lightweight, large enough for a single crystal-clear ice cube." Still, bar and spirit industry professionals have a range of opinions on what makes a great glass, including material, cleaning, and how you plan to use the glasses. From sleek and sculptural to classic crystal with vintage style, read on for 13 picks from the pros including the best overall choice, the Spiegelau D.O.F. Glass.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Spiegelau Perfect D.O.F. Glass

speigelau double old fashioned glass
Amazon

Also available at Gilt.

From Spiegleau's Perfect Serve line, the double rocks glass strikes the perfect balance of form and function. Balanced in size and weight, this German-made set is beautiful enough to display on your bar cart and durable enough to keep for years of use. The lead-free crystal is dishwasher-safe (though the brand recommends avoiding harsh detergents and hand-washing for most longevity). Spiegelau is known for centuries of glassware craftsmanship, and this classic style was created with award-winning mixologist Stephan Hinz to serve iconic rocks drinks, from old-fashioneds to Negronis. "The glass is elegant and sturdy, which is important for restaurants," says Dawn Trabing, the beverage director for Four Seasons Philadelphia Hotel. Trabing and her team use the line at Jean-Georges, on the hotel's 59th floor, after building the cocktail in crystal beakers.

  • Material: Crystal
  • Capacity: 13 ounces

Best Value: Riedel Drink Specific Glassware

reidel drinks specific glass
Amazon

Also available at Macy's and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Brendan Bartley of Bathtub Gin Speakeasyin New York City calls Riedel's entire Drink Specific line, designed in collaboration with spirits specialist Zane Harris, "one of the most bartender-friendly glassware selections." The rocks glass, in particular, is a favorite for serving an old-fashioned. Among Bartley's reasons are its wide opening that seamlessly fits 2- x 2-inch ice cubes, its substantial weight, and "an indented etching that precisely marks [two-ounce] pours for faster and convenient measuring." The dishwasher-safe line (that also stacks by turning one glass upside down) includes seven different types of glasses, each designed for a different cocktail. Though not the least expensive set on this list, the price is very good for the quality.

  • Material: Crystal
  • Capacity: 9 ounces

Most Versatile: Bormioli Rocco Este Double Old-Fashioned Glass

bormioli rocco old fashioned glasses
Amazon

The versatility and design of the Italian glassware brand prompted Neal Bodenheimer to use it in his new cocktail book, Cure: New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix 'Em. The managing partner of CureCo. in New Orleans and partner of Dauphine's in Washington, D.C., is specifically drawn to the Este tumbler in Bormioli Rocco's bartender series. The glass is available in both 13.25 and 10.25-ounce sizes. "It is nice to have a size option in this style of glass because you need different capacities based on ice type or if you're foregoing ice for a neat pour or Sazerac," he says. Other perks of the glass, according to Boden, include its weight and versatile design. "The etching style is really adaptable with different types of ice because there is a circular shape and a square shape, so a big cube, an ice ball, or normal cubes of ice look right at home," he says. "The weight is really nice, as well, substantial without being cumbersome."

  • Material: Glass
  • Capacity: 13 ounces

Best Large: Steelite Double Old-Fashioned Glass

steelite old fashioned glass
Kitchen Restock

Miguel Lancha, a cocktail expert who oversees barmini by José Andrés, prefers a glass with more volume. "A larger-sized glass (as opposed to 10- to 11-ounce) leaves room for aroma, as well as more room for the ice to stay above the surface and for the garnish," he says. A finalist for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Cocktail Program, Lancha also adds that the glass, a 12- to 14-ounce double old-fashioned, should be just the right weight. "It shouldn't be too thick or heavy — maybe heavier on the bottom, but definitely thinner and lighter at the rim," he says. "This gives a more pleasant and elegant feel to the drink, just like it does with wine or even water."

  • Material: Glass
  • Capacity: 13 Ounces

Best Durable: Schott Zwiesel Pure Double Old-Fashioned Glasses

schott zweisel old fashioned glass
Williams Sonoma

Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond.

When it comes to glassware for her home bar, Lynn House loves using thrifted finds. "You can find the most amazing treasures," says the Heaven Hill Distillery spirits and cocktail educator. "However, if you are feeling swanky, I highly recommend Schott Zwiesel for glassware." The German glassware maker's Pure line — one of the most popular with bar and restaurant pros — uses a patented material called Tritan glass, which makes it break- and scratch-resistant, too.

  • Material: Crystal
  • Capacity: 13 ounces

Best Classic Style: Godinger Dublin Midnight Glasses

godinger double old fashioned glass
Amazon

Also available at Macy's.

The Godinger double old-fashioned glasses may be on the heavy side, says Indy Acevedo-Fowler, lead mixologist at Elm & Good in Dallas, "but I love the feel of the weight and the ridges of the crystal." Besides its aesthetics, she notes the thick base keeps the drink cold longer, and "the wide-brimmed glass allows the best of an old-fashioned cocktail's ingredients to have their shine." A hefty ice cube fits perfectly, but you can pop these glasses in the freezer to best appreciate how a drink changes "while it opens in a different way through warming to room temp," she says.

  • Material: Crystal
  • Capacity: 11 ounces

Best for Ice: Danuta Double Rocks Glass

danuta double rocks glass
Amazon

A simple band trims the top of the sculptural Danuta double rocks glass, adding a little glamour. But while the brim of the glass is more delicate, The Balvenie ambassador Naomi Leslie also notes that her pick has a "nice, heavy base that allows for easy cocktail stirring." It's on the larger side in terms of capacity so perfect for ice-heavy drinks and versatile enough to use with mixers. The dishwasher-safe design, also sold without trim, makes it an easy addition to your bar cart.

  • Material: Glass
  • Capacity: 15 ounces

Best Small Pour: Libbey Glassware 5131 Old-Fashioned Tumbler

libbey 4 ounce whiskey glasses
Amazon

Chris Morris, a master distiller at Woodford Reserve, prefers the same style of glass used at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, which boasts a long history with the cocktail. Though this style of glass isn't as popular these days, according to Morris, he prefers a four-ounce A-line glass, "because an old-fashioned calls for two ounces of Woodford Reserve bourbon and one ounce of water, so it doesn't require a large glass, which would get filled with a lot of ice."

  • Material: Glass
  • Capacity: 4 ounces

Best for Ice: Danuta Double Rocks Glass

danuta double rocks glass
Amazon

A simple band trims the top of the sculptural Danuta double rocks glass, adding a little glamour. But while the brim of the glass is more delicate, The Balvenie ambassador Naomi Leslie also notes that her pick has a "nice, heavy base that allows for easy cocktail stirring." It's on the larger side in terms of capacity so perfect for ice-heavy drinks and versatile enough to use with mixers. The dishwasher-safe design, also sold without trim, makes it an easy addition to your bar cart.

  • Material: Glass
  • Capacity: 15 ounces

Best Modern: Nude Finesse Double Old-Fashioned Whiskey Glasses

nude old fashioned glass
Nordstrom

Also available at Bloomingdale's and Macy's.

Designed in Istanbul and used at some of the world's swankiest restaurants and bars, Nude glass is handmade with beautiful simplicity in mind. "This is the perfect glass to drink an old-fashioned from because it's lightweight but incredibly durable," says Adam Montgomerie, bar manager at New York's Hawksmoor. The delicate glass also feels nice in your hand, "an underrated quality when it comes to glassware," says Montgomerie. "It can hold a large hand-cut piece of ice really nicely and a generous pour of an old-fashioned at the same time."

  • Material: Crystal
  • Capacity: 13.75 ounces

Best Minimalist: Stolzle New York Bar Double Old-Fashioned Glass

stolzle new york old fashioned glass
Amazon

Also available at Wayfair.

Sleek glass anchored by a weighty base makes the Stolzle New York Bar a popular pick among pros. "The glass needs to be sturdy enough to cheer friends with and store in the freezer, and wide enough to hold one large piece of quality ice to slow dilution and release the aroma of the cocktail." They also stand up to whiskey stones and dishwasher cleaning, as well.

  • Material: Crystal
  • Capacity: 11 ounces

Best Vintage Style: Hotel Astor "Men's Bar" Crystal Whiskey Glass

hotel astor crystal glasses
Amazon

Inspired by the storied New York City hotel bar and featuring a light-catching quilted design, these lead-free cut crystal glasses look classic. "Vintage cocktails, modern twists, and neat pours will look stunning in these glasses with a speakeasy vibe," says Fitz Bailey, mixologist for Coopers' Craft Bourbon. Plus, he says, "coming in at a pound of crystal, your drink won't be going anywhere without you."

  • Material: Crystal
  • Capacity: 9 ounces

Best Art Deco Style: Jonathan Adler Versailles Glassware Set

jonathan adler old fashioned glasses
Amazon

Also available at Neiman Marcus.

Avoid insulated old-fashioned glasses, says Monkey Shoulder brand ambassador Anna Mains. "An old-fashioned glass is designed to draw warmth from your hand into the glass itself, which in turn takes your drink on a slowly evolving journey from start to finish. The ice melts from the heat of your hands and as the drink dilutes, its flavor changes," she says. "Aromas intensify as the spirit in the glass warms as well, and smell is one of the main ways we "taste" food and drink." Mains' favorite glass in her collection is a vintage George Briard splashed with gold and black panthers. Hunt for your own vintage glasses, or channel a vintage vibe with this sharp, geometric Jonathan Adler glassware set.

  • Material: Crystal
  • Capacity: 11.5 ounces

Best Crystal: Waterford Markham Double Old-Fashioned Glass

waterford crystal old fashioned glass
Amazon

"When it comes to old-fashioneds, the glass can sometimes be as relevant to the drink as the liquid inside it," says Jessica King of Brother Wolf in Knoxville. The Italian Aperitivo bar stocks a small collection of antique cut crystal glassware that we reserve for their favorite drinks (and favorite guests), and King herself collects vintage glassware. Besides offering more insulation for a slower dilution of ice, "each glass has its own personality," she says. "The shape, cut, and thickness of the bowl of the glass may provide added sensory experience when enjoying the subtle nuances of a drink." The Markham pattern from Waterford's Marquis collection channels the vintage vibe with the sophistication you expect from the iconic crystal brand.

  • Material: Crystal
  • Capacity: 11 Ounces

Conclusion

When shopping for old-fashioned glasses, it really comes down to personal preference. Glass or crystal? Weighty or slim? Etched or smooth and sleek? But for a true classic that will stand up to years of muddling and sipping old-fashioneds, our pick is the Spiegelau Perfect Serve Double old-fashioned Glasses. Made with lead-free crystal, the glasses from the 500-year-old German brand are made to last and just look so stylish in your hand.

Factors to Consider

Material

Most old-fashioned glasses are made with glass, crystal, or lead-free crystal, a.k.a. Crystalline. The latter is harder and more durable than glass, so it withstands etching and engraving embellishments. It also refracts the light beautifully and is typically more expensive than glass.

Intended Use

When shopping for old-fashioned glasses, consider when and how you'll be using them. Are they for special occasions only, pulled off the shelves when entertaining? Or, in a pinch, will they be subbed in for juice glasses? Crystal can be made into thinner vessels than glass while maintaining durability, but daily use can take its toll on paper-thin glasses, not to mention most crystal has to be hand washed. (See below.)

If you're reserving the glasses for cocktails only, consider if you'll be building the drink in the glass or in a shaker. Traditionally, old-fashioneds are built in a glass—the thick base stands up to the muddling. Finally, consider the glass size: either a single, which holds six to eight ounces, or a double, which holds 12 to 14. Since most old-fashioned recipes call for two to three ounces of whiskey, you could keep it to a single old-fashioned glass. One caveat: single old-fashioned glasses are usually harder to find.

Cleaning

Most of our excerpts' picks are dishwasher safe, but glasses made with crystal usually require hand-washing since the material is too porous for the dishwasher. Glasses with gold or silver trim or other embellishments, as well as vintage barware, also usually require hand-washing, as the detergent and heat from the dishwasher can be too harsh for delicate pieces.

Q+A

What is an old-fashioned glass?

An old-fashioned glass is a short, lowball glass with a wide rim and thick bottom. The heavy base allows for drink makers to muddle while building the cocktail right in the glass.

How big is an old-fashioned glass?

A single old-fashioned glass usually holds six to 8 ounces, while a double old-fashioned glass holds 12 to 14 ounces. The larger of the two is more popular and easier to find on the market.

When was the old-fashioned cocktail created?

The old-fashioned was created in the early 19th century but was not given its name until the 1880s. The Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky has a long history with the cocktail, where some say it was invented.

Our Expertise

Regan Stephens is a Philadelphia-based writer and editor who has worked for nearly two decades in digital and print magazine production. She's worked on staff at People, Teen People, and Philadelphia magazines, and her writing has appeared in publications like Travel + Leisure, Fortune, and Conde Nast Traveler. She has contributed to Food & Wine for the last five years.

For this article, Regan interviewed more than a dozen bartenders, distillers, and bar experts about what glasses they use and love, and what makes them great.

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