An old man holding a glass of whiskey by the base

The Proper Way To Hold A Whiskey Glass: A Gentleman’s Advice

An old man holding a glass of whiskey by the base

Whiskey glasses come in all shapes and sizes, and learning the proper way to hold a whiskey glass is an art in itself. The best way to hold a rocks glass is by the base with your fingers and thumb to secure it. This type of grip prevents the whiskey inside from warming up.

In this post, we’ll teach you the various ways to hold a whiskey glass with grace and dexterity.

Stemmed Whiskey Glasses

Whiskey glasses such as Docks, Glencairn, and Snifters, are known for having the classic stem design. Most of them have a deep bowl with a narrow rim and a wide base. This style ensures that the drink's aroma is released but controlled to not overpower the drinker's sense of smell.

  • Holding Whiskey Glass by the Bowl

Man holding stemmed whiskey glass

Many scenes from spy movies tend to have this grip on their whiskey glasses because it exudes power and sex appeal.

Place your middle and ring finger under the bowl with the stem in the middle. This grip ensures the glass is safe and secure as you swirl your drink. This method works with Docks and Snifters as they are known to have thin stems, while Glencairn glasses have thick stems that might not be comfortable for your fingers.

  • Holding Whiskey Glass by the Stem

A man holding a glass of whiskey by the stem

Holding the stem of the whiskey glass may radiate sophistication. Place your thumb and two or three of your fingers on the stem. The rest of your fingers should be resting on the glass's foot or gently hovering in the air.

Since a Glencairn glass has a thicker stem, you will have to grip the whiskey glass with all of your fingers to make sure it doesn’t slip.

  • Holding Whiskey Glass by the Foot

A man holding a glass of whiskey by the foot

The whiskey glass’s foot is not as common for holding, but some do this to get a better swirl — the lower the grip, the bigger the swirl. 

Swirling promotes the scent to evaporate in the whiskey so that the drinker can experience the complex aromas. It also helps to see the drips of the whiskey known as the legs. These whiskey legs help determine the drink's strength by watching how they fall back into the golden pool.

Use your thumb as a lever on top of the foot of your whiskey glass. And let the rest of your fingers support the base of the foot. You may also grip the stem of your glass with your thumb and forefinger if you’re unsure of your thumb acting as your only lever.

  • Holding Whiskey Glass by the Rim

A dominating presence can be emanated when you grasp the rim of your whiskey glass. Though not many people use this grip because of the possible smudges, it can be useful if you decide to have a scotch on the rocks.

On opposite ends of your rim, use your thumb and one or two of your fingers to surround the glass. Let the rest of your fingers hover in the air for that touch of regality. This grip gives you a more controlled swirl than holding the whiskey glass by the foot as you can feel the drink’s temperature and moisture in the palm of your hands.

Stemless Whiskey Glasses

Glasses like the Rocks, Highball, and Neat are more associated with whiskey connoisseurs. The Rocks, most especially, have made many entertainment appearances, with some having simple designs while others have intricate patterns. 

The Highball glass is used for whiskey cocktails to give out a bit of whimsy for serious drinkers

With its unusual shape, the Neat whiskey glass functions as a funnel for the harsher aromas to stay within the glass while the lighter aromas float out to delight your senses.

  • Holding Whiskey Glass by the Base

Man holding a glass of whiskey by the base

Holding by the base is best for short whiskey glasses like the Neat and the Rocks. Meanwhile, Highballs are taller, so there’s a danger of losing your balance and spilling your beautiful whiskey cocktail all over.

Use your four fingers to balance the whiskey glass from the base with your thumb at the opposite end to secure it in place. Many photographers have taken pictures of whiskey glasses this way to show off the umber hue and the glint of the drink.

  • Holding Whiskey Glass by the Body

Two people holding a glass of whiskey by the body

The body of any whiskey glass is designed at just the right size for your hand to be able to grip it. Holding the glass by the body is the perfect grip for highball whiskey glasses because it is the safest than the previous styles. The risk of warming up your drink is not likely since whiskey cocktail recipes are filled with ⅓ of ice.

Grip the body of the glass with your thumb on opposite ends of your four fingers. You can press your palm against the glass or let it hover. This technique is the safest way to grip any stemless whiskey glasses, but it risks finger smudges on the surface of the glass.

  • Holding Whiskey Glass by the Rim

Using this type of grip prevents warming up drinks with ice like scotch on the rocks. Though whiskey is usually served at room temperature, many indulge in drinking it with ice for the cool and refreshing feeling after a hard day's work.

With your thumb on the rim, let two or three of your fingers grip the other side and let the rest either hover beside your whiskey glass or above it, depending on which fingers you are using for your grip. You can also surround the rim with all your fingers as your palm is poised above your whiskey glass.


From internal anesthetic to gentleman’s aesthetic, whiskey has become one of the most iconic drinks for refined men. With all of its uses, whiskey was given its popular name, which means the water of life. 

Be it neat, on the rocks, or mixed in cocktails, the smooth and crisp bitter-sweet taste of whiskey is best enjoyed if you know the proper way to hold a whiskey glass. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment down below.

If you want to know more about holding different glasses, check out this article on how to hold a wine glass.


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