“There are many different quality levels of tequila and mezcal and to fully appreciate the aroma and flavor of a high-quality tequila, appropriate glassware is key,” says Charles Marvil, the managing director for MAD Hospitality, owners of MAD Tacos.
There are copitas, flute glasses, and glasses for margaritas and mules. “You can also choose a glass based on the type of tequila you are drinking and the drink itself,” continues Marvel.“If you're drinking tequila añejo, you can use a whiskey glass, because this type of tequila can be an alternative base spirit in recipes that call for brown spirits like whiskey.You can also choose a glass based on the type of tequila you are drinking and the drink itself. For instance, if you're drinking tequila añejo, you can use a whiskey glass, because this type of tequila can be an alternative base spirit in recipes that call for brown spirits like whiskey.”
So what glasses are you opting for? Here are our favorite options.
Historically Modern Designs Oaxaca Tequila Glass
Great for tasting
Hard for shots
While shots and margaritas are all well and good, if you’re drinking tequila or mezcal seriously, you’re going to want a proper way to sip. These glasses riff off the design for a copita, the traditional Mexican glass for drinking spirits, with a slightly more modern look. You’ll find this style of glasses throughout Mexico—they’re based on prayer candles used in the Catholic church—as a way to highlight the complex flavors of mezcal.
These glasses are the best of both worlds. They are designed specifically to highlight the complex flavors of mezcal but can double as shot glasses in a pinch. It has a shallow bowl, and a sloping lip to express the aromas of the spirit and deconcentrate the alcohol vapor—it’s an excellent glass for tasting nuances.
Each hand-blown design has brilliant clarity with its own individual subtleties. You can also opt for glass finished with volcanic ash for a more traditional ceramic appeal. Each glass measures just under three inches high and can hold 2.7 ounces of agave spirit.
Price at the time of publish: $45
Number of Glasses: 2 | Capacity: 4.5 ounces | Material: Glass
"Choosing the right glass not only enhances the overall appearance of the drink, but can actually amplify the overall experience of taste,” explains Bertha Gonzáles Nieves, CEO and co-founder of Tequila Casa Dragones. “In professional tastings, we look for body and color, aroma, taste and finish. Glassware should always be considered as a complement to your spirit or cocktail, because it can certainly intensify your experience and make it even more exciting."
Best for Shots
Deco Himalayan Salt Shot Glasses, Set of Four
Built-in salt chaser
Great for gifting
Very salty - masks the flavor of salt
If shots are your preferred method of sipping your tequila, these glasses give your spirit a bright, salty finish—who needs the salt chaser? They’re made of handcrafted Himalayan salt to give you a good saline kick as you throw back a shot.
Each glass is hand carved from all-natural pink salt in Pakistan and is FDA-approved. A point: because the salt is harvested naturally, colors will range from crispy white to sunset shades of pink.
Note that while these are fun (and cute) options for sinking shots, they are not dishwasher-safe: if liquids are left in the glass, the salt will erode and start to disintegrate the glass. That said, the glasses are lined with a PET plastic insert to prevent that issue—just give your tequila a rinse after you sip it!
Price at the time of publish: $25
Number of Glasses: 4 | Capacity: 1.2 ounces | Material: Himalayan salt
How do you hold your glass? Slightly far away from your face, “which makes nosing (smelling) your tequila a more pleasant experience instead of a startling one!” says Amber Dobos, bartender and brand ambassador for Villa One tequila. “At this distance, the unique aromas like cooked agave, tropical fruits, or toasted pecans have the space to be appreciated properly. So many hours (and often years) of work have gone into the contents inside your glass, so finding the right vessel should not be an afterthought!”
Best for Tasting
Riedel Ouverture Tequila Glass
Excellent for tasting
Not ideal for cocktails
“The perfect gift for every tequila lover and spirits connoisseur this holiday season is a set of the Riedel Ouverture Tequila Glasses,” says Roberto Rosa of Gran Centenario Tequila. “Most people have never tasted tequila in a proper tasting glass—usually enjoyed neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail—but these flutes take the experience of tequila to another level. Designed specifically with tequila in mind, these glasses really open up the liquid, allowing the alcohol to evaporate ever so slightly so that all the aromas can shine through for the ultimate sip and experience.”
Jose Valdez, the Maestro Tequilero of Tequila Partida, agrees. "Good tequila should be sipped, so I highly recommend investing in your glassware. While I'm tasting, either while working or simply enjoying with friends, I love these. The flute glass helps to appreciate the organoleptic properties of the tequila, including the color tone, brilliance, body and cleanliness. The narrow diameter of the glass encourages the concentration of aromas, enhancing the different layers.”
Roger Villalba, the head mixologist at Montage Los Cabos, finds that these glasses give the spirit its “whole body” and finds it “helps tequila express its natural aromas.”
Price at the time of publish: $38
Number of Glasses: 2 | Capacity: 6 ¾ ounce | Material: Glass
“I usually use tulip-shaped wine glasses for tasting,” says Michael Jiminez, General Manager of Pawn Shop tequila bar. “Any stemless, stemmed, or Champagne flutes will work in a pinch, because they need to pinpoint the aroma to the nose while sipping.”
The Wine Savant Tequila Glasses Set with Agave Decanter
Beautiful display piece
Great for infusions
Every spirits lover needs a good decanter, and this one is specially crafted for agave lovers. Inside each decanter is a beautifully blooming green agave plant, inspired by the aged agaves that make mezcal, sotols, and tequilas. The elegant plant is made from blown green glass.
The decanters hold 850mL: perfect for an entire bottle of your favorite 25-ounce tequila bottle. It’s topped off with a 100% all-natural cork.
The decanter is an excellent way to display and serve your favorite agave spirits. Alternatively, a decanter is an excellent way to infuse tequila. Drop citrus, pepper, or herbs into the bottom of the decanter to add an extra layer to your spirit.
Price at the time of publish: $60
Number of Glasses: 6 plus decanter | Capacity: 3 ounces | Material: Glass
Best for Mezcal
Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal Copitas
Carrying case included
Made in Mexico
Specific to mezcal
Only good for sipping straight
A shot glass may be your preferred glass for sipping back tequila, but agave spirits are more traditionally served in copitas: small bowls made out of clay. They’re beautiful, traditional, and excellent at concentrating the aromas of a spirit. Plus, with a low profile, they’re incredibly easy to store. The glasses are specifically made in Oaxaca for the enjoyment of mezcal.
Pick up several and use them to compare and contrast different styles of mezcal and tequila. Or, host your friends and have a blind tasting—compare tequilas from different regions, or look at the difference between a young and old tequila. Each set includes six glasses and a case to store them.
Price at the time of publish: $43
Number of Glasses: 6 | Capacity: 1 ounce | Material: Clay
Best for All Spirits
Glencairn Whisky Glass, Set of 6
Specific to spirits
Great for tasting
Beautiful presentation box
Technically a whiskey glass
Hand wash only
“If there’s one within reach; I prefer to drink tequila out of a Glencairn Glass,” says Beau du Bois, Bar & Spirits Creative Director at Puesto. “Originally and primarily made for whisky tasting, the wide bowl base of the Glencairn glass allows you to take in the color and texture of the spirit while the tapered neck focuses the aromas.”
Marcelino Figueiras, the beverage director of Hecho Restaurant Group, agrees. “I like being able to hold the bottom of the glass without having my hand warm up the belly of the glass and by extension the spirit. The wide belly of the glass allows the aromatics being released from the spirit to gather, while the narrowing towards the top of the Glencairn concentrates the aroma. The shape allows you to smell the distillate from a bit farther away, but in a higher concentration than your average rocks glass.”
Price at the time of publish: $38
Number of Glasses: 6 | Capacity: 6 ounces | Material: Glass
Best for Cocktails
Dos Sueños Hand Blown Mexican Glasses Hand Blown Mexican Drinking Glasses
Made by hand
Slight variations between glasses
For Tanteo Tequila master blender Neil Grosscup, stemmed glasses are the best for tasting tequila neat. “However, I also like to taste tequilas mixed in a margarita served in a rocks glass. The mix of lime and agave brings out different aromas in a way you don’t get with tasting tequila neat.”
Jason Baldacci, the cofounder of Bellagave Infused Tequila, also likes opting for a classic rocks glass. “It allows the aromas to dissipate properly, cutting down on the burn factor that can muddy the act of nosing spirits. Not to mention, they just feel good and solid in the hand.”
These glasses are lovely, made by hand by Mexican artisans and finished with a recycled glass rim perfect for perching a lime on.
Price at the time of publish: $46
Number of Glasses: 6 | Capacity: 14 ounces | Material: Glass
If you’re looking for an excellent glass to pair with mezcal and tequila, you can’t beat a copita, a traditional Mexican bowl for drinking tequila. Designed to highlight the complex aromas and flavors of agave spirits, you can’t go wrong with the Oaxaca Tequila Glass. If you’re looking for an elevated tasting experience, experts strongly recommend the Riedel Ouverture Tequila Glass.
What to Look For
Tequila glasses come in a full range of sizes, from one-ounce shot glasses to fourteen-ounce tasting glasses. The smaller glasses are ideal for sipping and savoring small quantities, while the larger glasses are more ideal for things like cocktails and full pours.
Just as glasses range in size, the styles can be drastically different. There are serious tasting glasses for the serious agave fans, shot glasses for the revelers, and cocktail glasses that are more universal. There are traditional Mexican glasses, and glasses that can be used for all types of spirits from around the world.
Consider how you consume your tequila. Is it among friends in cocktail form? There are beautiful rocks glasses that will pair perfectly with that occasion. Do you like to compare and contrast tequilas? Perhaps a set of copitas so you can host a tasting. If you're nerdy about agave, there are precise glasses for sniffing and swirling.
What is a tequila glass?
The definition of a tequila glass is dependent on what you're looking for! The essential tequila cup is a copita, with an expansive middle and a narrow rim. Beverage professionals who focus on a variety of spirits will lean towards a flute or a Glencairn glass to concentrate the aromas. If you’re looking for cocktails, a margarita glass or rocks glass will do all very well.
Are whiskey and tequila glasses the same?
Not technically, but both will offer similar benefits. Both are designed to express the aromas and highlight all the nuances of a spirit, whether that’s agave or grain-based. Tequila glasses will differ slightly, but if you’re in a pinch, you can certainly use a whiskey glass.
How many ounces are in a standard tequila glass (and how much should you fill it)?
A standard sipping glass will sit around 3 ounces in capacity. However don’t fill it that high, you want to save an ounce or two of room to be able to swirl the liquid and open up the spirit.
How do you serve tequila in a tequila glass?
All you need is glass and tequila! From there, you can add accouterments — like salts, citrus, or crickets — if you wish.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats
Kate Dingwall is a seasoned wine and spirits writer and trained sommelier and spirits expert. She holds her WSET and Bar Smarts and has written for publications such as Wine Enthusiast, Liquor.com, and Eater. She has even harvested her own agave in Jalisco (though she wasn’t particularly good at it). For this article, she interviewed seven agave spirits experts.