Tequila Glasses: From Coconut Shells to Champagne Flutes
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Tequila Glasses: From Coconut Shells to Champagne Flutes

Tequila Glasses

Tequila Glasses in all shapes and sizes. Photo: Dziana Hasanbekava/Pexels

Finding the perfect tequila sipping glass can be a difficult task. With dozens of regional varieties and seemingly hundreds of self-declared experts proclaiming the perfect glass of their own, the world of tequila glassware can feel impenetrable.

We thought we’d review some of the most popular and unique tequila glassware on the market (glassware being a bit of a misnomer, given that some of these cups aren’t made from glass at all). We’ll delve into their regional origins, and explore the flavors and aromas which each glass was specifically designed to highlight.

Caballito

Tequila Glasses

Photo: Novica

The caballito, which translates to “little horse” in English, is the iconic tequila shot glass. You’ll often see these with blue, green or red tinted rims.

This unassuming glass earned its name from folklore. When tequila was first coming into its own in the 18th century, agave distillers often didn’t have access to glassware. Instead, they would drink tequila shots from the hollowed-out tip of a bull’s horn. Story has it that these bull horn shots were drunk by plantation owners as they surveyed their land by horseback. Thus, caballito, or little horse.

Jicara

Tequila glasses

Photo: bmszealand/Shutterstock

A traditional mezcal jicara cup is not made from glass but from a hollowed-out coconut shell or gourd. Good mezcal always benefits from a few minutes to breathe, and the jicara is designed to allow as much of a spirit’s surface area to make contact with the air as possible. Of course, you just need to make sure to hold it carefully and avoid spillage.

While the jicara is a fantastic way to enjoy a quality mezcal, its origins actually date back thousands of years in Oaxaca. Historically, these half-shells were used for everything from drinking chocolate to displaying goods.

Denver & Liely Agave Glass

Tequila glasses

Photo: Denver and Liely

On the opposite side of the spectrum we have the Denver & Liely Agave Glass, a product that its makers claim to be the “longest-running research, design and development project in the companies history.”

This glass boasts a wide, sturdy bowl designed for aeration. The glass narrows, then widens once again at the rim in a classic whiskey glass design intended to trap and savor aromas. If the jicara is the traditional perfection of experiencing a good spirit, then the Denver & Liely Agave Glass is its tightly engineered glassware evolution.

Riedel

Tequila Glasses

Photo: Dulnvxiers

With a design similar to that of a champagne flute, the Riedel comes with a certain level of pre-eminent sophistication.

The typical flute design exists to keep spirits cold. It allows you to hold on to the stem of the glass without changing the taste or aromatics of the drink with your body heat. However, unlike a champagne glass, which narrows towards the rim to preserve bubbles, the Riedel’s body remains relatively straight throughout. Similar to the Denver & Liely Agave Glass, this design allows aromas to rise to the top.

Vaso Veladora

Tequila Glasses

Photo: Mezcalia

The short and stout vaso veladora is a staple for drinking mezcal throughout Oaxaca. These glasses were originally produced to hold prayer candles in catholic churches, hence its name, which translates to “candle glass” in English. In fact, you’ll find a small cross engraved on most veladoras to this day in homage to its origins.

With a wide bowl and sturdy base, this is the perfect utilitarian design for aerating spirits.

Here at Tequila Raiders, we do more than write about current events in tequila. We are the only media property reviewing tequilas and aggregating the scores and reviews of other significant voices in the tequila world in one place. If you’re interested in getting a shot of tequila in your morning email, sign up for our Deal of the Day newsletter

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