When it comes to tasting spirits, the glass matters. While you may not think there’s a huge difference, try getting the full flavor from a plastic shot glass. In order to nose a spirit, which just involves inhaling gently, a copita glass can make it easier. Plus, they make great gifts and are beautiful on your bar shelves as well. When I first started tasting spirits, I thought copita glasses were just for mezcal. After some research, I’ve learned some things about copita glasses that I thought you might also enjoy. Let’s get started!
What is a copita glass?
The word copita means “little glass” in Spanish. Initially used for tasting sherry, the small, (usually) stemmed glass also works well for other spirits. Perhaps the most important design feature is that you are able to stick your nose into it, hence the term “nosing” a spirit. They are typically tall and narrow but in proportion, like a tulip shape. The design of the glass is meant to concentrate the scent and aroma of a spirit which gives you the best conditions to experience it.
While you can technically use a copita glass to nose any spirit, people typically use them for sherry, whiskey, mezcal, fortified wines, and rum. Nosing spirits is relatively straightforward, you can learn more in this post. The most important step is to never deeply inhale quickly, you’ll overwhelm your olfactory glands. Instead, breath in slowly with your glass at a 45 degree angle and enjoy the scent wafting into your nose.
Types of Copita Glasses
We’ll start with the glass that started them all, the sherry copita. As you can see, it’s like a small wine glass. This type of glass comes with and without a tasting cap. The tasting cap just allows for the vapors to concentrate more, providing a stronger aroma when nosed. You can use this for more than just sherry. It’s also ideal for cognac and other fortified wines.
Scotch Whisky and Whiskey
If you are a Scotch whisky lover, you’ll want to use a whisky copita. These glasses have a substantial base and a gentle curve from the glass to your mouth. They are perfect for nosing and sipping any whiskies. Scotch is a type of whiskey made in Scotland. For more on how to taste whiskey at home, this guide is for you. If you’re curious about Scotch, check out this post.
If you’ve ever been to Oaxaca or tasted mezcal, you might recognize this copita glass style. Typically made of clay or hand-carved, these are my favorite style of glasses. Like mini works of art with function. As you can see, they are different from the other copita glasses. Since mezcal comes from specific regions of Mexico, it’s no surprise that the glass is made from local materials, instead of glass or crystal like the others. The flatter design allows the spirit to open up, much like aerating a wine. There are so many beautiful variations like these ones from Etsy.
Tequila and Agave Spirits
Perhaps one of the most beautiful copita glasses I own is this agave glass from Denver and Liely. It is often out of stock, so sign up to be notified when they are available. This glass can be used for mezcal but also any other agave spirit like tequila, sotol, and raicilla. As you can see from the design, it’s a hybrid between the whiskey and the traditional mezcal style copita glasses.
Hoping you found something new and interesting to add to your home bar. If you are curious about the different styles of cocktail glasses, download my mini-glassware guide to get started. Cheers!