Humanity’s fascinating and sometimes fraught relationship with mind-altering substances predates recorded history. Fully integrated into mainstream society, alcohol’s extensive presence doesn’t always do its symbolic importance justice. Those three words, “take a shot,” roll off the tongue so easily that we hardly even consider the enigmatic origins behind the shot glass.
The internet abounds with urban legends about how the iconic glassware came to be. “Though the term ‘shot glass’ was not attached to the glassware’s earliest iterations, the 1800s were littered with references to tiny glass receptacles used for holding whiskey,” explains online bar resource A Bar Above. “Many of these early versions of the shot glass had relatively thin glass; the thick glass models that we see today weren’t common until after prohibition.”
Some sites say the shot glass phenomenon came about in simpler times where families would set small glasses out on the table in case one person came across the shot which had slain their dinner. By facts and figures, its first written mention came about after the dawn of the 1900s. Shot glasses rose to greater mainstream prominence around the 1940s. Today, they’re so prolific they still somehow live in the shadows, unnoticed in plain sight at every souvenir shop and watering hole and Friday night pregame.
Participate in your birthright, the human act of getting fucked up on fucking something with your own personal flare. Shot glasses are an indicator that the fun is really about to ignite, that the party is just getting started. With an entire world of options at your disposal, we’ve collected a diverse range of the absolute coolest glasses on the internet for your purchasing enjoyment.
5 Styles of Shot Glasses to Keep in Mind
Before we get started, let’s go over the six types of shot glasses out there en masse, useful information for deciding which of these additions will grace your next party. Consider the presentation of glassware just as important as your drink menu!
Single or Standard Glass
This is the one you know and love. A standard or single glass holds one single shot. The precise measurements of this standard vary from country to country—Germany’s surprisingly ranks a little small at around a quarter of an ounce, and Japan’s falls on the higher end, closer to two ounces. Meanwhile, America ranks on the higher end, with a standard shot of about 1.5 ounces. The standard, often rendered in thick glass, takes an iconic shape recognizable in every establishment.
These glasses have a taller, thinner silhouette then their more widespread, stouter counterparts. Their height gives the illusion of drinking a higher volume of alcohol, but because they’re thinner, the measurements typically amount to the standard. Sometimes known as shooter glasses, this shape proves better for those who want to drink their shots a little more slowly. From an aesthetic perspective, they’re also more modern, lending an air of sophistication (most of the time.) If you’re looking to spice up the festivities even more, note that this shape works well with evaporating drinks, which means they’re the best choice for flaming shots. Do with that information what you may.
Lesser known, this style of shot glass offers multiple utilities. The pony glass received its name from a shorter size—this shallower chalice only holds about an ounce of alcohol on average. These ponies aren’t tiny, they’re often workhorses, very useful for mixing drinks that require smaller servings of several liquor varieties. Pony glasses offer an excellent opportunity to experiment with stronger spirits (like absinthe or Everclear, pick your poison) that are overkill in everyday quantities.
This type of glass looks a lot like a standard offering, but subtle distinctions in its design render it a breed of its own. The fluted glass usually holds the standard amount of liquor, but with a simple fluting feature which tapers from its top down to its base. According to Imprint.com, this particular style of shot glass traces its origins to high-quality whiskey—American companies crafted them with specific shapes and nifty little handles. Consider this shape if you consider yourself a big whiskey man.
“In rounded shot glasses, the walls of the glass curve down leaving a 10 centimetre difference between the lip of the glass and the bottom rim of the glass,” reads the Wikipedia entry about this particular type of glass, which is apparently rather popular in Europe. The appearance of this more unique shape gives an air of coziness great for wintertime liquors or dinner parties at any time of year. The softness of rounded shot glasses seem to convey that one is really among friends.
The cheater glass is an interesting and kind of funny trope throughout the shot glass landscape. This glass resembles the standard glass’s silhouette essentially identically, but it cheats a little bit, as its name alludes. Best for those wary of drinking too much, the cheater glass features a thicker glass base so it actually holds less alcohol (two thirds of a standard serving!) without changing its appearance at all. Always nice to have extra hardware around to accommodate all manners of circumstance.
The Absolute Coolest Shot Glasses on the Internet
Quaffer Glass Double Bubble by KegWorks
KegWorks.com has served as the internet’s one stop shop for draft beer dispensing equipment and other glassware for spirits since 1998. The online retailer offers an incredible array of wares for the home or commercial bar, from beer taps to glassware to pitchers. This awesome concoction of their own ingenuity harnesses construction and physics to offer both a shot and a chaser in the same glass. “The bottom half of the Quaffer holds 2.25 ounces of your chaser, and the top half holds a 1.25 ounce shot of your favorite spirit to shoot,” explains its description. This shot glass is too cool to pass up.
Bar Drinkware Chemistry Set by Wild Eye Designs
If you’re looking for shot glasses with a snarkier edge, then consider this scientific set from Wild Eye Designs. Take mixology to its most literal level with this set of 15 beakers that includes nine test tube glasses, three lab flask glasses, a lab flask mixer, an elegant stir stick, and a convenient carrying tray. The test tube shot glasses are slightly smaller than standard, holding one ounce, while the lab flask shot glasses are closer to average at two ounces. These shot glasses will blind your fellow weekend warriors with science and a little something extra.
Marble Onyx Shot Glasses by BlueRhinoCo
This bespoke set of six rounded stone shot glasses is often sold out, available only in rare quantities. Consider an artisanal approach while you’re looking for the absolute coolest shot glasses on the internet–anyone making their own products can give you something so unique you’re sure to be the only one who has it. Rendered in the sophisticated round shape, these stone shot glasses are made of a light green onyx, perfect for keeping your shot chilled. The stone’s properties promote healing rest and relaxation, an excellent pairing with sharing any spirit of your choice. Bottoms up!
12 Gauge Shot Glasses by the Old Southern Brass Store
Tall, thin, and with a shock of color and sheen, these novelty shot glasses come in a set of four vessels that’ll easily hold the standard shot amount of 1.5 ounces and can even hold a full 2 ounces of liquor if filled to the brim. They’re modeled after authentic 12-Gauge shells, so you can live multiple angles of the saying “take a shot” at once. The red portion comes in a durable plastic with metal embellishment at the bottom. Proceeds from these shot glasses are also donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Himalayan Salt Tequila Glasses bcy Brett Cramer
Just when you thought that taking shots of tequila couldn’t get any more fun, these Himalayan Salt shot glasses are made available through online maker market Uncommon Goods. Yes, you heard us right–these reusable shot glasses are made from authentic, high-quality, food grade Himalayan pink salt. That means every shot you take outta these glasses will have that coveted salty kick built right in. Salt is antibacterial, so these shot glasses are self-cleaning, in a way. Just make sure to keep them free from lingering moisture–otherwise the salt will erode. Their color varies due to their natural state, making sure any set of these four Himalayan salt tequila glasses is completely one of a kind.
JoyJolt Revere Shot Glasses
This set of eight standard sized shot glasses has a perfect five star review history on Bed, Bath & Beyond. These shot glasses make an excellent conversation piece thanks to their hyper-modern design–the glasses themselves come in a unique triangle shape with ad hoc extra details protruding in pleasing places, a Piet Mondrian painting come to drinkable life. Even though these classy at-home accents are dishwasher safe, they come with a year-long manufacturer’s warranty to offer complete peace of mind. Consider them a treasure in homage to the grand history of drinking, a story we carry on today everytime we say those words: “Let’s take a shot.”