When it comes to cocktail glasses, I’ve tested (and maybe broken) more than a few in my lifetime. And while I do have many variations that I enjoy, Simon Pearce’s version is probably my favorite of them all.
Now, before we dive in, we should talk about why your glass matters. Half the fun of spirits is all about the experience around them — the craftsmanship that went into the spirit, the ritual of building the cocktail, and (probably most importantly) the visual and haptic experience of the drink in the glass. But even if you’ve got all these elements together, there’s still a distinct difference between an Old Fashioned in a red plastic Solo cup and one in a well constructed and hefty glass.
There are scads of different shapes and styles of barware glasses on the market, from Glencarin tasting glasses to beer steins. The choice of glass will vary depending on what and how you’re drinking something, which is why I personally have a couple examples of pretty much any glass you could want. But when I go to grab a cocktail at the end of the day, I grab a double Old Fashioned glass because to me it’s the perfect size and shape for what I want to drink.
But even in this specific category of glass, there’s a lot of options on the market. Wall thickness, rounding of the edges, and even the design or pattern on the walls of the glass itself are up for debate. In my opinion Simon Pearce threads the needle perfectly.
The first thing you notice with a cocktail glass is the weight of it. With a thinner glass it feels far too brittle to me, but the Simon Pearce glass feels like you could use it to beat someone to death and it won’t even take a scratch.
As for those thick walls, they are capped with a rounded lip. This specific aspect is going to be more of a matter of taste, but to me I prefer a thick walled glass with a rounded lip. It just seems to sip a little better than the thinner, sharper walled versions. I do know that the impossibly thin walled cocktail glasses are popular, but to me it just feels like I’m constantly going to break it. And I definitely can’t put it in the dishwasher — even the standard Ikea glasses have about a 1% chance of breaking each wash cycle.
Speaking of the walls, I appreciate that there’s no decoration around the sides. On my first set of cocktail glasses there was a diamond pattern etched into the glass and while it may look very art deco and attractive to some, it just isn’t my taste. I prefer simplicity and clean lines, which the Simon Pearce glass delivers. And especially when I’ve spent some considerable time making a cocktail, I want the cocktail to be the star of the show and not the bedazzled glass it’s in.
The other major factor is the size of the glass. This is a double size glass (as in, sized appropriately for a double shot of whiskey), and while Simon Pearce sells a single size as well I find that for me the double is the perfect size. It’s big enough to fit a common large cube of ice, but not so big as to be unmanageable. And in my opinion that’s about as much of a cocktail as I prefer to enjoy before I want to transition to something else.
If that were the extent of the case — that this was a well designed glass that I liked the styling of — then it would probably be a 4 out of 5 for me. A little on the expensive side, especially since I can get mass produced glassware that’s close for a fraction of the price. But the kicker is that Simon Pearce hand crafts every single piece of glassware they produce.
When you’re drinking whiskey, a spirit that is heavily reliant on the craftsmanship and care that the distillers put into the process, don’t you want to drink it from a glass that was made with that same care, attention to detail, and (as Simon Pearce puts it) perfect imperfection that comes from a handmade piece of functional art?
In my opinion, this is pretty much the ideal cocktail glass for a whiskey drink. It’s simple yet classic, letting the contents be the star of the show instead of being too ostentatious itself. The solid construction means that it probably isn’t going to need replacing anytime soon. And the handmade quality of each piece mirrors perfectly the unique qualities of the craft whiskey you’re pouring into it.
Simon Pearce Ascutney Double Old-Fashioned Glass
Overall Rating: 5/5
In my opinion it’s the ideal glass for any whiskey drinking.
Ditto, everything you said. I’m lucky enough to have a set of 4 Norwich whiskey glasses hand-blown by Simon himself around 30 years ago. They differ from the current style – they have a more pronounced curve at the top as well as a more pronounced foot, they differ slightly in size, and he etched his name into the bottom of each. They are my prized glasses – I generally wait until I have something special to pour into them, and it makes the experience even more special. Thanks for the article!