In essence, a shot glass is designed to hold a small amount of liquor and is typically used as a glass for drinking, although it can also be used as a unit of measure when making a mixed drink. While shot glasses are known to have been used in Italy as many as 200 years ago, the manufacture and use of shot glasses became popular in the United States during the years of Prohibition. Still today, Americans lead the world in the use of shot glasses and the collection of this type of barware. Most shot glasses hold an average of 1.5 ounces of alcohol although there are variations such as the pony shot containing 1 ounce and a double shot, which contains 2 1/2 ounces, not 3 ounces as the name would imply. Aside from the unit of measure, shot glasses can take many different forms and perform a variety of functions.
Bar Shot Glasses
Bar shot glasses are unique from other novelty and collectible glasses and are differentiated by their thick walls and base. Typically used to drink a single dose of whiskey, rum, or tequila, bar shot glasses meant to withstand the blow of being slammed onto the bar after the shot is consumed. The thick base is used to trick patrons into thinking they are receiving more alcohol than they actually are which is why these glasses are sometimes referred to as cheater glasses. While some bars use glasses like those detailed below, the barware form is preferred for its durability.
Other Common Types of Shot Glasses
Barrel shot glasses have a very unique and the distinctive shape like a whiskey barrel. These glasses are typically heavier than other types of novelty glasses, making them more durable. Often, these glasses have advertisements of whiskey companies imprinted on the front.
Cylinder shot glasses are taller than the other types, often making them difficult to display when compared to other types of glasses. Even so, this type of glass is popular with collectors and drinkers alike, with the latter preferring them over types because the cylindrical shape allows the liquid within to easily pour out of the glass when being consumed.
Flared shot glasses measure 3” tall with a flared top measuring about 2”. The walls are quite thin, especially at the top, meaning they are prone to breakage. Like the cylindrical shot glasses mentioned above, flared glasses often cause display problems for collectors. Sometimes, flared shot glasses have decorative panels molded to the interior, often used for advertisements.
Tonic shot glasses have what is often described as a megaphone shape, which makes it interesting to look at and drink from. The name is actually derived from the larger size of glass typically used to drink tonic drinks, and have a size of about 3.5” tall with a narrow bottom, slightly wider middle, and approximately 1.5” mouth.
Novelty Shot Glasses
With an increase in the number of collectors and drinkers purchasing shot glasses, there is an infinite variety of novelty shot glasses available. These come in every shape, size and material imaginable, and although plastic versions are made, they are generally not very well liked. Edible shot glasses are becoming quite popular and come in flavors like chocolate and candy cane, for example. These types of glasses are meant to be used to accent the flavors of the drink within, allowing collaboration between the alcohol and the glass to achieve the perfect shot. Test tube shot glasses are popular in bars and it’s possible to buy a set to keep at home. Shot glasses can also be customized with a birthday greeting, wedding date, and other clever saying to commemorate a special day or occasion. Drinking in a dim room? Consider a glow in the dark shot glass as a way to keep your eye on the prize while having a good time with friends.
Shot glasses come in a variety of forms and functions and choosing a shot glass is as specific to an individual as it is to any other factor. Just because a glass is meant for a specific purpose, doesn’t mean that’s the way it must be used. Overall, shot glasses are fun collectibles that are functional for every day use.