A snifter (also called brandy snifter, brandy bowl, cognac glass, or balloon) is a type of stemware, a short-stemmed glass whose vessel has a wide bottom and a relatively narrow top. It is mostly used to serve aged brown spirits such as bourbon, brandy, and whisky.

A snifter glass.
A pipe snifter.


The large surface area of the contained liquid helps evaporate it, the narrow top traps the aroma inside the glass, while the rounded bottom allows the glass to be cupped in the hand, thus warming the liquor. Most snifters will hold 180–240 ml (6–8 US fl oz), but are almost always filled to only a small part of their capacity. Most snifters are designed so that when placed sideways on a level surface, they will hold just the proper amount before spilling.[1]

A variant is called a pipe glass or pipe snifter, used for port and brandy.

Usage with beers

The attributes that have made the snifter a popular glass for brandy have also made it a preferred glass for some styles of beer,[2] mainly those that feature complex aromas and have an ABV measure of 8% or higher, such as imperial stout, Baltic porter, barley wine, and double India pale ale.[3]


  1. "What is Brandy & a Cognac & How Do You Pour Them". Maryland Bartending Academy. February 16, 2010. Retrieved October 16, 2010 via YouTube.
  2. "America's World Class Beer". Samuel Adams. Archived from the original on 2012-01-21.
  3. "Small Tulip or Snifter". CraftBeer. August 21, 2012. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2010.

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