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Article: A Laid-Back Guide to Liquor Decanters

Home Bar Gifts

A Laid-Back Guide to Liquor Decanters

Why Use a Liquor Decanter?
Custom Whiskey Decanter and Glasses Serving Set

Liquor decanters are one of those glassware pieces that’s been around for ages, but have you ever wondered why they’re such a big deal? It wasn’t until the 1700s the term “decanter” was coined, and were used primarily to keep sediments out of drinks and make serving easier. It still holds true to this day, other than being a standout barware piece. The right liquor decanters—be it for whiskey, bourbon, or any drink of choice—will make anyone’s life better since no other vessel can maintain a liquor’s freshness and aroma in style. To help you discern, we’re featuring this laid-back guide on all things liquor decanter related to keep your favorite spirit ready to impress at any occasion.

The Ultimate Guide to Decanters and How to Use Them

The main reason to use a decanter is for appearance and style. It's the same reason baristas bring your milk in a tiny little pitcher at an upscale coffee shop instead of sitting the carton on the table. Polish and good taste are always necessary, and a sleek alcohol decanter brings both of those qualities to your home bar. Using the bottle from the store is understandable if you are serving Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash Whiskey and want to show off the label, but for everyday spirits, a stylish decanter is the way to go.

Another fundamental decanter purpose is to show off the clarity of the spirits. Many brands of alcohol use dark colored glass that obscures the color and texture of what is inside. For liquors like whiskey, dark rum, and gold tequila, transferring the liquid to a carafe or crystal bottle enhances the beauty for everyone to appreciate.

Ship Decanter Set

In addition to these two aesthetic reasons, decanting liquor opens up the flavor in some instances. Red wine is the prime example. When you uncork a bottle of any dark red variety of wine, you want to expose it a to little bit of oxygen to help open up the flavors. The act of pouring the wine into a decanter itself will give it a chance to "breathe," but 30 minutes or more in an unsealed glass wine decanter is even better. Some argue that decanting whiskey, gin, and tequila has similar benefits, although the difference is much more subtle.

How long does liquor stay good in a decanter?

If you're using a decanter with an airtight seal, the spirits inside will last just as long as they would in the original glass alcohol container. For wine, that means only a few days, but vodka, brandy, and other spirits could last for years. Some types of decanters have a loose-fitting glass stopper, which means the alcohol will slowly evaporate, but can still be stored worry-free for months. Other carafes and decanters don't have a stopper at all. For this type of container, pour only the amount you plan to drink that day.

Which decanter shapes for which liquor?

When it comes to shapes, sizes, and materials, the options are practically endless. Possibilities include large, small, round, square, teardrop, glass, crystal, wood, stainless steel, new, old, and everything in between. As long as you follow the suggestions above for keeping your alcohol sealed, the choice is yours, but there are a few best practices to keep in mind.

1. A Striking Whiskey Decanter Set

Whiskey Decanter Set with Glasses

A striking whiskey decanter is the perfect way to make a bold statement about your drink. The hefty glasses combined with the classic decanter create a refined set that makes a perfect drinking set for strong flavors, as well as being a strong centerpiece for any home or home bar.

2. Novelty Liquor Decanter Set

Engraved Bullet Whiskey Decanter

Decanters that offer a bit of a shock value can impress, too, like this engraved whiskey decanter with a genuine copper bullet embedded in the side. As a whole, this decanter features a classic design with a wood stopper—still a lovely addition to any home bar or trolley. This kind of decanter is sure to start up a conversation at any party you host.

3. A Striking Linear Decanter

Linear Liquor Decanter
Linear Liquor Decanter

Sure, the function of decanters might just be limited to storing your favorite liquors and controlling portions, but they are well designed to look good, which are one of the benefits whiskey connoisseurs are aiming for when serving guests. Whether you store scotch, whiskey, or bourbon, trust that it’ll look and taste its best when poured into this linear crystal decanter.

4. Liquor Decanter for the World Traveler

Whiskey Decanter Globe Set with Whiskey Stones

For the world traveler, this unique globe shaped decanter is an excellent choice. Shaped like a globe with the continents etched on it, it rests on its base so it can spin. This liquor decanter is great for whiskey, rum, vodka, bourbon, or gin and very eye-catching.

5. Custom Gin Decanter

Custom Gin Decanter

When choosing a gin decanter, look for clear glass and smooth surfaces. Gin is typically colorless, but some varieties will have subtle blue or golden hues. Untextured glass has a magnifying effect that will slightly enhance those delicate variations. However, look for subtle cuts in the glass to enhance the look of the liquor when choosing a gin decanter.

Photo of a dapper gentleman holding a whiskey glass looking far away

6. Champagne Decanter for Special Moments

Crystal Champagne Decanter

Bet you didn’t know a champagne can be decanted. To that fact, this decanter will surely take your bubbly game to the next level and is the ideal decanter to have for for weddings, anniversaries, or even rooftop soirees. Its wide round design enhances the bubbles and reveals the depth of the champagne’s aromas. It’s also the perfect glassware centerpiece at any table setting, since this type of liquor decanter perfectly illuminates the table with the bubbly’s golden shades.

7. Liquor Decanter with a Vintage Vibe

Elegant Crystal Decanter

A crystal liquor carafe will give your bar a vintage vibe. Since antique cut lead crystal was a symbol of luxury for hundreds of years, many people still associate this look with the salons and parlors of yesteryear. Until the 20th century, most glassware makers used only round shapes. An intricately cut square glass decanter such as this will give you the nostalgic feel with a modern twist.

8. Elegant Twist Liquor Decanter Set

Twist Decanter and Glasses
Twist Whiskey Decanter

When presenting a wedding or anniversary gift, a crystal bottle for liquor is a trustworthy companion for the alcohol itself. With its gently twisted shape this decanter is quite elegant. Yes, I always value the gift of Grey Goose, but an heirloom serving piece will be far more memorable in the long run.

9. A Dedicated Tequila Decanter

Custom Tequila Liquor Decanter

A dedicated tequila decanter is essential, especially if you host lots of parties. Since the flavor of tequila can be intense, the aeration provided by pouring it into a decanter will take away a bit of the sting. It's also useful if you want to buy a mid-priced bottle, but avoid letting people think you are a cheapskate.

10. Always Room for a Novelty Liquor Decanter

Skull Whiskey Decanter Set

Novelty decanters are always fun to have! This spooky skull decanter is a must-have for Halloween, but it’s also cool enough to keep in your home bar year-round. The skull glasses will have you feeling like a ruthless Viking drinking the blood of your enemies from their skulls as you watch the newest season of Vikings. Rum or whiskey is best for this type of liquor decanter so that you can enjoy all of the details of the skull design, but clear liquors will look awesome, too!


11. Shotgun Liquor Decanter Set

Shotgun Whiskey Decanter Set

Turn your hunting lodge or home bar into a badass hang out with this incredible shotgun whiskey decanter! Perfect for displaying on the mantle or on the bar itself, this large decanter belongs front-and-center in the room. You and your friends will enjoy using the shotgun shell-embedded glasses to take shots or enjoy some Bulleit bourbon.

12. Decanter Set for Pairing with Cigars

Personalized Bourbon Decanter Set with Glencairn Glasses

Grab a stogie and your finest bourbon because this decanter set is perfect for enjoying the perfect pairing of cigars and whiskey. The decanter is a reverse design of the Glencairn glass so that flavors are more concentrated at the top rather than the bottom. This means you can taste even the most subtle of flavors and enjoy all of the wonderful aromas with ease. Ideal for whiskey tasting or casual drinks, this whiskey decanter is sure to impress any whiskey lover who drinks from it!

13. Best Liquor Decanter for Vodka

Personalized Vodka Decanter

Thick glass is best for vodka decanters. Whether you are taking shots or mixing martinis, you'll want to chill the vodka before, and thin glass is brittle when it gets cold, more likely to shatter. Look for thick walls and a flat base that will sit firmly on a bed of ice.

14. A Real Conversation Piece

Bull Whiskey Decanter Set
Bull Whiskey Decanter

One of the great things about novelty decanters is how good the whiskey, bourbon, or scotch looks as it takes shape in the perfect form of the decanter you’re pouring the liquor into. Take this bull whiskey decanter set, for instance, other than being a real conversation piece to a western themed or rodeo themed party, this decanter will class up your bar cart or wherever it’s placed while showcasing the brilliant clarity of the liquor.

15. Triangle Shaped Liquor Decanter

Triangle Whiskey Decanter

A whiskey decanter with a unique shape works wonders, too, like this triangle whiskey decanter. Its shape stands out from traditional decanters, adding a bit of a modern vibe to your home bar or table setting. It’s space-saving, as well, unlike most decanters, this one can fit snugly into corners or tight spaces on your bar cart or countertop. Most of all, the wide and stable base and narrow neck of this decanter make for enhanced aeration to achieve the liquor’s full flavor profile over time, which is really the ultimate goal.

Finally, remember that appearance is the most important consideration with liquor containers. Whatever you decide on, make sure it represents your taste and style. Your drinkware assortment should be a reflection of what inspires you and makes you happy, and that will, in turn, will bring the same qualities out of your party guests.

Creative shot of a man in suit holding a whiskey tasting glass and cigar in a bar


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