Choosing the best liquor carafe is largely a matter of personal taste. There are many styles made from many different materials to choose from. If you are going to store the liquor in the carafe, consider purchasing one with a stopper on top. Many carafes are made to serve liquor, not store it, but there are still many styles to choose from if you want a carafe with a stopper.
Glass or crystal carafes are the most common because they preserve the taste of the liquor and it can be seen clearly through the glass. Styles range from a modern and simple liquor carafe to antique and intricately carved designs. Tinted or frosted glass is popular in both modern and antique designs.
Although not as common as glass, some liquor carafes come in materials such as earthenware or ceramic. They are often used to store liquor and have stoppers to plug the top of the carafe. The only disadvantage is that you can’t see how much liquor is in the carafe.
Many liquor carafes come as part of a set. A tray and several glasses made of the same material as the carafe may be included. Many older, antique liquor carafes come as part of a set. It is also possible to purchase a liquor carafe on its own.
Any glass container can technically be used as a carafe. In addition to liquor, carafes can be used to serve juice, water, or other beverages as well. The word carafe is often interchanged with the word decanter, although containers labeled as decanters are sometimes made out of other materials. Liquor carafes are also sometimes referred to as whiskey carafes or whiskey decanters.
One thing to be aware of is some carafes and decanters have lead in them. This can be a problem if you store the liquor. The alcohol can cause high rates of lead to be leeched out in as little as 24 hours. If you purchase a carafe with lead in it, you should only use it to serve the liquor and pour it into another container when you are done.
If you want an antique liquor carafe, you can often find them at auctions, antique stores, estate sales, or online. More modern liquor carafes are available online as well as in department stores and glassware shops. If you want a particular design, it is possible to purchase a custom made item from a glass blower or other specialty store.