Green’s Dictionary of Slang

snifter n.2

also schnifter
[SE snifter, a brandy glass, shaped to be warmed by the hands and for the fumes, so intensified, to be sniffed]

1. a portion or drink of alcohol; occas. of water (see cit. 1884).

[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 21 May n.p.: They bolted straight to the bar, and had two snifters of gin.
[US]G.H. Derby Phoenixiana 148: An elderly female, drawing a black pint bottle from the pocket of her dress, proceeded to take a snifter.
[US]G.P. Burnham Memoirs of the US Secret Service 98: ‘Take another “snifter,” Bill,’ suggested Drake, pouring out half a tumbler full of the bingo.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 28 Jan. 11/4: The Lieutenant used to take his ‘snifters’ at the saloon.
[US]C.F. Lummis letter 10 Dec. in Byrkit Letters from the Southwest (1989) 143: With every ‘snifter’ of that water I swallowed a tablespoon of iron rust.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 8 Mar. 4/3: Will you drink a snifter of Watson’s best / Or a long deep sinker swill?
[Aus]West Aus. Sun. Times (Perth) 23 Feb. 8/1: They say [...] that one half-drowned beer-slinger was unfortunately wearing lingerie of a lurid blue [...] that the said beauteous snifter-server had discarded evening dress.
[US]‘Old Sleuth’ Dock Rats of N.Y. (2006) 53: ‘Come, all hands, and have a little throat burner with me.’ The men were all glad enough to step up and take a snifter with the stranger.
[US](con. 1875) Jocknick Early Days on the Western Slope of Colorado 89: A big snifter of ‘the Gukenheimer’.
[Aus]Smith’s Wkly (Sydney) 11 Aug. 15/4: ‘Come up ’ere and ave a snifter, dearie,’ ses Emily. [...] ‘Come and ave a drink’.
[US]D. Parker ‘Big Blonde’ in Penguin Dorothy Parker (1982) 196: What you need—you need a little snifter.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 23: Jeeves brought it in with the before-luncheon snifter.
[US]C.B. Davis Rebellion of Leo McGuire (1953) 47: George and I took a couple of snifters to keep from taking cold.
[UK]H.E. Bates Darling Buds of May (1985) 51: Well, that’s worth a drink [...] What about a snifter?
[US]B. Hecht Gaily, Gaily 109: I felt a hand on my chest and grabbed it. There was a bottle in the hand. ‘Take a snifter.’.
[UK]H.E. Bates A Little of What You Fancy (1985) 491: How about a snifter all round?
[UK]‘John le Carré’ Smiley’s People 173: They even have a quick snifter in a café.
[Ire](con. 1945) S. McAughtry Touch and Go 67: I’ll go out, have a few snifters.
[UK]Guardian Travel 8 Jan. 17: Perfect place for a quick snifter.
[Aus]S. Maloney Sucked In 253: We’ll get our heads together over a post-prandial snifter.
[US]T. Pluck ‘Letters to Santa’ in Life During Wartime (2018) 80: [A] bloody mutton chop and a snifter of Laphroaig waiting for me.
[UK]J. Meades Empty Wigs (t/s) 712: ‘Snifter?’ Imo proposed [...] ‘I’d love to but I’ve got to get back’.

2. in fig. use, a (small) portion.

[US]Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer 104: They tell me that Interborough Rapid Transit’s worth trying a snifter of.

In compounds

snifter merchant (n.)

(Aus.) a publican.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 10 Jan. 1/1: That a Subiaco snifter merchant is [...] relying on his usual neck drought to paralyse his opponents.
snifter-shop (n.)

(Aus.) a public house.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 21 Oct. 4/7: You know what a snifter-shop toff is / A bit unaccustomed to courts.