What are whiskey stones and are they worth it?
If you’re a whiskey lover, you likely have your favorite way to sip your libation of choice. And whether you like to drink whiskey neat or prefer a splash of water, chances are the question has come up whether whiskey should or should not be chilled. If you count yourself among the camp who does prefer it chilled, what’s your preference on cooling down your bourbon? Many people believe that you want the glass to be chilled to avoid diluting the taste of the whiskey. Enter: whiskey stones, a drinking accessory that claims to do just that. But what are whiskey stones and are they worth it? Read on and decide for yourself.
What are Whiskey Stones?
Whiskey stones are not a new accessory having been around for almost 10 years, but they’ve started to become popular for bourbon drinkers and as gifts for whiskey lovers. Whiskey stones are shaped into standard ice cubes and made of a nonporous soapstone. The soapstone is said to not affect the taste and aroma of your drink. All you have to do is pop them into the freezer for at least four hours before you add them in your glass.
Do Whiskey Stones Do as They Say?
The idea behind a whiskey stone is that it should chill your drink without adding water, which can dilute the overall flavor. The thermodynamics behind the stones is such: chilling a drink involves transferring the heat from the drink to the cooling object, in this case the stones. Because whiskey stones don’t melt when they’re in the beverage, the overall temperature of your drink may not be sustained for very long.
Whiskey Stones vs. Ice, Which One is Better?
If you like to take your time sipping on a quality bourbon and want it to remain chilled the entire way through, whiskey stones may not be the ideal solution for you. While they cool a drink from the start, the chill isn’t maintained like it is with ice. An ice cube absorbs the heat around the whiskey, which is what causes it to melt. The melted ice cools the liquid around it and since whiskey stones don’t melt, they just absorb the heat which makes the stones cool off and become warmer. A better option may be an ice mold or an ice ball, which will chill your whiskey continuously without excessive dilution.
Why Water in Whiskey Isn’t a Bad Thing
Don’t be deterred by the idea of adding a little water to your whiskey. The ice will not affect the taste of your drink or “water it down” as you might think. Many folks drink their whiskey with water because the splash of water actually brings out the nuanced flavors of whiskey. So in this case, water is a key ingredient and the extra ice will make the flavor better.
Whiskey stones may be optional but a little ice or splash of water is something every whiskey lover should drink to.