So you're at your favorite bar — the lights are low, and you can hear the clanging of billiards as music plays in the background. The bartender asks what you'll have, and you say, "Whiskey on the rocks".
He proceeds to make your order as you wait patiently, looking around and taking in the atmosphere of the establishment.
It's been a long day and you need that drink. The bartender finally brings you the whiskey you've waited forever for. But something is wrong.
Instead of ice, there's a black circle in your drink.
"What is this?" you ask the bartender, and he proceeds to tell you all about whiskey stones and how they are better than ice.
If you are this man, then whiskey stones vs ice is a debate you haven't even heard of. Until now. So grab a glass and let's find out the pros and cons of using whiskey stones vs using classic ice.
So First Things First...
If you are new to the debate, chances are you don't even know what whiskey stones are. Well, they are just that. Whiskey stones are simply chiseled pieces of stone that are chilled and made to take the place of ice.
Whiskey stones are usually made of soapstone but can also be made of granite (a type of igneous rock that is also nonporous) and stainless steel.
The Pros and Cons of Whiskey Stones
One of the biggest issues of ice is dilution, which can negatively impact the taste of the whiskey. Not so with these whiskey rocks, as they do not add any negative flavors to your drink because it is a nonporous rock.
Whiskey stones do not melt, thus they make for a more sustained chill to your drink. They are made to maintain their desired chill for a longer period than ice. But this is both positive and negative because the glass must sit for a few minutes for the chill to circulate in the drink.
The Pros and Cons of Ice
Traditionally, ice has been used to chill Whiskey to its optimal drinking temperature which is between 15 to 18 degrees Celsius (60-65 degrees Fahrenheit).
Ice helps to chill the whiskey to the best temperature that the drinker prefers. When the ice is put in your drink, it absorbs the heat, and the ice melts. And even though they help to maintain a constant temperature for longer, whiskey stones can never be as cold as ice. No pun intended.
For whiskey drinkers who do not mind having a bit of water mixed with their whiskey, this is okay. Some people prefer to have their drink diluted.
To others though, the ice melting and diluting the whiskey are egregious. The dilution causes the altering of the whiskey flavor.
Ice is also porous, which means that other aromas and flavors can seep into the ice and affect the taste of your drink.
Think old freezer filtration system smell. Yeah, that one. And then as it dilutes the whiskey, depending on the minerals in the water that can affect the overall experience as well.
The Verdict of Whiskey Stones vs Ice Cubes
In the conversation of Whiskey Stones vs ice, the final decision is based upon the preference of the drinker. Whiskey stones do an effective job of chilling your drink for extended periods and give a better aesthetic to your glass.
However, ice gives you a better chill factor, do not take forethought to use, and is always a classic.
Now if you are the man at the bar and you had the choice of Whiskey Stones or an ice block, what would you do?
Either way, do yourself a favor and get some whiskey on the rocks, you'll be glad you did.
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