How Do Whiskey Stones Work (And Are They Better Than Ice?)

Image of diy distilling the best whiskey stones

Whiskey stones have mysteriously risen to the top of the list of drinking trends over the past decade.

And, apart from making a great stocking filler for your alcohol loving friend, are these these humble rocks actually worth the investment?

Whiskey stones are made from food grade materials such as stainless, granite and soapstone, so they will not affect the flavor of your drink. They key attraction of these stones is they can provide the same cooling effect of ice, but won’t melt and dilute the beverage. If you drink your spirits neat, and not adding water is important to you, then whiskey stones are the way to go.

What are whiskey stones?

Whiskey stones are stone or metal objects that can be used to chill whiskey. They are cooled in the freezer before being added to your drink in the same way as ice. The most significant advantage of utilizing whiskey stones is that they do not dilute your drink because they do not melt. This allows you to appreciate your whiskey in its purest form or the “sweet spot” when the mixer and whiskey are perfectly balanced.

The majority of whiskey stones are cubed or spherical and constructed of soapstone, granite or stainless steel. Some stainless steel whiskey stones contain a gel that freezes, allowing the stone to keep its cool temperature for more extended periods.

The Whiskey Stones are a relatively new creation, having first appeared in the mid-2000s. Initially, they were only available as carved soapstone, a solid, non-porous metamorphic rock. Because soapstone is a soft stone, it may easily be cut into squares or spheres without leaving any harsh edges. Whiskey stones have evolved in appearance over time. Large whiskey stones, metal whisky stones, and whiskey stones with odd shapes are now available.

How do whiskey stones work? (the science behind them!)

Whisky Stones are designed to gradually cool your whisky without diluting it or causing it to chill too quickly. Three Whiskey Stones drinking cubes will gently cool your dram to no less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, substantially reducing the harmful effects of quick cooling while slightly removing the sting. And they act in the same manner every time.

Here is the science

Heat goes from comparatively warmer locations to colder areas to equalize the temperature differences. Ice cubes in whiskey absorb the ‘heat’ (while we’re being academic and scientific, it’s not natural heat — the ethanol molecules trigger the same nerve endings that respond to heat, so it feels like it burns). Some ice melts as the heat is absorbed, but the remaining ice cube remains cold enough to continue the process.

How do you use whiskey stones?

  • When you’re not using your whisky stones, please keep them in the freezer. 
  • To achieve the maximum benefit of the stones, they must be stored for at least four hours before being utilized. 
  • Remove your stones from the freezer and place as many as you wish in your glass when ready for your whiskey.
  • Pour your whisky, then wait a few minutes for the stones to absorb the heat from the drink before consuming. 
  • After that, you’re ready to relax and enjoy a cool whisky drink. 
  • After use, rise and dry (don’t use soap)
  • Allow them to dry after that. To absorb any remaining moisture, use a clean dish towel or a paper towel. 
  • Then put your stones back in the freezer until you’re ready to use them again.

Whiskey Stone Materials

Soapstone – Soapstone is an excellent material for absorbing cold temperatures. It’s also somewhat soft (in terms of rocks), which can help protect your most valuable glasses. 

Granite –Granite Whisky Stones are precisely what their name implies. Granite, like soapstone, is a naturally occurring stone. Getting granite whiskey stones can provide you with additional aesthetically lovely options, but they all work similarly to soapstone. 

Stainless Steel – Steel is another common material for making whiskey “stones” due to its conductive characteristics.  This type of material is the best for chilling a drink quickly and keeping it icy. 

What material is best for a whiskey stone?

Stainless steel whiskey stones are the best. In comparison to ordinary rocks, these stones feature a gel within that freezes, allowing your whiskey to stay colder for longer.

Purists, on the other hand, will always consider ordinary soapstone to be the best whiskey stones. Soapstone was initially used to make cookware, so it’s an obvious choice for a whiskey glass. Soapstone whiskey stones can be semi-polished (for a natural rock effect) or highly polished (for a gleaming black surface). Finally, everything comes down to personal preference.

Are whiskey stones better than ice?

If you ask any whiskey connoisseur, one thing is certain: they have strong beliefs about how to drink their favorite spirit. Some people enjoy it plain, while others prefer it with a dash of water, yet others require it to be cold. If you fall into the last category, there’s even more significant disagreement over how to cool your drink.

The idea is that you want to cool your drink without diminishing the flavor. Many drinking accessories, such as whiskey stones, claim to do just that, making them one of the best presents for a whiskey connoisseur, bartender, or party host. But, in terms of chilling and maintaining a cold temperature, are they genuinely superior to ice?

In the debate between Whiskey Stones and Ice, the drinker’s preference is the deciding factor. Whiskey stones freeze your drink for longer lengths of time while also improving the aesthetics of your glass. 

Ice, on the other hand, has a higher chill factor, requires no planning, and is always a classic. 

What would you do if you were the bartender and chose between Whiskey Stones and an ice block? 

Get some whiskey on the rocks for yourself; you’ll be pleased you did.

So, are whiskey stones worth it?

Whiskey stones are relatively inexpensive. Therefore, I believe they are an excellent complement for anyone who enjoys drinking whiskey. You won’t have to continually buy new ones because they can be used many times. A single pair will last you for many years. 

If you don’t want to use whiskey stones, you can use ice, which is still more effective at cooling your whiskey. We briefly discussed the disadvantages of adding ice to your whiskey above, as it adds a lot of water to the mix, diluting the whiskey. When utilizing whiskey stones, this is certainly not the case.

As a result, the whiskey stones ensure that your cooling drink tastes consistent from start to finish. Because the whisky has not been diluted, your first sip will taste exactly like your last.

Why Whiskey Stones Are The Best Gifts For Whisky Lovers

Now that we’ve covered the most frequently asked questions about whiskey stones, let’s discuss whether whiskey stone gifts are worthwhile purchases for that particular person. It doesn’t matter if it’s only for yourself. It all boils down to whether or not they want their whiskey cold. Of course, unless you have sensitive teeth, I don’t understand why anyone would want it served at room temperature. 

There is something for everyone, as you can see from this guide and the numerous different whiskey stones we’ve talked about. Customized stones may be engraved with a specific message or the recipient’s (or your own) name, making for an excellent gift.

What Are The Best Whiskey Stones To Buy?

Now that you’ve learned everything you need to know about whiskey stones, it’s time to have a look at some of the most popular whiskey stones on the market.

We tested out 15 different brands to try to find the best, and one we can recommend to you guys!

Unfortunately, that proved too hard, so instead, we’ve got 3. The best stainless steel, soapstone and granite whiskey stones on the market.

I use whiskey stones all the time in my distilery and home bar (not just for Whiskey but for Gin and other spirits too!). My 3 favorite stones are these;

  • Best stainless steel whiskey stone – Rabbit Whiskey and Beverage Jumbo Chilling Stones
  • Best Soapstone Whiskey Stone -Teroforma Classic
  • Best Granite Whiskey Stone – Outset Chillware Whiskey Stones

So, What’s The Conclusion?

It’s entirely up to you whether you prefer whisky neat, with water, or on the rocks. 

We’re not here to tell you how to enjoy your dram. We’re here to educate you so you can make the best decisions possible. We do know one thing: you won’t know what your perfect dram is until you’ve tasted everything the whisky world has to offer. So, go ahead and explore like a whisky scientist until you find the ideal match.

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