HOW DO WHISKEY STONES WORK?
HOW DO WHISKEY STONES WORK?
Do you put rocks in your whiskey? It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Whisky stones, a set of four or five stone cubes designed for cooling down your whiskey without diluting it, became practically ubiquitous in the last decade. Most whiskey drinkers have a set or two kicking around, perhaps gifted by a friend or tucked into a promotional pack you bought some holiday season.
Whiskey stones are typically made of stone, but there are also stainless steel versions. The concept is that you freeze the stones, then add them to a glass of whiskey. The frozen cubes chill the drink without diluting it like melting ice cubes would.
It’s a neat idea, especially if your room temperature is just a little bit warmer than you’d like your whisky to be. The drawback is that drinking whiskey with whiskey rocks in it can, at times, feel a little dangerous. Careful those hard little cubes don’t smack you in the teeth! When you’re done, don’t forget to give them a rinse and return them to the freezer to be ready for next time.
If you’re not stoked about adding steel to your whiskey, you have other options. One alternative is to keep your favorite whiskey glass in the freezer, which will help you enjoy a cold drink without ice or stones.
The other option is to just go ahead and add ice–but just a little. The reason aficionados often eschew ice isn’t just because it dilutes the whiskey. It’s also because it lowers the temperature of the whiskey, and lower temperatures can mute flavor.
However, if you’re judicious with the ice and use just a small cube or even part of a cube, you can get the best of all worlds: A cool (not cold) glass of whiskey opened up with a few drops of water, with nary a stone to be seen. Single malt fanatics might cringe, but depending on what you’re drinking, it might be just right.
MAYBE ICE IS OK SOMETIMES
We are obviously committed to cask-strength spirits. Everything we release goes into the bottle at barrel strength, without chill filtration or artificial coloring. But we’re also believers that cask strength spirits can sometimes benefit from a touch of dilution, if only to experience the spirit in a new way.
Take Barrell Seagrass, for instance. Neat, it’s a ripe fruit bomb, with apricot, melon, and plum all jockeying for attention. But with a few drops of water, the fruit tones become more integrated and candied, morphing into papaya, orange peel, and ginger while a creamy richness emerges.
Barrell Bourbon Batch 030 is likewise a perfect candidate for a little water or shard of ice. Straight, this 117.32 proof blend of straight bourbon whiskeys distilled and aged in Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Wyoming is a warming, focused homage to warm spices, melding apple pie spices and coriander with fennel and chai. With water, mature oak character comes to the fore with walnut, leather, and smoke.