I have not been asked about whiskey stones today, but I don’t like them
No, haven’t been asked about whiskey stones or whiskey rocks today, but I get asked a lot. I was asked about them yesterday and chances are I’ll probably be asked about them tomorrow. So in the hope it leads me to being asked about them less, here’s exactly what I think of them.
Here are 5 things I don’t like about whiskey stones:
1. They cool your whiskey
Yes, I know, this is ‘a feature, not a bug’, of whiskey stones but I don’t like cooling my whiskey, or my whisky for that matter. As things get cooler (or warmer) some flavours and aromas are enhanced while others are subdued. A lot of people enjoy that, but most of the time I don’t. If you do want to cool your whiskey, the next point is for you.
2. They are not very good at cooling whiskey
It’s a simple principal – you put the whiskey stones in your freezer where they get cold, then you put them in your whiskey so they can make the whiskey cold. The thing is, stone is not very good at transferring heat. If you really want to cool your whiskey, use ice. Ice is really good at cooling things as the outer layer melts away revealing the colder inner layers. If you want to cool your whiskey without dilution, then put your whiskey in the freezer.
3. I like my teeth
Have you ever been drinking something with ice and towards the end you tip your glass and suddenly all the ice tumbles forward into your face? Me too. Now think about that but with actual rocks like whiskey stones, which have a much higher density than ice. Bam.
4. I like my glassware
If you have ice and whiskey in your glass, every time you move the glass the ice is going to move around and clink on the sides of the glass. If you have rough whiskey stones and whiskey in your glass, every time you move the glass the stones are going to move around to clunk and scrape on the side of the glass. Over time, this leaves scratches and dulls the glass.
5. They are not inert
Water running past rocks and pushing them against each other slowly erodes those rocks making them smooth over time. The water also picks up and suspends little bits of the rock and the minerals inside, changing the taste of the water. The same thing will happen in your whiskey if you use whiskey stones. The effect here may be tiny, but it is certainly non-zero. I don’t use mineral water if I want water in my whiskey because minerals react with other things in the whiskey and change the flavour.
But it’s up to you
If you like whiskey stones, I’m glad you’ve found something you like and I’m genuinely pleased you are enjoying them. But there’s literally nothing about them that I like, they aren’t even good at their intended purpose of cooling whiskey! Ice, your freezer or the stainless blocks are all far more effective, and your freezer won’t hit you in the face.