It’s the age-old issue with whiskey and other drinks. You want to serve them cool, but don’t want to have melted ice watering down your drink. Sure you can keep your booze in the fridge, but this can actually suppress the flavors if the alcohol is served too cold.
In fact, the optimal serving temperature for whisky is actually around 60-65 degrees fahrenheit, according to Flaviar.com. And while some people like to water down their drink with the aforementioned ice, too much can actually make your whiskey — or other beverage too cold for the best flavor.
So what are you supposed to do?
Over the past few years, there’s been a soaring popularity in something called “whiskey stones.” If you haven’t heard of these, they are small cubes that you put in your freezer. When you’re ready for your drink, pull them out and drop them in your favorite beverage. There, they will cool down your favorite beverage and keep things chilled — without ever melting and diluting your drink.
But if you’re a true connoisseur, then you may be curious just how well these cubes work. How cold do they get? And how long will they chill your drink? For that, we recently picked up a set on Amazon and put them to the test.
Selecting a Whiskey Stone
Search on Amazon for “whiskey stones” and you’ll find no shortage of options. From the classic stainless steel cubes to whiskey “bullets” to actual pieces of stone that are hand cut, there are tons of options at any price point.
For our test, we selected a set of the classic simple cubes that were marked as “Amazon’s Choice.” At only about $6, they won’t set you back much. They also come in a nice little box and have a velvet bag to hold them in the freezer. In other words, if you’re planning to use these for a gift, the set offers a nice presentation. (Note that the pictures on Amazon show a set of tongs included, they weren’t in our set.)
Each stone measures one inch across and our set came with four. That’s enough for one person, but you’d definitely need more if you wanted to drink with another person. They are also rounded on the corners so that they won’t scratch your favorite glass.
While the listing on Amazon suggests chilling for 2-3 hours, we put our cubes in the freezer overnight to give them plenty of time to chill. We used the enclosed velvet bag to keep them together in the freezer. When we pulled them out, they were definitely cold and our infrared thermometer registered a temperature of 38 degrees.
So how well did they work?
Pouring a glass of whiskey (which we store at room temperature), it had a base temperature of about 72 degrees. Dropping in the cubes, we found that all four didn’t completely fit in the base of the glass. We were left with three cubes completely submerged and one about halfway in the whiskey.
Taking an initial reading, the temperature had cooled down to 54 degrees — nearly 20 degrees cooler. After three minutes the temperature has dropped lower to a chilly 53 degrees.
But what about staying power? After seeing the initial cooldown from the whiskey stones, we checked in every 15 minutes for the next hour. Overall the temperature rose slowly over the hour, from a low of 53 degrees when we first put the stones in the glass to a temperature of almost 65 degrees after one hour.
And here’s a chart of the temperature changes during our one hour test:
In short, you can expect your drink to be cooled — but don’t think it will make your beverage ice cold the way traditional ice would do.
Whiskey Stone FAQ
Did the stone change the test of the drink?
According to our tester, even after sitting in the drink for an hour, there was no difference in taste of the whiskey from normal. It was simply cooled off from room temperature with no aftertaste.
Will other whiskey stones cool longer or make the drink colder?
While we haven’t tested other sets, it’s reasonable to think that different materials may have different properties (for better or worse). Other materials may get colder or stay colder for a longer period of time if you’re a slow sipper.
How many stones should I use?
We bought a set of four, but actually only three would fit in the base of our glass. Still, we’d suggest using four as the more stones as they will help keep your drink colder for longer. If you are buying whiskey stones for a bar set, we’d suggest buying eight or sixteen so that everyone can have a set to enjoy with their drink.
You can shop for whiskey stones on Amazon. There are dozens of sets of all shapes, sizes, and price points.