When it comes to drinking trends that can weather the storm, whiskey stones have miraculously floated to the top. They’ve been on shelves for almost a decade now, and though they once occupied only a small space in the whiskey tasting toolbox, they’ve now moved front and center, standing tall alongside crystal rocks glasses and angostura bitters. Lovers of rye and single malts can be picky about the way their drink is poured, and new innovations have created exciting ways for true aficionados to drink.
What are whiskey stones made of? Whiskey stones are typically made of non-porous soapstone. These stones can be chilled to keep your drink cold without diluting the drink itself. They are a deceptively simple bar tool that perfectly blends form, function, and a whiskey drinker’s affinity for timelessness.
What are Whiskey Stones?
Whiskey stones are small cubes of clean, cut natural stone (typically soapstone) used to chill whiskey and other spirits. These stones, available in a variety of sizes, are designed to be stored in the freezer, and added to straight shots of whiskey, bourbon, or scotch, in order to chill them without the risk of diluting the drink. The best whiskey stones for keeping drinks ice cold however, are the ones that are made of stainless steel. These chilling stones of steel have gel inside them that freezes allowing them to stay colder longer than traditional stones. However many purists would swear regular soapstone whiskey stones are the best. To that we say, to each their own.
While it’s true that different drinkers have varying preferences, including some who prefer to have a little water added to their drink, whiskey stones such as these create the possibility to quickly lower the temperature, while preserving unadulterated straight-from-the-bottle taste. Since good whiskey is aged over many years, a nice bottle isn’t always cheap. Maintaining the distilleries desired balance for flavors is important, and too much water can lead to a watered down taste. Whiskey stones eliminate any and all danger of too much moisture, and still give you a tasty, chilled beverage.
Redefining “On the Rocks”
Whisky stones appeared in the first decade of the new century, around 2007. They were originally made exclusively from soapstone, a naturally occurring metamorphic rock. Soapstone is the perfect type of rock to make a whiskey stone, due to its soft composition. Once the stones have been cut and tumbled to remove sharp edges, a whiskey stone can be placed in a glass without the worry of scratches or breakage. Throughout history, soapstone has been used to create many types of kitchen ware, from mixing bowls, to fireplace surrounds, to sculpted works of art, so it’s a natural fit inside an Old Fashioned glass of whiskey. Some soapstone whiskey stones feature a semi-polished finish, retaining the muted look of natural rock. Others are highly polished, with a shiny, slick black surface. Both types of finishing work equally well, so it comes down to the individual drinkers preference in looks.
Not all whiskey stones come in regular shapes like cubes and spheres. Some come in the form of bullets! These unique bullet whiskey stones are made of stainless steel and are as manly as you can get. They’re especially entertaining to use around company for the first time because they’ll think you’re just casually chilling your whiskey with actual bullets! Anyone into guns, whiskey, or all things manly would love to use these novelty whiskey stones to keep their bourbon cool as they sip.
There are those that prefer certain types of whiskey stones over others. For example, the connoisseurs who prefer stones made of steel versus natural soapstone claim that the steel stones stay colder for far longer. This is true for some whiskey stones because they have a freezable gel inside that does indeed stay frozen for a bit longer than stones made of actual stone or solid stainless steel. This stainless steel whiskey stone set is the perfect set for an experienced whiskey drinker, but it would be a great way to introduce a new whiskey drinker to using whiskey stones.
Over the last decade or so that whiskey stones have been around, new ideas have been introduced that offer high levels of style and usefulness. Each drinker now has the option of using a few small whiskey rocks, or one large whiskey stone to add to their glass. Large, round whisky stones are available, paying tribute to the sister 21st century trend, round ice cubes. Stainless steel whiskey stones are also being made, which offer the handsome look of brushed silver. Many scotch drinkers prefer the stainless steel cubes because of the brightness it brings to their tumbler and how it chills their drink.
Balls of steel whiskey stones are also being made now which roll around in special glasses to bring out the aroma and flavor of the scotch or whiskey while rapidly chilling the liquor inside the glass. Two examples of this are the round steel ball in the whiskey tumbler above, and the special liquor tasting glass below with comes with two steel ball whiskey stones.
Not to be left out, wine drinkers can get in on the action by using stones to keep their white and rosé wines chilled. Today, drink lovers use whiskey stones in a variety of cocktails, since they offer the luxury of zero dilution. When a craft cocktail is made, with just the right mixture of spirits and garnish, the frozen stones maintain a balance of flavor from beginning to end.
While most whiskey stones are either cubical or spherical, you’ll see more unique shapes like this set! Technically called tetradecagons, these whiskey stones have 14 sides each! The unique shape is largely for aesthetics as these stones are made of Basalt, but the increased surface area will help keep your drinks cooler for longer than some cubical stones. These are often called “diamond whiskey stones” because they’re somewhat shaped like a classic diamond. They’re a little bigger and heavier than traditional whiskey stones, so you won’t need as many in your drink either.
How to Use Whiskey Stones
Using this innovative drink accessory is very simple. Simply place in the freezer for 4 or more hours. When you are ready to drink, place your desired number of whiskey stones into your glass (or glasses, as the case may be). Reach for your favorite bottle of bourbon, scotch, or blended whiskey, and pour as usual. Wait a minute or two for the temperature of your drink to go down, and poof! You’re ready to sip. The best whiskey stones will last a lifetime, so it’s worth the investment.