As the popularity of whiskey continues to climb, the diligent shopper must look deeper into the, ahem, barrel, to find great gifts for whiskey lovers. Luckily, whiskey stones are a great way to give them something long lasting and useful. So, what are whiskey stones?
They are small, smooth pieces of stone, and sometimes metal, that can be chilled in the freezer for a few hours, then added to a dram of whiskey to bring down the temperature without adding ice. They come in a variety of sizes, with finishes suited for any whiskey lover, and can be used for chilling any beverage. Whisky stones can be used in bourbon, scotch, or rye, and help maintain the integrity of the distilled flavors.
Benefits of Chilled Whiskey
There are a number of benefits to chilling whiskey. First, lowering the temperature allows the flavors to “blossom,” or open up, especially in aged whiskey. Some experts suggest that you take a few sips at room temperature, then chill, so you can taste the different layers of flavor. The best whiskey stones help the temperature drop quickly, and keep it lowered for 30 minutes or more, so you can enjoy a wide range of notes within the spirit. Chilling whiskey is also helpful to take the edge off, and lessen the “punch.” New whiskeys and others that extremely high-proof can be too strong for some drinkers. Just add a few cold whiskey rocks to cool it off, and you can enjoy with ease.
Adding ice to any beverage dilutes the strength. Although a little bit of water won’t harm whiskey, it can get watered down fast, especially if you like to sip your drink over time. If you are in the habit of refreshing your drink before it’s empty, icing it each time can lead to a high amount of water, which dilutes the flavor. If you have reached for the top shelf single malt scotch, this needs to be avoided. Whisky stones stay cold for a very long time, yet never melt. They can hang out in your glass all night long, and each time you add a splash or two, they’ll work hard to keep the temperature down and your drink highly flavorful.
Materials and Uses
The first whiskey stones were made from, well, stone. Soft rock, like soapstone, is cut and tumbled to remove sharp edges, then washed to remove any dust or impurities from the surface. Not only does the stone maintain it’s frozen temperature for several hours after being removed from the freezer, but it gives a solid, natural impression, just like good whiskey. Other types of stone are now used and feature artwork and designs that celebrate the personality of the drinker. Stainless steel whiskey stones are also popular, with a sleek, modern look. No matter what the material, you will get the benefits of cold cocktails without the watered down taste.