Guide to Using Whiskey Stones Instead of Ice | Any good?


You have probably heard about whiskey stones before, or else you may not have found this article at all. But there are many questions that surround the use of whiskey stones. The biggest of them being: why use whiskey stones in the first place?

Why use whiskey stones?

Whiskey stones are used to cool your whiskey without watering it down. Whiskey stones are effective when you prefer to drink you whiskey at a lower temperature than room temperature, but do not want to dilute your drink.

There are many ways to drink whiskey, and to each their own. Due to new whiskey accessories like whiskey stones, there are new choices that we as whiskey drinkers can make. If you prefer your whiskey chilled, you probably have been adding ice and therefore drinking your whiskey “on the rocks”. Well, now you can drink your whiskey “on the stones” and cool it without diluting your beloved drink.

Best material for whiskey stones

There are three common materials that are used for whiskey stones. The first and most popular one is soapstone. Soapstone is a soft, non-porous, odorless and most importantly: tasteless material and therefore suitable as whiskey stones. Because it is soft, it will prevent damaging your glass. It will not scratch nor easily break it.

Another material that is sometimes used is granite. They look better and more like actual rocks.

Then there are stainless steel whiskey stones which are most effective to use. They keep your drink below room temperature the longest, look amazing and still do not dilute your drink. If you are looking to buy a nice set of whiskey stones I would recommend going for stainless steel ones like these on Amazon which has over 1600 ratings averaging 4.5/5.

steel ice for whiskey in a glass on a white background

Which is better: ice or whiskey stones?

Great question: should you use ice or whiskey stones to cool your drink. If you are strictly looking to cool the drink, you should go for whiskey stones as they do not dilute the drink. When you are alright with the ice melting and adding water to your whiskey, you could still definitely go for ice.

If you decide to go for ice, make sure that the ice is made out of water that you are comfortable with adding to your whiskey. It should be flavorless because you do not want it to affect the flavor of your whiskey. Therefore, it can also not be water with a strong mineral taste.

In restaurants you do not know what water they use for their ice so I would recommend to not add ice. I have written an entire article on whether or not to use ice. If you want to go into a bit more detail, check out that link here.

I would go with using whiskey stones to cool your drink. If you want to add some water to open up your whiskey, by all means go ahead.

Are whiskey stones safe to use?

After doing research, I can conclude that whiskey stones are hard enough to not affect your drink, leave anything behind or introduce toxic compounds in your drink. This is the case for the soapstone, granite as well as the stainless steel stones.

Next to consuming parts of the rock, there is another aspect with which you do need to be careful. These rocks can be disastrous for your precious crystal liquor glasses. Do not drop it in the way you would drop your ice in. Gently and carefully place the rocks into your glass using the pair of tongs that comes with the set. An alternative is using ice tongs.

Whenever you are using a rocking glass there might be enough space to place the rocks in by hand before pouring the whiskey. Other glasses can have a more narrow opening that is too tight for your fingers to function as the tongs.

Whiskey in a glass with stones for cooling drinks on a wooden table

How to freeze whiskey stones?

Whiskey stones need to be kept in the freezer for at least 4 hours before using. Depending on the size of the stones, use about 3 whiskey stones to cool one glass of whiskey.

Most sets of whiskey stones come with a little pouch to store them in. If you keep the pouch with whiskey stones in the freezer, you will always have some stones handy when you want to pour yourself a dram.

Are whiskey stones reusable?

Whiskey stones are reusable. After using them, you can clean them and put them back in the freezer to prepare them for the next time. Again, keep them in the freezer for at least 4 hours before using them to freeze another glass of whiskey.

This is great, as we do not need to keep buying new stones every now and again! But how to clean them? You can wash them by hand, or you can use the dishwasher.

Are whiskey stones dishwasher safe?

Yes, all whiskey stones are dishwasher safe. The soapstone, granite and stainless steel stones are non-porous and will therefore not trap any soap or water that might end up in your next glass of whiskey.

Is buying whiskey stones worth your money?

Whiskey stones are pretty inexpensive, and therefore I think they are a great addition to someone who enjoys to drink whiskey. They can be used many times, and therefore you do not have to keep buying new ones. One set will last you for many years to come.

The alternative to using the whiskey stones is to use ice, which still is more effective in cooling your whiskey. We have already briefly talked about the downside of using ice in your whiskey above, as this adds a lot of water, diluting the whiskey. This obviously is not the case when using whiskey stones.

Therefore, the whiskey stones allow your chilled drink to taste the same from beginning to end. Your first sip will taste exactly the same as your last as the whisky has not been diluted at all.

Where to buy whiskey stones?

There are many places you can buy whiskey stones. Depending on what type of stones you are looking for, they are available at Amazon.

If you are looking for soapstone whiskey stones, this set is perfect for you.

If you are looking for beautiful round granite whiskey stones, check out this set.

Whenever you want to buy stainless steel whiskey stones that keep your drink cool the longest, make sure you buy this set.

Glass with liquor and whiskey stones on table, closeup

Can whiskey stones be used in other drinks?

Of course! They are called whiskey stones because people used to add cold rocks from the river to cool their whiskey. People have been trying to cool their whiskey for ages, which makes the whiskey stones especially made for whisky. However, you can also use them to cool other drinks of your liking.

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