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Do You Drink Bourbon With Ice? Resolved (2022 Updated)

Last Updated on November 9, 2022 by Lydia Martin

There are many ways to savor your bourbon, and some say there’s no wrong way to drink your bourbon. But how do you drink yours? Do you drink bourbon with ice or just straight up? 

If you’re new to drinking bourbon, read on to explore how ice impacts the flavor of your favorite bourbon.

Should You Drink Bourbon With Ice? 

whisky with ice and a barrel on the background

Yes. Bourbon has complex and bold flavors, and drinking it with ice is never a bad idea, especially for beginners.

Putting a single large ice cube on your bourbon is refreshing and could lessen the harshness of the alcohol from the diluted ice. 

Also, the added ice could release the hidden flavors from the bourbon, particularly the aged ones.

Does Ice Ruin Bourbon?

Yes, ice may ruin your bourbon. Drinking bourbon with ice has its benefit and inconvenience too.

If you add too much ice, it could ruin the true flavors of the bourbon. All the melted ice could make all the significant flavors go away.

Small amounts of ice could help the bourbon to be more refreshing.

But an unreasonable amount of ice could make the bourbon taste dull and unremarkable. 

What Ice Does To Bourbon 

close up shot of whisky glass with ice

Cools It

Adding ice to your bourbon makes it a refreshing drink. The more ice it has, the colder it gets, but the less you can taste the bourbon’s flavor. 

When it comes to cooling preference, you can pick either ice cubes, blocks, spheres, or whiskey stones. All of these can chill your bourbon, but the only difference is the dilution speed.

Makes It More Fragrant

Bourbon has a distinctive aromatic flavor that bourbon lovers adore. A little ice melt could help to bring out the classic bourbon aromas, mute any intense odor in the bourbon, and make the bourbon more fragrant to the nose.

Elevates Flavor

Some bourbons are so strong that you can’t enjoy the smoothness and sweet notes. Putting a small amount of ice can make the bourbon’s complex flavor more accessible.

The diluted ice complements older and aged bourbons and could enhance its flavor profile. 

How Many Ice Cubes Should You Put In It? 

ice and tong on a wooden board

You can enjoy your bourbon served on the rocks with one to two ice cubes or, even better, a single large ice ball.

Remember that the amount of ice you put in the bourbon can either make a good-tasting bourbon or dull the bourbon.

The right volume of ice added to the bourbon could enhance the flavor and make a great bourbon-drinking experience. 

Why Most Drinkers Don’t Recommend Drinking It Cold 

Most bourbon drinkers don’t recommend drinking bourbon cold because it might blunt its flavor. The cold temperature could mute not just the bourbon’s flavor but also its aroma. 

Also, chilling bourbon on ice might be a dilemma for a slow sipper. So, some bourbon enthusiasts drink their bourbon neat instead of taking it cold.

They believe that the longer the ice rest on bourbons, the less flavor you can expect. Learn how to order bourbon like a pro here.

How To Drink Bourbon On The Rocks 

man drinking whisky

You can enjoy your bourbon served on the rocks glass over an ice cube or two.

Most bourbon experts recommend using a big sphere or cube of ice because it doesn’t melt quickly. [1] Also, a large ice ball or cube could have minimal dilution. 

On the other hand, some people use chilled whiskey stones to cool their bourbon.

Unlike ice cubes, it helps to chill the bourbon without diluting anything. 

FAQs

Should you chill bourbon?

No, it is not necessary to chill your bourbon. Bourbon is best consumed straight at room temperature. But if you live in a hot and humid place, you can opt to chill your bourbon and enjoy it cold.

Should beginners drink bourbon with ice?

Yes, first-time bourbon drinkers should drink it with ice to tame the alcohol. Some bourbons contain strong alcohol content and are too harsh to drink straight. 

Does drinking bourbon with ice reduce alcohol burn? 

Yes, drinking bourbon with ice reduces alcohol burn. After the ice melts, the additional water will dilute and help lessen the burn. However, too much ice could destroy the taste of the bourbon.

Final Thoughts 

Every bourbon drinker has their preferred way of savoring their bourbon. You can drink your bourbon with ice to cool it, make it more aromatic, and enhance its flavor.

One to two ice cubes or a large ice ball is enough to chill it. However, too much ice could ruin the distinctive taste of bourbon.

Bourbon purists recommend drinking bourbon neatly so you can experience its full profile. But if you’re new to the bourbon world, adding ice could be an easier way to savor it. 

Reference:

  1. https://www.seriouseats.com/cocktail-science-myths-about-ice-big-cubes-are-better 

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