Last Updated on December 29, 2022 by Lydia Martin
One trouble people usually encounter when drinking whiskey is that its taste changes when they add water to it. While some can add water to the whiskey to enhance its flavors and bring out its hidden notes, most people don’t want to dilute their drinks with ice or water.
So, if you want chilled whiskey but don’t want to dilute it, whiskey stones are a handy solution. But what are whiskey stones, really?
What’s A Whiskey Stone?
Whiskey stones, also known as whiskey rocks, are a reusable and sophisticated alternative to ice cubes. They help keep the drinks chilled without diluting anything to the whiskey’s flavor, which is a common trouble for whiskey drinkers when they add ice.
Whiskey stones are usually made of small stones or cubes of non-porous  natural soapstone commonly used to chill whiskey and other spirits. Also, there are stainless steel versions. You can find different whiskey stone sizes, which you can store in the freezer.
Andrew Hellman invented whisky stones in 2007. The inspiration for whiskey stones is the Swedish cooling stones that Andrew saw hanging outside their house in the early 1900s. When he first introduced whiskey stones to the market, they were only available as carved soapstone, a non-porous and dense metamorphic rock.
Soapstone is a soft stone easily shaped into spheres of squares without any sharp edges. Over time, the designs of whiskey stones continuously evolve. So now, you can find metal whiskey stones, huge whiskey stones, and whiskey rocks with unique shapes.
How Do They Work?
Whisky stones work when you freeze them. Ideally, after a few hours, you can use the stones and simply drop them into a glass of whiskey – be it Scotch or bourbon. Whiskey stones chill the dram without diluting it like melting ice cubes would.
However, the lack of melting could mean these chilling stones won’t keep your dram chilling for as long as ice cubes would. The stones will completely retain the heat, and your drink will be back to its original room temperature.
If you want to keep your drink cold and free from dilution, it’s important to drink up fast. So, if you want to prevent your drink from getting diluted, whisky stones work best.
How To Use Them
This chill accessory is very simple to use. Just keep the stones in the fridge for a couple of hours. We recommend letting them freeze for up to four hours. Once you’re ready to drink, simply place the whiskey stones inside your glass.
Then get your favorite bottle of Scotch whisky, bourbon whiskey, or blended whiskey, whichever you prefer, and pour it into the glass just like you normally do. Wait for one to two minutes until the temperature of your drink cools down. Once it achieves your desired temperature, you’re ready to take a sip!
Granite whiskey stones are almost similar to soapstone. It is a naturally occurring tool that can be shaped to different sizes and supplemented for ice. If you’re a whiskey drinker planning to use this type of whisky stone, you can expect a cool drink (not literally cold).
Our spirit experts stated that most whiskey stones are made of steel balls, not always stones as we thought. From the name itself, steel whiskey stones are made of stainless steel. When using stainless steel whiskey stones, be careful as you may not want to sip a metallic taste into your liquor.
Most people who hear the words “whisky stones” or “whisky rocks” think of the non-porous variants, usually associated with ice spheres or cubes. While not effective as stainless steel, the rugged look of the soapstone makes it an ideal choice for some whiskey drinkers.
Its nature ensures that its various properties won’t get in the way of your whiskey’s flavor.
Price & Value
The price of whisky stones may vary depending on their type, as there are stainless steel whiskey rocks, soapstone whiskey stones, and granite whiskey stones. The price range starts from $26 and above. Expect that granite and stainless steel whisky stones are more expensive than soapstones.
Why Use Whiskey Stones Over Ice?
Like a whisky stone, ice cubes absorb the heat from the dram. However, they remain colder for a longer period as the ice melts continuously, keeping the drink cool. On the other hand, whiskey stones preserve the heat inside, leading the dram to warm up.
Although the melting ice cubes dilute the flavor of the whisky, it is not ideal for everyone. For some, the taste of a diluted drink is akin to eating a slice of ice. However, if you prefer the smooth and cold taste of your whisky, then using whiskey stones could be the answer.
May Chip The Glass
While drinking, whiskey stones can slide around the glass, causing small chips. Also, if they do happen to get past the lips, they could chip your front teeth.
Could Be Inconvenient
Using whisky stones comes with maintenance. You need to wash and put them back into the fridge after use. But if you’re going to use regular ice cubes, you don’t have to worry about any sanitary issues.
Doesn’t Water Down Whiskey
Most people think of them as a replacement for ice cubes in mixed beverages. But, while whiskey stones are useful in certain recipes, it does not provide the amount of water some cocktails require. However, adding too much water to these beverages can alter their spice.
Do you put whiskey stones in the freezer?
Yes, you should put whisky stones in the freezer and use them just like an ice cube. Its cool temperature is ideal for cooling down your whiskey or making a chill or cold drink.
Which whiskey stones stay cold the longest?
Granite and stainless steel whisky stones stay cold the longest, keeping the whiskey chilled longer. Also, these best whiskey rocks are harder and are likely to last longer than soapstones.
How many times can you use the whiskey stones?
You can always reuse whiskey rocks as many times as possible to achieve your Scotch or any drink cold or chill without a few drops of water added to it. In fact, the best whiskey stones can last a lifetime as long as you properly keep and maintain them.
Whisky stones may not be for everyone, as some whiskey aficionados may shake their head at them. But, these stones are a worthwhile investment if you want to enjoy drinking cold whiskey, alcohol, or any type of liquor without sacrificing its natural piquancy.
Additionally, if you’re looking for a perfect gift for a family member or an experienced whiskey drinker friend, we highly recommend gifting them whiskey stones for a unique experience.
Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.