Being a native Californian but living in NYC, I think I’ve always been more open minded to not conforming to certain norms. Now, what I mean by this, is that if I were to head down to Brooklyn to buy a pizza pie( Julian’s Pizza) and asked for Pineapples on top, I would be chased out of the borough within 10 seconds. And no joke. NYC, like many cities has certain norms that they abide by. So when it comes to talking about whiskey stones, I did worry about how pure whiskey lovers may react.
So when I posted a picture on my Instagram using Whiskey Stones in a glass of expensive whiskey (check out our guide on the best whiskey glasses here)- you can only imagine, I raised a few eyebrows. The purists turned their backs on me, the adventurers embraced the idea and at least tried them, and Vim of course asked me to write for 12×75. All in all, a very unsurprising reaction. Much like I’m sure pure wine lovers frown on those that add ice or cola to their high end Clarets.
First off, before I go on. I’ve got to say I love my whiskey stones. They are amazing. And before you even think about purchasing them, it’s worth knowing a few things that you should be looking for.
How To Choose The Best Whiskey Stones
The problem here is ice. Actually, there’s a couple of problems with ice. Firstly, and the most obvious is that ice melts after a while and in doing so begins to dilute your drinks. Now of course a purist may not even add ice to his scotch, but when it’s a super sunny day in the heart of NYC, keeping your whiskey cold is a must. It’s also a must to not let your whiskey get watered down. There’s nothing worse than the taste of a watered down whiskey. It’s almost like drinking a coffee that’s gotten cold. It’s just not pleasant.
The other problem I have with ice is that I wonder how clean the water really is? If you top up your ice trays from the tap, then you’ve got to ask yourself how much bacteria is in the water to begin with. And then to freeze that?
Of course you could freeze just bottled water – but C’mon. Let’s be realistic. That’s going to get expensive after a while isn’t it?
What Are Whiskey Stones?
Whiskey stones are small cubes (little smaller than ice cubes, but similar in shape) that are made out of soapstone. The purpose of Whiskey Stones are to keep your drink colder for longer, without diluting it at all. Now what’s so fantastic about these stones is that you pop them in the freezer and they get very cold in record time. I’m talking they got cold in as little as 30 minutes.
The other benefit I found when using these whiskey stones is that the corners had been smoothed out. This was fantastic because it prevented any scratching on the inside of my scotch glasses. Ice however, scratches everything. Don’t believe me? Hold your whiskey glasses up to the light..
See, I told you!!!
How To Use Whiskey Stones
Depending on what you buy and from whom, whiskey stones generally come in packs of 4 and above. Most with little bags to store them in so you can keep them in the freezer. The idea is that you are meant to put the stones in the freezer up to 2 hours beforehand. Though I’ve discovered 30 minutes does the trick. And I’ve even gone one step further, I permanently keep mine stored in the bag in the freezer. That way, I can use them whenever I want to. Once the stones are nice and cold, I would place 2 or 3 rocks into my glass.
Pour the whiskey on top and simply enjoy. What’s nice about whiskey stones is that they are FDA approved (soapstone ones) and are always odor free and VERY easy to wash.
Why Are Whiskey Stones Made Out Of Soapstone?
Whiskey stones are made from soapstone because soapstone stay colder for longer. In fact it stays cold much longer than ice does, allowing your drink to chill even more. They’re very safe, easy to use and tend not to retain the whiskey smell on them.
How Do You Clean Whiskey Stones?
I’ve never cleaned my whiskey stones in the dishwasher. That would be strange. But I tend to hand wash them in less than 30 seconds. They’re very easy to wash and don’t absorb the odor or color of what’s been in it.
When To Use Whiskey Stones
Here’s the truth, I don’t use them all the time. Because I’m not always against a watered down whiskey. If I know I’m sitting on my apartment’s balcony watching the world go round. I may pour myself a rather large drink, knowing that a couple of ice cubes in there will tone down the drink’s strength. But I tend to use my whiskey stones if it’s very very hot. The thought of the ice melting within 3 minutes and turning your whiskey into a diluted drink on a sunny day, is just so frustrating.
Why I advocate Whiskey Lovers To Invest In Whiskey Stones?
Well, there’s quite a few reasons to invest in them.
- It’s very sanitary. You know the source of the stones, however we all question where our water comes from. Is it really that clean? Whiskey Stones eliminate that problem straight away.
- It gets cold faster than ice
- No more ice trays. You save more space in your freezer.
- Prevents Scratching on the inside of your glass
- I think, good whiskey stones, especially custom or personalized ones look amazing.
Best Whiskey Stones
Find below some reviews of our favorite whiskey stones:
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Back in 2007, the company behind these stones (Teroforma), chose to explore how the Scandinavians back in the day, used to chill their drinks using stones. Once they understood this process, they set about creating a national and sustainable way to source their stone. This led them to Vermont, where they forged a partnership with the oldest soapstone mill. The idea behind this partnership was to ensure the quality of the soapstone used in the whiskey rocks and of course to ensure that all their whiskey stones continue to be handmade. In fact they pride themselves on this. This company pours so much love into the sourcing and creation of the stones, that when you use them, it’s palpable.
Without a shadow of a doubt this way my favourite of all the whiskey stones I used.
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Once again, Whiskey Stone Lovers have made another set of stones that are black. These are still made out of soapstone and do all the things that most whiskey stones do; which is keep your drink chilled for longer, without diluting. However, these are black and actually look the part. There’s no doubt, that if you drop 2 or 3 of these cubes into your scotch, you’ll be turning a few heads. The blackness of the stone really pops, and if you have a black or white kitchen, it’s even keeps with the design. Just like Tereforma’s classic cubes, these did everything they said on the tin. I found them easy to use, easy to store and easy to wash. These whiskey stones are made by a company that truly cares about where its soapstone originates from. Which is why they chose to partner with and source all their soapstone from the oldest soapstone mill in Vermont. Now that’s dedication.
Like the Tereforma original, it comes with in a set of 9 and a bag in which to place the stones and store in the freezer.
Tereforma advise the following:
Whisky Stones are easy to use.
Store in freezer for at least 4 hours before use.
Add 3 stones to a glass.
Pour until liquid has reached the height of 1 stone (about 2 fl oz).
Let stand 5 minutes.
However, I kept them in the freezer all the time, and only found I needed to add 2 to my drink.
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Again these stones are great for a gift to any whiskey lover. They are handcrafted, in an elegant wooden box, with 9 neatly stored whiskey rocks. Amerigo also provide a stainless still tongs as well as a couple of red coasters. The whiskey rocks are also made of soapstone. They look really great and it was the color of the stone that attracted me to them. This almost grayish / whitish stone/. In fact when I first saw them, they from afar looked like sugar cubes. How cool is that? Love it. The stones are FDA approved and have the corners smoothed out, so as not to scratch those ever precious whiskey glasses you hold so dearly. Don’t worry, I’m the same..
The issue I did have with these stones is that I found them very delicate. Which means that even the slightest bit of pressure on it, or any knocks or falls would immediately scratch it. In fact once I scratched my first couple of stones, I realized I had to treat it with the same TLC as my Riedel Decanter. But nonetheless, they did what they said on the tin. It just means that given how delicate they are, I probably wouldn’t be using them as much as some of the other whiskey stones I purchased.
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Again made by Amerigo, I had wanted to try these because I felt I had tried enough whiskey stones that had been made out of soapstone. That’s not to say that I had an issue with soapstone, it’s just that I had wanted to try the whole spectrum of stones available on the market. That of course led me to these. Where do I start?
Well, I was confused by the wording on the inside of the box. It said:
Treat Yourself As You Deserve
Once I got over the really worrying wording (not even sure what they wrote made sense). However, they came in an OK box and the 8 stones came in a mini freezer tray. It also came with tongs and mats. These last bits were irrelevant. What was important was putting these stainless stones to the test.
The stainless steel whiskey stones cooled really well, weighed the perfect amount. I did like everything about them until about 10 minutes into using them. The clanking of the metal stones on the glass started annoying me and after another ten minutes, I started to worry if my glass would break altogether. I guess I’d only use them once in a while, but I do confess they look fantastic.
And if you love reading about all things Whiskey, they also provide a free E-Book with this purchase called The Art Of Whiskey.
Whiskey Stones – Osleek Original Set of 8 Titanium Gold Plated Stainless Steel Beverage Chilling Resuable Ice Rocks
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Firstly, Osleek are a good company at making whiskey stones. But just look at these. How could I not order them? They are so bling. In fact if I ever got invited to Jay Z’s house, I’m guessing these are the type of Whiskey Stones he would probably use. Not, that they’re not solid gold. They are stainless steel stones that have been coated with titanium gold plating for that gold looking finish. Both the stainless steel and the titanium gold plating are FDA approved.
They come in a very very nice box and in a set of 8 and with a pair of sleek looking Tongs. I loved these. Despite the clanking in the glass and the very bling color, they actually worked amazing. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a combination of the metals or just because they’re not massive – but they really kept my whiskey chilled.
I wouldn’t use them everyday. Not because I didn’t like them, but there’s something to the color that makes it seem like it’s for special occasions only. Writing this now, I’m actually feeling conflicted. I may just keep them in the box and on my bar as some sort of ornament. Definitely a talking piece.
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Where on earth do I start with these. Firstly let’s start with why I ordered them to begin with. Well, it’s because they look bad ass. Did I think for a reason that they’d be as amazing as some of the other Whiskey Stones on this post? No, of course not!! But like I said, they look bad ass. I was like a little kid waiting for these to arrive. And when they came, I couldn’t be more excited.
The silver bullets looked and felt real and I immediately threw them into the freezer. After a couple of hours, I threw the freezer door open and grabbed the bullets. I dumped 3 into my whiskey but nothing happened. Whilst they were cold, in the drink they weren’t making much difference. So I dumped a few more in. Suddenly, it felt like I was looking down the barrel of a gun. I looked down and saw all 6 bullets in there. And then before I could even have a sip, I started panicking that I may choke on them.
But I guess if you’re looking for a decorative piece next to keep next to your stash of bottles – then I guess this is it.
My Final Thoughts On Whiskey Stones
I very quickly came to the conclusion that I love whiskey stones. But not any old ones, the ones made out of soapstone. For me, these acted like ice, chilled the drinks and overall provided for a very pleasant whiskey drinking experience. I found that I was less impressed with the stainless steel ones. Whilst they definitely worked, it was just too much metal and clanking around in the glass for me to feel natural.
And whilst I do love whiskey stones, I think there’s a time and place for them as there is a time and place for adding ice into your drink. But better to give yourself that option and buy the perfect whiskey stones now.