Whisky stones are made of soapstone, a metamorphic rock, and are often promoted as a way to chill your drink without diluting it. Ice can do it more effectively but it introduces more water when it melts. This isn’t as big of a deal with some cocktails, but water can drastically change the profile of whisky – which is why whisky stones have been popularized lately.
Personally, I prefer my whisky neat but I do have whisky stones in my freezer for when my friends come over and prefer it on the rocks, literally.
I’ve long wondered if whisky stones were safe to use because they’re not regulated by any agency. After doing some research, I learned that they’re completely safe for consumption because soapstone is hard enough not to leave anything behind. Teroforma is one of the most well known of whisky stone makers but any manufacturer will do – they’re just rocks!
The only potentially dangerous part about whisky stones is when you put them in your glass. You are, after all, putting a rock into your glass! Slide it in gently (or even better, use ice tongs — they’re really cheap), don’t drop it in, and be careful when you slide them out. The nicer your glasses are (ie. thinner walls), the greater the risk. If you’re careful, you shouldn’t have any problem.
To use them, just stick them in the freezer at least four hours before you’ll want to use them. We just leave them in the freezer.
I own a set and my biggest problem is that I find they don’t cool well. I have to put 4 or 5 into a dram to get any reasonable effect.
Yeah, it’s not meant to make it too cold, just chill a little I suppose.
I agree with you Jim,
I wouldn’t chill my whisky either. A wee touch (teardrop) of water if required but that’s it. Chilling whisky releases proteins that change the taste, like chilling red wine! Having said that, if you like the change in taste just go for it, lol 😉
Funny you would say cooling your whisky is as bad as chilling your red wine because you are actually supposed to store red wine at approximately 7.2-18.3*C (45-65*F); 12.7*C (55*F) being the optimal temperature.
Serving temperatures are little different for red. For a full-bodied red you should serve it between 10-15.5*C (50-60*F).
This is all, of course, in the eye of the beholder. For wine, storing longevity temperature does matter. Drinking temperature, on the other hand, is totally up to the individual.
I have whisky stones but I rarely use them. I don’t mind my Scotch chilled every now and then but I much prefer to warm it with my hand.