As whiskey lovers, we enjoy our drink in our own personal way. Some love bourbon on the rocks, some like it chilled, while others love their whiskey with a mixer. Those who enjoy chilled whiskey don’t necessarily want to put ice in their drink. So how can you enjoy cold whiskey without affecting the taste? One way is to use bourbon stones.
Bourbon stones are small cubes of stones that are kept in the freezer before being placed into drinks. They are seen by many as the modern ice-cube. They are one of the absolute best gifts for lovers of bourbon. Bourbon stones may seem like a new product, but they have actually been available since around 2010.
Are Bourbon Stones Worth it?
Yes, but only if you drink quickly. You see, bourbon stones work well to cool your drink, but the coolness doesn’t last for long (roughly 30 minutes in our tests). This is why I keep batches of stones in my freezer at all times. If my bourbon starts to warm up, I can just fetch a few more stones from the freezer.
How Do Bourbon Stones Work?
To learn more about how these bourbons stones work, we will have to talk about the laws of thermodynamics. I know I know… science.
A drink becomes chilled when the liquid’s heat is transferred to another object with a cooler temperature, which in this case is the bourbon stone. This works with ice cubes too. The ice cube melts as the heat from the bourbon overpowers the coolness of the ice. This melted ice then works to cool down the bourbon.
As they cannot melt, the stones use a slightly different process to cool your drink. They absorb the heat from the liquid, but that’s it. This process means some heat from the bourbon leaves into the stones, which thus cools the drink down, but not to the same degree that ice is able to.
Bourbon stones have been available to buy for over a decade. Shaped into cubes, the soapstones were invented due to bourbon drinkers not wanting any foreign liquid to alter the taste of their bourbon. The stones must be frozen for over four hours, so you may want to buy more than one set of stones if you plan on having a few glasses of bourbon in the same evening.
The Best Stones for Bourbon
In our opinion, the best bourbon stones are Balls of Steel by OriginalBOS (Amazon link). You receive two metal balls, set of tongs, and a little bag to store the balls while they are in the freezer or not in use.
The first benefit to these stones is that they need to be frozen for just 90 minutes, compared to soapstones that need to be frozen for at least 4 hours.
When it comes to performance, these bourbon stones are some of the very best. During tests, the stones decreased temperature of the bourbon by 18.5° to 45.5°. The stones managed to keep the temperature under 55° for a total of 40 minutes, which is unbelievably impressive.
Unlike other stones that have a cube shape, these stones have a spherical shape that just screams luxury. They slowly roll around the bottom of the glass, much like a smooth ball bearing.
Check out the Balls of Steel by OriginalBOS on Amazon (Amazon Link).
How Much Cooling Power do they Have?
Most bourbon stones will keep your drink cool for roughly 30 minutes, depending on the outside temperature and current temperature of the drink.
It would make sense that five bourbon stones would be as effective as five ice cubes, but this isn’t the case. You see, although stones don’t dilute the bourbon with water, this is what makes the ice cubes work so effectively.
It isn’t the coldness of the cubes that makes the bourbon cold. Nope! It’s something known as ‘heat of fusion’. Basically, the bourbon becomes colder as the ice melts.
- You can drink bourbon straight from the bottle to experience the true flavor
- You can freeze the whole bottle of bourbon. This will create a refreshing drink, but the process with suppress some the flavors and aroma. I wouldn’t always go with this option, but it’s ideal for when the weather is hot and you want a cooling drink without the infamous whiskey burn
- Ice is another popular way to drink bourbon. This is a controversial topic, but many believe adding ice will increase the flavors as the ice melts. Adding ice is the most effective way to experience an ice-cold glass of bourbon whiskey. With that said, you want to drink your bourbon with some speed. Leave it too long, and you will have a glass of bourbon-flavored water
So, that’s our opinion on bourbon stones. To summarize, bourbon stones work well to cool your drink, but the coolness doesn’t last for long (roughly 30 minutes in our tests). This is why I keep batches of stones in my freezer at all times. If my bourbon starts to warm up, I can just fetch a few more stones from the freezer.
If you’re concerned about ice cubes affecting the taste of your bourbon, you don’t have to worry. You see, many experts believe the water can allow more of the flavors and aroma to come out. The ice cubes may actually improve the flavor of your bourbon! Like with everything in life, we have our own unique tastes, so it’s worth trying multiple variations until you find “your bourbon”.
What is your opinion on bourbon stones? Are bourbon stones a good purchase? Please do let us know!