What Is A Whiskey Stone, And What Does It Really Do To Your Drink?

For some, whiskey is simply a great base for a nice cocktail or highball. Others, however, take the liquor a little more seriously and prefer enjoying it without the addition of lemon juice, egg whites, or a fizzy soda. For these drinkers, a whiskey stone might just be the ultimate tool for the best, chilled glass of the alcohol. Now you may be wondering what it is, and what it's used for. After all, rocks generally don't belong in drinks unless they're of the ice variety. But in this case, you might want to reconsider.


Whiskey stones are frozen and placed in your glass to cool your drink without diluting its taste. Despite having a vintage, stone-age kind of vibe, they're a relatively new innovation, having been invented in 2007. However, some theories suggest they were used in Scotland to cool whiskey without diluting it as far back as the early 20th century. These stones were (allegedly) plucked from a river, and they weren't carved into a cubic shape as many modern options now are. Despite their recent origins, however, whiskey stones should definitely be a part of your home bar kit, especially if you're hoping to get the most out of your whiskey pour. 

How whiskey stones work

The idea behind whiskey stones is pretty simple — they're used in place of ice to keep the drink cold. Most on the market are made of non-porous materials, such as soapstone, granite, or (not a stone) stainless steel. They're stored in the freezer, then placed in a glass of whiskey as you would ice. But unlike ice, they help to cool your drink without diluting it. Since there's no water content in whiskey stones, there's no risk of them melting into your drink or altering its taste.


This is a particularly appealing trait for those who want to taste their whiskey in an unadulterated fashion, without water dilution changing the drink's unique flavor profile. Now, this may not matter if you're simply using the alcohol as a mixer, or if you're just a casual drinker. But for those who want to make the most out of their bottle, whiskey stones are definitely a worthy investment.

How water changes whiskey

Diluting whiskey (or bourbon) isn't inherently a bad thing. Many drinkers cut the liquor with water, which is a great way to curb its highly alcoholic flavor and unfurl its other, more complex notes to make it much more palatable. However, this is only a benefit if you don't want to drink your alcohol neat, in its original and unadulterated fashion. 


Now, there's nothing that truly compares to a neat pour. Drinking whiskey in this way allows you to taste the liquor as it is, without any changes to its original form. It might take a while to get to the point where you can drink your liquor neat. But for many, once you've come to enjoy the taste, there's simply no other way of enjoying whiskey. And if you'd like your drink both cold and neat, then you might want to try using a whiskey stone. Check out our picks for the best.