Drinking Whisky 101: Stones, Chillers, Neat, Diluted

How to drink whisky... Certainly one of life's most difficult and controversial decisions. You're sure to create a debate if you ask around, with drinking preferences including neat, diluted with water, on the rocks, and chilled. We're here today to discuss these methods, as well as offer you some suggestions of products to enhance your drinking experience.  

Ways to Sip Whisky

Neat: Straight whisky. This is how the brewers want you to taste the product. Try it the first time you're drinking a new bottle to really taste the flavours as intended.
Diluted: To lower the alcohol content. This softens the punch of the alcohol and truly allows for the flavour of the whiskey to come through. Slowly add a little bit of water with a teaspoon or a dropper until the drink tastes right. Just a few drops of water can be enough to do the trick and it takes some experience to master adding the perfect amount. If you've added too much, though, do not fret... just add some more whiskey! Be sure to first try the whisky without any water added so you can taste the original flavours, and then feel free to add water and enjoy the rest of your drink. 
Chilled: This is for those who are looking for a cooler drink, but no dilution. Chilled whisky definitely tastes different than room temperature, with most experts feeling that the taste and aroma get increasingly muted the colder the whisky becomes. Chilled whisky is best obtained through the use of whisky stones, as ice makes the whiskey too cold and mutes the flavour. Whisky stones are frozen stones, often shaped like ice cubes, and are ideal because they cool the drink down to soften the burn, but not so much as to mute the whiskey's flavours. Additionally, because they are stones and not ice, there is no dilution of the drink. Learn more about whisky stones below. 
On the Rocks: With ice! Ice is beneficial to novice whisky drinkers for two reasons. First, the ice slowly melts into the drink, thereby providing some dilution and making the drink more palatable. Unfortunately, ice usually melts too quickly and over-dilutes the drink. To help with this problem, try adding one large ice cube instead of many smaller ice cubes. A larger ice cube melts slower, and therefore provides less dilution and more chilling action (acting like a whisky stone), which is better for whiskey. Interestingly, a large sphere shaped ice cube (as pictured below) will melt slower than a cube shaped one. You can purchase molds on our site to make large ice cubes in various shapes such as spheres, grenades, brains, and skulls. The second reason ice can be beneficial to novice drinkers is that the ice helps reduce the harshness and burn of the whisky. The downside is that ice makes the drink much colder than whisky stones, which tends to mute the overall flavours. 


So... Which method is best? Whisky stones!!!

We find neat (straight) whiskey to be a bit too harsh at room temperature, and whisky stones cool your drink to the perfect temperature to remove this harshness without muting any of the whiskey's flavours. The slight chill makes the drink much more enjoyable. Ice does provide chilling, but tends to mute the whiskey's flavours as it keeps the whiskey 3-5 times colder than stones do. 

We also recommend adding a few drops of water to your whisky as well. This slight dilution removes the harshness of the alcohol, while opening up the flavours. Just add a few drops, so as not to over-dilute and compromise the flavour.  

Whisky Stones 101

Whisky stones are devices used to cool your drink for you. They're the best product to chill your whisky (to the perfect temperature) without diluting it. Flask Masters offers a wide variety of whisky stones, made out of soapstone, crystal, and stainless steel (including fun shapes, such as: skulls, hearts, and spheres). 

These are intended to be placed in the freezer, and brought out and put into your cup before you start drinking. They typically keep your drink(s) cool for approximately 30-60 minutes, at which point we would recommend you bring out freshly frozen stones.  Whisky stones will chill your drink approximately 3-6°C, or 5-10°F. Ice, on the other hand, has the potential of chilling the whisky by up to 20°C which is far too much. 


One last idea: If you're a fan of chilled whisky and plan on drinking shots instead of sipping your whisky, try these frozen shot cups!

Note: The Products Discussed within this post can be found here.


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