Everyone has their personal preference for drinking whisky -- neat, on the rocks, splash of water, in a cocktail, etc. -- but no one likes their drink 'watered down'. So when my wife bought me this neat gift from Annie's Blue Ribbon General Store pop-up store on the UWS, I was excited to give these Whisky Stones ($20/set of 9 stones) a try. I do not like to add water or ice to my drink, as I would rather taste a good Scotch or Irish Whiskey cool and then let it open up as it warms. The Whisky Stones are supposed to keep your drink cool without diluting it like melting ice would. The stones are made from soapstone milled in Vermont (apparently the oldest soapstone workshop in the U.S.) and were based on an idea in Scandinavia where whisky was kept cool with granite. Andrew Hellman, the Whisky Stones creator, decided to use soapstone because it is softer and won't scratch your glass.
Before using the stones, I thoroughly rinsed them, patted them dry, and then put them in the freezer for a few hours. I started out using three stones in a small glass for tasting Johnnie Walker Blue Label and then I poured a snifter with one stone for Macallan 18 year old (leaving the stones in the drink for about 5 minutes). Both ways seemed to keep the Scotch cool for an extended amount of time. They also didn't seem to alter the taste of the Scotch. If you're only drinking a small amount, only one or two are really needed.
Each package comes with nine stones, so these would work when having friends over (I now keep the stones in the freezer at all times, right next to my Ravi instant wine chiller and chilled beer glasses). The stones are heavy enough to remain at the bottom of the glass, and their corners are rounded so they didn't scratch our glasses. (Note: I used inexpensive glasses for testing as my wife was a little hesitant in using nicer crystal. I have read that others were more adventurous in using their fine glasses with the Whisky Stones and they didn't scratch those glasses. I personally wouldn't take the risk of damaging nice glasses)
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