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The subject of whiskey stones is a somewhat controversial one: many purists and experts tend to write them off as a contrived chilling method, but the overwhelming attitude of the bartending community is to drink what you want, the way you want it. Plus, whiskey stones have other uses than just cooling down your spirit without dilution, according to Maggie Eckl, an NYC-based bartender. “They’re super useful when you’re sitting outside and enjoying some wine during warmer weather,” she shares. “They bring some environmental sustainability while giving more control for consumers who don’t want an overdiluted drink.” Lastly, Eckl notes, the flavors present in any spirit or wine vary at different temperatures, so stones are a great way to expand your palate. Here are some of the best whiskey stones available.
Best Overall: Teroforma Original Whisky Stones
Dark, polished soapstone gives this set of nine stones a luxe, minimalist feel. Teroforma, which claims to be the first company to create modern soapstone drink chillers, mills the stone using sustainable processes in Agra, India, and the cubes are produced by an old soapstone mill in Vermont. Simply freeze the cubes for a minimum of four hours, add at least three to your beverage of choice, and let your drink stand for five minutes before enjoying it. When finished, rinse and air dry the stones before returning them to the freezer.
Best Large: Crate and Barrel Whiskey Rocks Large
Form meets function in Crate and Barrel’s set of two large hexagonal whiskey rocks. Made from odorless and flavorless non-porous soapstone, these stones' geometric design is more than just pleasing to the eye––the beveled edges are designed to help avoid any damage to glassware. You can freeze these rocks to chill your drink, or you can microwave them to keep coffee, tea, or other hot beverages warmer for a longer period of time. These stones measure 1.75 inches on all sides and should be rinsed after every use.
Best Small: Whiskey & Axe Premium Whiskey Stones
Whiskey & Axe’s 24-cube grayscale variety pack means you’ll never run out of ice-cold stones while entertaining or sipping casually at home. Complete with six different stone types cut from marble, granite, and soapstone, this set of 0.75-inch cubes comes in a convenient storage tin. Use at least three stones to chill any drink while keeping its flavor. In addition to gray scale, other color options include gray-blue marble, gray soapstone, red checkerboard, and speckled mauve granite.
Best Stainless Steel: Rabbit Whiskey and Beverage Jumbo Chilling Stones
Rabbit is a trusted name in quality beverage accessories, and these jumbo stainless steel chilling cubes are no exception. This set comes with two, 1.5-inch cubes, though only one is needed to cool down your drink in seconds. It also comes complete with a storage case, which is perfect for safekeeping in the freezer. These odor-resistant, durable cubes are dishwasher safe and are ideal for use in a rocks glass. Custom engraving is also available.
Most Unique: Areaware Geometric Whiskey Stones
If you’re searching for an avant-garde gift or a statement piece, look no further than these geometric whiskey stones by Areaware, a Brooklyn-based producer and purveyor of unusual objects. This set features stones in four different silhouettes, including a pyramid, rectangle, sphere, and cylinder, all in varying neutral shades. Made from either soapstone or marble, these stones measure approximately 2.75 inches long, 1 inch wide, and 2.27 inches high and are handwash only.
Best Set: Williams-Sonoma Whiskey Lovers Set
This set by Williams Sonoma makes for an excellent gift or home bar addition. Along with two, 1.5-inch stainless steel chilling cubes, the set features one silicone Colossal Cube ice mold and four, fine-rimmed 13.5-ounce double old-fashioned glasses hand-crafted in Turkey. The whiskey cubes also come in a freezer-safe storage case and are available in a gold finish. Note that the finish for both color options is designed to prevent scratches on glassware; these cubes should also be frozen for at least three hours before use.
Best Value: Brotec Round Granite Whiskey Stones
Brotec's set of six, disc-like whiskey chilling stones are made of granite and come with their own wooden display tray, plus two coasters. You can keep the entire tray in the freezer for storage––treat these stones like any other and use three or so in your drink of choice after freezing them for at least several hours. Rinse after each use, air dry, and return them to your freezer. This set also makes for a great gift for the spirit or chilled wine enthusiast in your life.
Best Splurge: Anna New York Vida Whiskey Stones
If you're in the market for best-in-class stones, Anna New York’s luxurious, smoky quartz Vida whiskey stones are a splurge-worthy option for a gorgeous gift or home bar fixture. This set of six, semi-opaque blush stones is easy on the eyes and functions like any other natural stone ice alternative. Packaged in a beautiful white and gold box, it's also accompanied by a velvety drawstring bag for storage. These stones are handwash only.
Good to Know:
Ben Wald, a Washington, D.C.-based bartender, notes: when using whiskey stones in any drink, experiment a bit to see how temperature affects the wine or spirit, and make sure your stones aren’t imparting any unwanted flavor. “Do yourself a little taste test to see what [it] tastes like normally and with regular ice so you can pick up any variances the stone may cause,” he suggests.
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After seven years of covering all things wine and spirits, Céline Bossart has had plenty of conversations about chilling and dilution methods. Though whiskey stones tend to be pigeonholed as a default Father’s Day gift, she can confirm that they work just as well any other time of year.
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