If you landed here, you're probably already familiar with whiskey stones, but for the uninitiated, think of them as essentially reusable ice cubes that chill your spirit without diluting it. The best whiskey stones are made of stainless steel, granite, or soapstone; you may prefer one over the other depending on how chilled you like your whiskey.
Below you'll find a guide to each material, but first, let's address the elephant in the room: How do stones measure up to ice?
Whiskey stones vs. ice
Whiskey stones keep the flavor of your drinks pure (and potent). Ice is admittedly more effective at cooling (and will hold that chill longer if you're a slow sipper), but keep in mind a deep chill isn't always best: Once whiskey gets to a temperature near 45 degrees Fahrenheit, most of the flavor is lost.
- Stainless steel whiskey stones are almost as cold as ice — one stone will chill your drink an average of 12 degrees — and stainless steel keeps your drinks cold longer than stone, as well. Stainless steel whiskey stones are nonporous (i.e. they don't absorb flavors or odors), rust-resistant, and borderline corrosion-proof. They’re also more durable than soapstone and less likely to scratch your glasses. However, they’re decidedly more expensive than natural stone.
- Soapstone whiskey stones are the more traditional option, but you should be prepared to add more stones to your glass. Each soapstone cube can chill your drink about 5 degrees Fahrenheit at a time (and it takes about three to equal one ice cube). The nonporous rock doesn’t absorb odors or flavors, but they won't wash up as easily as stainless steel. That said, they're the most affordable option on this list.
- Granite whiskey stones are good-looking, durable, and have great chilling power but may be more likely to scratch thin glassware since they're harder than soapstone.
Whichever material you opt for, remember to leave them in the freezer for a few hours before use.
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1. The stainless steel whiskey stones
Amazon shoppers love these hefty stainless steel whiskey stones that come in a set of eight, along with some handy extras like a dedicated freezer tray and rubber-tipped tongs (you'll appreciate the extra grip on the smooth metal), as well as two coasters. The stones' curved edges mean your glasses (and teeth) are safe, and they don’t need longer than three hours in the freezer before they’re ready to go. Several reviewers noted they were a cinch to clean and kept their shine over time. "Enjoyed a double shot of scotch on the rocks. They chilled the drink perfectly and were still cold after I finished," one reviewer testified.
2. The soapstone whiskey stones
These 100% pure soapstone whiskey stones have rounded edges to preserve your glassware and will add a mild chill to that dram. Two or three is enough for most glasses, and you’ll want to give them a few minutes to work just like ice. The set of nine comes in a storage pouch for a clutter-free bar cart. (Although many reviewers keep their stones stored in the freezer since they need up to five hours to chill.) "Looks modern and clean, and most of all keeps my whiskey cool," one Amazon reviewer attested, concluding. If you like your whiskey very cold, however, these may not be for you.
3. The granite whiskey stones
These granite whiskey stones offer more cooling action than soapstone and fit neatly into a nosing glass. The geometric design in polished black makes for a contemporary whiskey stone if you’re looking to elevate your barware (and they come in a sleek black velvet pouch, too). Since they’re three-quarters of an inch each, you may need to use more at a time than with other options. Make sure they chill for four hours first, or just keep them stored in your freezer so you're always prepared. "Solid stone and don't impart any taste to your beverage. They look more expensive than they are," one shopper commented.
4. The sophisticated gift set
This whiskey stone gift set nets you a pair of rocks glasses and eight granite stones in a substantial wood box. The heavy glasses are genuine crystal with a handsome diamond etched design — and, paired with the high-quality black and white marbled granite stones, this makes a seriously nice yet reasonably priced gift for yourself or the whiskey lover in your life. "For any whiskey drinker who doesn't enjoy having their spirits watered down. The glasses will comfortably hold 4 shots and the stones will keep it cold longer than ice," one fan wrote. "The box construction is on par (even slightly better) than most cigar boxes."