To Ice or Not To Ice – That is the Whisky Question

Do you like to drink your whisky neat or on the rocks?

There are some whisky traditionalists who think adding ice is almost sacrilege as they believe the ice will offend the whisky maker and hinder or dilute the whisky’s true full flavor.

Wiggly Small Barrel Bourbon and Ice CubeWhile they may have a point with the word “dilution” not really being an attractive word when it comes to alcoholic beverages. No one wants a watered down drink but, the truth is the temperature and the water from the ice actually help bring out or “open up” new flavors and aromas. The flavors that once were in the background will come forward.

It all comes down to science. We all learned in high school science that molecules react differently at different temperatures and without getting too technical the result is that we taste things differently at different temperatures. White wine for example, most people prefer it chilled when they consume it. Why? Well, simply, it doesn’t taste as good warm. 

When it comes to whisky there is really no right way to drink it. It all comes down to personal preference. If you want it neat, drink it neat. If you want ice, then by all means put a nice big cube or sphere in there.

You’ll notice that great cocktail bars use large blocks of ice or sphere’s instead of small cubes or chips. Big blocks melt slower than little ones and have less surface area. Good old science again. Your whisky will be diluted at a slower steady pace for enjoyment rather than an immediate infusion of water.

Experiment with what you like. Try your favorite whisky neat and then add a cube to it and see what other flavors open up. Who doesn’t enjoy an experiment when it concerns whisky?

Cheers.

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