When To Use Stone Vs. Stainless Steel Whiskey Cubes

For connoisseurs who insist whiskey should not be diluted by water or ice yet still want to control the temperature of a poured dram, whiskey cubes or whiskey stones offer the best solution. Plop one of these shapes into a glass to help chill a dram without needing to water down the liquid gold. 

From spheres to cubes, these whiskey accessories can be purchased in a variety of materials: granite, soapstone, marble, and stainless steel. Each stone is nonporous, and after a few hours in the freezer is popped into a glass of whiskey to chill the liquor. While whiskey stones may not cool a drink down for as long as an ice cube — the material absorbs the heat instead of dispersing it throughout the beverage — it won't dilute the drink either. 

But what's the difference between whiskey cubes made from stone and stainless steel? Does it matter which one you drop into your drink?

The argument for whiskey stones

Imagine this — you finally have your hands on a bottle of Sam Heughan's Sassenach whisky, and you'd like to taste the blend cold — without having to water it down with any ice. This is where a whiskey stone is helpful. By adding a bit of coldness to the drink without impacting flavor, you can identify all of the original tasting notes of your dram.

Though adding a whiskey stone won't keep your drink cold for long, whiskey cubes made out of non-porous materials like soapstone shouldn't absorb or add any taste or aromatic elements to your drink, and depending on the size of the stone, you may be able to notice as much as a five-degree difference in a poured dram. It's a slight change but just enough to cool the drink down from room temperature. Whiskey stones aren't able to cool your drinks as well or as fast as steel cubes or ice, so you'll need a few stones at once to get the same effect as adding an ice cube. If you want more than just a hint of coldness to your drink, however, consider using a stainless steel cube instead.

When should you use a stainless steel cubes?

Stainless steel whiskey cubes on the other hand freeze faster than whiskey stones and can help keep drinks cooler for longer. Cubes and stones made from steel can drop the temperature of a drink by as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit and can keep the dram cold for the better part of one hour. They also can be ordered in a variety of sizes and shapes to meet all of your drinking needs — from skulls, diamonds, and even smaller replicas of sporting equipment — which can certainly add a bit of fun to your next glass of whiskey.

At the end of the day, you'll have to choose whether you want to dilute your whiskey with water or if you want to try a stone made either of an organic material or steel to bring the temperatures of your drink below room temperature. If you think you'll be nursing your drink for a while, reach for the stainless steel cube. Otherwise, a whiskey stone will work just as well.