Whiskey chilling stones: what is their secret?
Connoisseurs of real whiskey and other elite types of alcohol know that ice cannot be used to cool them. They use special stones – cubes made of natural material.
Such coolers allow you to achieve the correct and stable temperature of the drink without spoiling its taste. How whiskey stones work and what are their advantages, we will consider further.
The idea of using stone whiskey cubes instead of ice belongs to the American Andrew Hellman. As a true connoisseur of this elite alcoholic drink, he is well versed in its varieties and knows the rules of consumption.
For his invention, Andrew was looking for a natural material that would meet the following characteristics:
- easy to process;
- does not absorb moisture, smells and tastes;
- has a high thermal conductivity;
- does not affect the taste and color of the drink;
- safe for health.
The choice fell on steatite, which is also called soapstone. Some peoples attributed healing properties to it.
The use of polished cube-shaped stones was first introduced in the USA in 2007. In American establishments that sold elite alcohol, they even came up with a special name for whiskey with cooling cubes – on the rock.
How whiskey stones work
To fully enjoy the elite drink, feeling its unique taste, you need to bring it to the right temperature. Ideally, it should be 16-18 ° C. If ice is used to cool the whiskey, the temperature of the whiskey will quickly drop to too low a point, and then begin to rise again. In addition, the drink will become diluted and partially lose its taste.
When using steatite stones, whiskey is cooled gradually to the required temperature, and it is maintained at the same level for a long time. This effect is due to the characteristics of the material from which the coolers are made.
Steatite has high thermal conductivity and heat capacity. Because of these properties, stone is often used to build stoves and fireplaces.
There is an opinion that stones from any solid materials can be used to cool drinks. The main thing is to cool them properly before placing them in a glass of drink. This is a big misconception.
Often, granite stones are sold under the guise of steatite. Minerals have an external similarity, but radically differ in structure. The surface of granite is porous, so liquid residues will accumulate in it, harmful microorganisms can start. In addition, the material is hazardous to health: granite is radioactive and contains potassium.
Quite often on sale there are metal accessories for cooling drinks. They can be shaped like a cube or a bullet.
It would seem that this material can also effectively reduce the temperature of drinks. But its action is not as long as that of steatite. The metal heats up quickly and stops cooling the liquid. In addition, whiskey can acquire an unpleasant metallic aftertaste.
Rules for using soapstone cubes
The effectiveness of whiskey stones largely depends on how they are used. It is important to follow a few rules in order to enjoy the unique taste of an elite alcoholic drink.
Wash cubes thoroughly in soapy water before first use. This can be done by hand or in the dishwasher.
Wipe the stones dry with a napkin or towel.
Place them in a special bag, which is present in the set with cubes, and put them in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
Use 3 chilled stones per serving of 50-70 ml whiskey.
After use, rinse accessories thoroughly, dry and place in a case.
For convenience, it is recommended to pour the drink into a special glass with a wide thick bottom.
Do not worry that the stones can damage the glass. By itself, steatite is quite soft, besides, it is polished by hand to perfect smoothness.
These unusual accessories can be stored both in a case and in a freezer. In the latter case, you will always have chilled cubes ready.
How else can stones be used?
Steatite cubes are versatile products. With their help, you can not only cool alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, but also heat them. This can raise the temperature of very cold juice or water.
Also, steatite stones will help to warm up the cooled tea or coffee and will maintain the temperature of the liquid at an optimal level.
Knowing how whiskey stones work for the purpose of cooling, it is easy to guess how they increase the temperature of the liquid with their help. To do this, heat the cubes in the oven or in the microwave. The second option is more convenient, as it allows you to quickly heat the product to a high temperature.
Important! Do not touch hot stones with bare hands, otherwise you may burn yourself. Use kitchen tongs or oven mitts.
To heat 200 ml of drink, you need to use 3-4 stones. And to maintain the temperature, it is enough to lower 2 steatite cubes into a glass or cup.