What Whisky is Best on the Rocks? Expert Tips for Perfect Chilling

Rate this post

Whisky aficionados know that enjoying a dram on the rocks is not just a winter pastime. As temperatures rise, there’s no reason to put away your favorite spirits. In fact, the addition of ice can bring out new dimensions of flavor, making summer the perfect time to explore the world of whisky on the rocks. Here, we present five exceptional whiskies that are sure to keep you cool and refreshed during the hottest months of the year.

Whisky on the rocks is a timeless indulgence, but it takes on new significance when the mercury climbs. The chill of ice can transform the drinking experience, revealing hidden nuances and providing a welcome respite from the heat. Whether you’re lounging poolside or hosting a backyard barbecue, these five whiskies are guaranteed to elevate your summer sipping.

What Is a Good Whiskey on Ice?

A good whiskey on ice is one that maintains its flavor profile and complexity even when chilled. Look for whiskies that have a balanced combination of flavors, such as fruity, floral, spicy, or smoky notes, as these characteristics can still shine through when served over ice. Additionally, whiskies with a smooth finish and approachable character tend to fare well when chilled, as they remain enjoyable and refreshing even with the cooling effect of ice. Ultimately, the best whiskey on ice is a matter of personal preference, so don’t hesitate to explore different options to find one that suits your taste.

How to Serve Whiskey with Ice?

When serving whiskey with ice, there are a few considerations to keep in mind to ensure an optimal drinking experience. Here’s how to serve whiskey with ice:

  1. Choose the Right Glass: Use a glass with a wide mouth, such as a rocks glass or tumbler, to allow the aromas of the whiskey to fully develop.
  2. Add Ice Cubes: Place two or three large ice cubes in the glass. Large ice cubes melt more slowly, which helps to chill the whiskey without diluting it too quickly.
  3. Pour Whiskey: Pour the desired amount of whiskey over the ice cubes in the glass. Allow the whiskey to rest for a moment to acclimate to the temperature of the ice.
  4. Sip and Enjoy: Sip the whiskey slowly, allowing the flavors to unfold on your palate. As the ice melts, it will gradually dilute the whiskey, altering its taste and texture.

As for whiskey stones, these are small, non-porous rocks typically made from materials like soapstone or stainless steel. They are chilled in the freezer and then added to whiskey to cool it without diluting it like ice does. Here’s how to use whiskey stones:

  1. Chill Whiskey Stones: Place the whiskey stones in the freezer for at least four hours before using them.
  2. Add Stones to Glass: Once chilled, add two or three whiskey stones to the glass.
  3. Pour Whiskey: Pour the desired amount of whiskey over the stones in the glass.
  4. Sip and Enjoy: As with whiskey on ice, sip the whiskey slowly and savor the flavors. The whiskey stones will help to cool the whiskey without altering its flavor profile.

Ultimately, whether you choose to serve whiskey with ice or whiskey stones comes down to personal preference. Some people enjoy the gradual dilution of whiskey that comes with ice, while others prefer to keep their whiskey undiluted using whiskey stones. Experiment with both methods to determine which you prefer.

The Top Whiskey Choices for Enjoying on the Rocks

Glenmorangie The Original 10 Year Old

Glenmorangie Original 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky 35cl

Floral and Fruity Complexity

Glenmorangie The Original 10 Year Old is a Highland single malt scotch whisky celebrated for its floral and fruity complexity. When served on the rocks, this whisky truly shines, with the ice unlocking layers of flavor that are less perceptible at room temperature.

Smooth Finish and Approachable Character

With its smooth finish and approachable character, Glenmorangie The Original is a universal favorite among whisky enthusiasts. The addition of ice enhances its refreshing qualities, making it an ideal choice for cooling off on a hot summer day.

Laphroaig 10 Year Old

Laphroaig 10 Year Old Sherry Oak Finish Scotch Whisky

Iconic Islay Single Malt

Laphroaig 10 Year Old is an iconic Islay single malt known for its bold peat smoke and maritime character. While some may shy away from peaty whiskies in the summer months, Laphroaig 10 Year Old proves to be a surprising delight on the rocks.

Subtle Seaweed and Vanilla Nuances

When served over ice, the initial smoky intensity of Laphroaig 10 Year Old gives way to subtler seaweed and vanilla nuances. The cooling effect of the ice tempers its robust flavors, offering a refreshing and complex drinking experience that is perfect for warm weather enjoyment.

Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old

Whiskey Review: The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch –  Thirty-One Whiskey

Speyside Elegance

Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old is a Speyside single malt whisky renowned for its rich and mellow profile. Through a unique aging process in two types of wood, this whisky achieves a remarkable balance of sweetness, spice, and fruitiness.

Layers of Sweetness and Spice

The addition of ice accentuates the dried fruit and cinnamon notes of Balvenie DoubleWood, while softening its oak undertones. The result is a beautifully balanced sip that is both refreshing and complex, making it an ideal choice for summer sipping.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Review - What to Expect out of the Flagship Release &  Single Barrel Picks

Pinnacle of American Whiskey-making

Buffalo Trace Bourbon represents the pinnacle of American whiskey-making, with its deep amber color and rich, complex flavors. While some may associate bourbon with cozy fireside sipping, it’s equally enjoyable on a warm summer evening.

Sweet, Fruity Elements

When served over ice, Buffalo Trace Bourbon reveals its sweeter, fruitier elements, with the ice mellowing the spice for a smoother drinking experience. This bourbon is a testament to the versatility of American whiskies, proving that they can be enjoyed year-round.

Yamazaki 12 Year Old Whisky

The Yamazaki 12 Year Old Whisky: Price & Review (2023)

Pioneer of Japanese Whisky

Yamazaki 12 Year Old is a pioneer of Japanese whisky, offering a harmonious blend of malt and fruit with a spicy finish. While Japanese whiskies are often associated with refinement and sophistication, Yamazaki 12 Year Old is equally at home in a casual summer setting.

Fruity Sweetness and Softened Spice

The addition of ice enhances the fruity sweetness of Yamazaki 12 Year Old, while softening its spice. The result is a refreshing and sophisticated drinking experience that is perfect for cooling off during the summer months.

Is Serving Scotch on the Rocks Ever Acceptable?

Certainly! The debate over whether Scotch whisky should ever be served on the rocks is a longstanding one in the world of whisky aficionados. Here are some points to consider:

  • Traditionalists argue that serving Scotch on the rocks detracts from its flavor profile and complexity. They believe that the addition of ice dilutes the whisky and lowers its temperature, masking its nuanced aromas and tastes.
  • Adding ice to Scotch whisky does indeed cool it down and dilute it as the ice melts. This can alter the balance of flavors and aromas, potentially diminishing the experience for those who prefer to savor the whisky’s full complexity.
  • Cold temperatures can also numb the palate, making it harder to discern subtle flavors and aromas. This is why some whisky enthusiasts prefer to enjoy their Scotch neat, at room temperature, to fully appreciate its nuances.
  • However, there are those who enjoy the refreshing chill that ice brings to Scotch whisky. Some Scotch whiskies are specifically crafted to be enjoyed with ice, and the cooling effect can be pleasant, particularly on a warm day or as a refreshing drink.
  • Ultimately, whether Scotch whisky should be served on the rocks is a matter of personal preference. Some may prefer it neat to fully appreciate its complexity, while others may enjoy the cooling sensation and different flavor profile that ice brings. The most important thing is to enjoy the whisky in a way that brings you pleasure and satisfaction.


Whisky on the rocks is not just for winter nights—it’s a year-round indulgence that can be especially refreshing during the summer months. Whether you prefer the floral and fruity complexity of Glenmorangie The Original, the bold smokiness of Laphroaig 10 Year Old, the elegant balance of Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old, the rich complexity of Buffalo Trace Bourbon, or the refined sophistication of Yamazaki 12 Year Old, there’s a whisky on this list to suit every palate. So, why not pour yourself a glass, add a few cubes of ice, and toast to summer in style?