Do you put ice in bourbon?

Answered by Robert Flynn

I do put ice in bourbon, and I believe many bourbon enthusiasts would agree with me. However, the decision to add ice to bourbon is a matter of personal preference. Some people enjoy sipping their bourbon neat, without any dilution or chilling, while others prefer it on the rocks.

Adding ice to bourbon can have a few benefits. Firstly, it can help to lower the temperature of the bourbon, which can be quite enjoyable on a hot day or when you want a refreshing drink. The coldness of the ice can also help to mellow out some of the alcohol burn that might be present in a higher proof bourbon.

Furthermore, adding ice can also bring out different flavors and aromas in the bourbon. As the ice melts, it slowly dilutes the bourbon, which can help to open up the flavors and make them more accessible. This is particularly true for bourbons with higher proof, as a little bit of dilution can help to soften the intensity and allow the subtler notes to shine through.

However, it is important to note that adding ice to bourbon can also potentially mask or mute some of the more delicate flavors. The cold temperature can numb the tongue slightly, making it harder to fully appreciate the nuances of the bourbon. Additionally, the melting ice can further dilute the bourbon, potentially altering the balance of flavors that the distiller intended.

To strike a balance between enjoying the chilled experience and fully appreciating the flavors of the bourbon, many bourbon enthusiasts opt for using large ice cubes or whiskey stones. These larger ice cubes melt slower, providing a longer-lasting chill without excessive dilution. Whiskey stones, on the other hand, do not melt at all and can be reused, offering a chilled experience without any dilution.

Ultimately, the choice to add ice to bourbon is a personal one, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. It depends on your preferences and the specific bourbon you’re enjoying. If you’re new to bourbon or find the alcohol burn too intense, adding ice can be a great way to ease into the experience. However, if you’re a seasoned bourbon drinker looking to fully appreciate the complex flavors and aromas, you may prefer to enjoy it neat or with just a splash of water.

The decision to put ice in bourbon is entirely up to you. Experiment with different methods and find what works best for your palate. Remember, there’s no wrong way to consume bourbon as long as you’re enjoying it responsibly and savoring the unique flavors it has to offer. Cheers!