Whiskey Wednesday: How golfers should put ice in their whiskey, according to science

January 29, 2020

Over the past few weeks we’ve embarked on something of a golf and whiskey journey. The two being as closely related as they are, having at least a working knowledge of whiskey — especially when you’re a guest at a nice club — can make a good impression on your host. Thanks to Dewar’s Master Distiller Stephanie Macleod, you should have a decent understanding of the general etiquette of whiskey drinking. Let us now move onto another subtle art of whiskey drinking: How, when, and how much ice to put in your whiskey.

Of course, traditionally, whiskey is enjoyed “neat” (AKA, without any ice), but with the alcohol content of the drink upwards of 40 percent, many prefer to chill and slightly dilute their beverage with a few cubes — especially after a long summer round in the heat.

And now, thanks to the genius minds over at Whisky Advocate, who consulted an expert at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, they conducted a test and came away with some interesting findings. There’s even a couple of handy charts to go along with it, so check out the full article here.

If you’re going for a quick dram at the turn, go with a lot of small ice

The smaller the ice, the colder the whiskey. The downside is that smaller ice also melts faster and therefore dilutes the whiskey. But, if you’re making the turn and want some quick and cold swing oil on a hot day, load up on the smaller pieces of ice.

If recovering from a toasty round, go with one big cube

Large ice doesn’t cool the whiskey as much as small cubes, according to Whisky Advocate’s findings, but dilutes it more slowly. So if you walk off the course after a hot day and in the 19th hole to enjoy a not time-sensitive glass of whiskey, one big cube will both cool it, while allowing you to enjoy it slowly.

For slightly cold, non-diluted whiskey, go with whiskey stones

One of the most surprising findings in Whisky Advocate‘s article was about whiskey stones. They succeed in both lowering the temperature of the whiskey and not diluting the spirit, but they won’t lower the temperature significantly. So, if you’re looking for a bit of a chilled experience, that’s where they can come in handy.