Close up of a rocks glass is bourbon pours from a bottle into the glass
Does The Type Of Ice You Pair With Bourbon Actually Make A Difference?
By Lorien Crow
Some drinkers worry that ice will dilute the caramel, vanilla, and oak flavors in their favorite bourbon. However, there are ways in which ice can enhance the bourbon experience.
Different shapes and sizes of ice interact differently with bourbon and the glass it's served in. For starters, larger pieces of ice melt slower than smaller cubes or shavings.
This allows the flavors and aromas of the drink to emerge gradually, and Beau Williams, owner of Kansas City’s Julep, says that large ice allows for a more even sipping experience.
"I want a similar experience from when I start to when I finish," Williams says of his ideal bourbon sipping session. If you agree, you'll also want to use the right type of glass.
A drink served "on the rocks" not only contains ice, but is usually served in a rocks glass, which keeps your large ice cube in the center of your bourbon so it melts evenly.
If you're new to bourbon and don't want your first taste to be influenced by a big ice cube, but you could still use a little dilution, try adding a bit of water instead.
If you're sipping on bourbon sans ice, Williams recommends using not a rocks glass, but a curved glass with a tapered top to "capture aromas and funnel them upwards."