On the Rocks
(n.) A slang term for a drink with ice. A drink ordered “on the rocks” simply means a spirit, usually 2 oz, served over ice.
Ordering a drink on the rocks can have many benefits on your cocktail. The first benefit is the most obvious one -- to cool your drink. Rarely would you drink a mixed cocktail without ice since most are either stirred or shaken with ice in order to be enjoyed at optimal temperature.
Aside from merely cooling mixed drinks, ice can also bring out the flavor in aromas in certain spirits like whiskey and scotch. Many pretentious whiskey-lovers will advocate that it is sacrilegious to taint a nice, neat glass of whiskey with ice, but we find nothing wrong with the occasional rock or two in an old fashioned glass of whiskey. Mostly, it’s a matter of preference, and a little bit of ice in a glass of whiskey can tame a flavor you might otherwise deem to harsh for your enjoyment.
Other alternatives to ice in your cocktails includes in a chilled glass, neat (meaning with no ice) or straight up (meaning it was shaken or stirred with ice, then strained into a stemmed glass). But don’t let anyone tell you one way of ordering is “cooler” than the other. Let your freak cocktail flag fly.