7 Whiskeys That Actually Taste Better on the Rocks
If you drink your whiskey with ice but have been living in shame for years, it’s time to come out of the freezer. Science says that a little dilution actually helps whiskey taste better and even the great Anthony Bourdain says to go ahead and drop in a few cubes. It’s officially okay to drink your brown booze on the rocks, so fill up a few extra ice trays and pop open one of these whiskeys, all of which are particularly great with an ice cube or two.
Buffalo Trace ($28)
Delicious in any form—even straight out of the bottle—Buffalo Trace is smooth and just a little sweet, with a mild spice from the grain and oak on the finish. The slight chill from an ice cube brings up some bright orange zest notes, and that slick of melted water makes this silky bourbon even silkier. Plus, thanks to its affordable price point, you don’t have to feel any shred of guilt about icing this gentle giant.
Creamy and sweet (thanks to a mashbill that runs heavy on the corn), this whiskey’s salted pecan pie flavors mask some bright apple-y notes that come through only when you drop in an ice cube. It’s perfect for easy drinking on the back porch with a snack of cheese and crackers. Be wary though—at 90 proof, it packs a deceptive punch.
It might be from Massachusetts’s idyllic Berkshire county, but this bourbon can stand with the best of its Southern cousins. It’s hefty and dark, with a nutty, caramel finish that doesn’t quit. If you’re sitting around a campfire, trade straight swigs of this whiskey straight, but if you’re hanging out on the couch or having a leisurely drink out at a bar, try adding a giant cube. The chill enhances some gingery notes and dries out the thick maple flavor. The experience is less cozy flannel shirt and more light, breezy cardigan.
Sipped straight, this beast of a bourbon will knock a cold right out of you and clear up your sinuses. It’s fiery and spicy with roasted, salted almond notes and a lot of tasty oak. But add a cube, and you’ll tame this lion. The flavors are all still there, but now you can actually take a sip without beating your chest and blowing your nose.
Tincup American Whiskey ($30)
Distilled in Indiana and cut with Rocky Mountain water in Denver, this rye-heavy whiskey is perfect for mixing into Manhattans. Served over ice, it’s extremely crisp and light and much more restrained than some of the other whiskeys on this list. Try it over a couple of cubes and breathe in that fresh, Rockies air.
Though it comes in at a daunting 101 proof, Wild Turkey’s rye is surprisingly easy to sip. It’s much more honeyed than other ryes, with some hints of herbs, which come out much more prominently when you add ice. Get ready for mint and thyme, backed with some spicy grains and cinnamon. This is the kind of whiskey you can drink all day and never get tired of.
Jameson Irish Whiskey ($26)
It’s the go-to for so many and for good reason: Jameson on the rocks is practically apple juice, it’s so gosh darn chuggable. The whiskey’s natural honey flavors come forward, and the chill brings up some sneaky citrus notes. It’s beautifully balanced over ice—the only problem is holding back from drinking the whole thing before the ice even has a chance to melt.