Saturday, 7 June 2014

7 Cool Ways to use Whiskey Stones

    So by now, most drinkers (and some non-drinkers) would know what whiskey stones are. However, just in case: whiskey stones, also called whiskey rocks, sipping stones or reusable ice cubes, are cubes of actual rock (at least the original ones are) that are used to chill whiskey and other beverages. The hype surrounding them has been slowly catching on over the past few years with many swearing by their functionality and others not convinced.

The whole purpose and relevance behind these…gadgets, if you may, is to chill the drink without affecting its flavor like ice would do (because ice melts). Obviously, this would appeal more to the purists who prefer their liquor neat (without any water added) but wouldn’t mind it being below room temperature. Also, the rock that they are made from, Soapstone, is non-porous so it doesn’t give off any odor or aftertaste which could affect the flavor of the drink. For those who may feel indifferent because they don’t drink whiskey (or alcohol for that matter), it should be noted that the stones can be used in anything meant for drinking. They are only so named because the person who invented them loves whiskey. Their usefulness does not stop at drinking, however. Here are 7 things that whiskey stones can be used for which may, or may not include whiskey.
1.       As an Icepack:
We all have had that soaring fever that turned us into the ‘human torch’ as our bodies fought off one pathogen or another. Similarly, we all can relate to a throbbing pain and/or swelling resulting from a painful blow, whether from playing sports, falling down the stairs or a guy being on the wrong end of his woman’s frying pan. Whatever the case, a cold pack made from whiskey stones might just be the right aid to reduce that swelling and relieve the pain. Grabbing a bag of frozen stones from the freezer and resting it on the forehead, under the arms or on affected muscle(s), results in a soothing chill which won’t cramp like ice often does and neither will it drip water all over.
2.       Cooling Down Hot Beverages:
Not everyone has mastered the art of sipping tea or coffee, and many have them at too high a temperature. Scalding the tongue because one misjudged the actual temperature of the liquid, is not uncommon to most people. When in doubt, one can easily toss in a few whiskey rocks straight out the freezer. They will drop the temperature to the desired level (depending on how many stones used) without affecting the taste as melting ice would do.
3.       Relieving Puffy Eyes:
In today’s rush-rush world, getting the required 8 hours sleep has become more of an unreachable ideal rather than reality. Heck, it’s pretty hard to find a member of the working class who gets in 5 or more hours for the night. Additionally, allergies and other (stressful) activities often cause a look of being sleepy when that is not the case. As a result, puffy eyes are now a main contributor to the profits incurred by the beauty industry, especially resulting from those who don’t have time for the teabag trick or the slices of cucumber. Whiskey rocks can do the trick as well. Much like how it can be used as an icepack for swellings, rest a few of the cold rocks over those puffy eyes for a few minutes and voila!

4.       Therapeutic Massage Stones:
Massage oil: check.
Soothing music: check.
Strong hands: check.
Massage stones: er…break out the whiskey stones?
Okay, so whiskey stones are not usually found at massage parlors, unless they serve whiskey while giving back rubs. However, Soapstone, the stuff from which the whiskey rocks are made, are among several types of metamorphic rocks used for hot and cold stone massage therapy. It is famous for its thermal properties and has been used for years for many temperature related applications. Whiskey stones allow the same treatment being offered at these spas to be done inexpensively at home, particularly for those couples who want to get a similar stone massage treatment without the cost of a spa session. Simply heat up those whiskey stones for a few minutes (or refrigerate them for a cold stone massage) and relax as they soothe the stress away.
5.       Relieving Cramps:
Ladies can definitely relate to this one, especially during that dreadful time of the month when their bodies collide with nature. Some women use heat pads for non-medical relief but some experts think that a cold pack may be better because some cramps result from a build-up of blood in the pelvic region. Either way, whiskey stones conduct heat and cold equally well so using them in the place of a heat pad or as an icepack can provide relief from cramps.
6.       Treating Hot Flashes:
Not picking on women here, but hot flashes are among the most common symptoms of menopause and stop short of driving women crazy who are affected by ‘change-of-life.’ Apart from medication and exercise, cold packs work well to lower high temperatures. Putting a frozen bag of whiskey stones under the pillow while sleeping will provide a level of relief (at least until sleep comes), although more than one bag might be needed to do the trick. They can also be used to chill drinking water kept by the bed, without making it too cold.
7.       Having ‘On the Rocks’ Parties (Duh!):
This goes for both drinkers and non-drinkers who want to do this literally. Whiskey rocks are suitable for any type of drink so whether it’s a soda party for kids, having Champagne on the rocks while celebrating or even a wine tasting event. Labeling the event as a truly ‘on the rocks’ experience will not only add hype but also originality based on the fact that 100% natural rock will be in actual use. This would also seem cool to people who are new to the world of drinking and those who may not be familiar with whiskey stones. The possibilities are endless for this idea, just think of the response by members of a private/VIP bar or one with an earthen theme.

Other things the whiskey stones might be good for: Soapstone jewelry, chilling champagne buckets, shooting birds with catapults (just kidding). Obviously, some of the uses of whiskey stones may seem counterproductive as it relates to cost (just use no-cost ice, right?). However, the benefits include the fact that frozen whiskey stones won’t cramp like ice often does when it hits a nerve and because it doesn’t melt, won’t cause a mess. Also, they are relatively inexpensive, with some of the best whiskey stones costing close to a dime a dozen on Amazon; plus they last forever (unless you hammer them, of course).

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