Skip to main content

By Block Ice | January 8, 2024

“On the rocks, please.” Some drinks just taste better poured over ice, combining a cold drinking experience with that oh-so-lovely warm liquor afterburn. While some may prefer their liquor served “neat” (at room temperature, without any mixer or extra ingredients), there are plenty of drinks that go down smoother when they’re served over ice.

The Best Liquors to Serve On the Rocks

For “whiskey neat” fans, it’s usually because they prefer drinking premium spirits without worrying about melting ice diluting their favorite single-malt scotch. With our 7x filtered Block Ice cubes, diluting your two-finger pour is an irrational fear, but we get it.

When you have premium liquor in your glass, especially a single-malt scotch or high-end Anejo tequila, you may want to simply sip your spirit as is.

But some liquors, like blended whiskeys, gin, and silver and reposado tequilas, taste even better when served over ice.

If you’re in the mood to sip a chilled liquor, check out the 2023 Sip Awards “Best of Class - Platinum Choices” for the best spirits meant to be enjoyed on the rocks:

The Best Cocktails to Serve On the Rocks

Ice has many benefits when added to a cocktail. Not only do you get a cool drink to sip, but the amount of dilution you get can also affect your cocktail experience.

Large ice cubes have more surface area, which means they’ll dilute slower, trickling a bit of water into your glass and creating a thirst-quenching experience, like drinking a glass of lemonade on a hot day. Large cubes are ideal when you have a perfect ratio of liquor to mix and don’t want to overly dilute the flavors of your cocktail.

Sacramento’s speakeasy bar, The Trophy Club, serves this classic Old Fashioned with an oversized Trophy Club stamped Block Ice cube.

Image of a Trophy Club Old Fashioned cocktail with an oversized Trophy Club stamped Block Ice cube.

Smaller chips, chunks, or cubes will melt quickly. While this isn’t typically ideal for most cocktails, there may be some cases when you want more dilution—typically when you have a very strong cocktail. Serve up a gin-based Bramble cocktail with smaller cubes of ice and watch the flavors shift from start to finish.

And, of course, some cocktails are meant to be served over crushed ice. Mint Juleps, daiquiris, and any cocktail with a slushy-like consistency just wouldn’t be the same if served at room temperature. For these cocktails, the ice texture adds to the overall drink experience.

Top 5 “On the Rocks” Cocktails

There are tons of cocktails that are meant to be enjoyed on the rocks. Everyone knows their old fashioneds, sours, and negronis, but what if we told you there’s more fun to be had? Check out our fave 5 unique cocktails to be served over ice.

Night Tripper

Originating from the New Orleans bar Jewel of the South, the Night Tripper is a sweet and bitter choice, perfect for any Old Fashioned lover. Blending flavors of bourbon with the herbaceous and citrusy dark amaro and strega, this cocktail makes for a great refreshing nightcap.

Rum & Smoke

Hiding under the guise of what may seem like a rum Negroni, the Rum and Smoke joins the league of amazing smoked cocktails. Balancing flavors of rum, sherry, Italian liquors, and smoked rosemary, this drink is the perfect mix of cinema, smoke, and smoothness.

The Rosita

Dating back to the 1970s, The Rosita is the Negroni’s Tequila cousin through and through. Both involve a combination of spirit, Campari, and vermouth, but the Rosita splits the difference between sweet and dry vermouth, in addition to a dash of Angostura bitters.

Cobra Verde

Although the name doesn’t suggest it, this drink doesn’t bite. Combining Midori, chile liqueur, and lemon juice with a nice aromatic tonic, the Cobra Verde will have you slithering to the bar for another.

Suffering Bastard

Pardon our French, or should we say Egyptian with this one…either way, the Suffering Bastard is actually named after the person it should help. Created originally as a hangover cure at Cairo’s Shepheard’s Hotel, this drink marries bourbon, gin, lime juice, bitters, and ginger beer, for an effervescent and thirst-quenching journey to the bottom of the glass.

Ready to order something cool and refreshing? Try one of these amazing cocktails on the rocks:

  • Bourbon Old Fashioned
  • Champagne Cocktails
  • Gin and Tonic
  • Limoncello
  • Long Island Iced Tea
  • Mai Tai
  • Margarita
  • Mint Julep
  • Mojito
  • Moscow Mule
  • Negroni
  • Paloma
  • Spiked Arnold Palmer
  • Tequila Sunrise
  • Tom Collins
  • Whiskey Sour

Here’s where we take a moment to remind you cocktail enthusiasts that the quality of your ice matters. You could easily ruin the best-made cocktail featuring the finest ingredients and premium spirits by dumping in ice that’s clouded and leaking out weird freezer flavors as it dilutes.

Whether you’re ordering a drink on the rocks with an over-sized cocktail cube from your favorite local bar or making a mojito or julep at home with a bag of ice chips, make sure your ice has been filtered, is clear, and has no weird odors or flavors that might ruin the drink experience.

These Northern California bars serve our Block Ice, handmade in Sacramento and 7x filtered through a reverse osmosis process that results in perfectly clear, flavorless cubes. Next time you belly up to one of these bars, be sure to order your drink on the rocks!

Photo courtesy of Anna Wick for Ro Sham Beaux Bar.