“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 fans of “whiskey neat”, it’s usually because they prefer drinking premium spirits without worrying about melting ice diluting their favorite single-malt scotch. (We say they wouldn’t have to worry about dilution if they were drinking that single malt poured over one of our oversized, 7x filtered Block Ice cubes, 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, ask your bartender for one of these on the rocks:
- Dewar’s 12-Year-Old The Ancestor Blend Scotch
- Johnny Walker Black Whiskey
- Tequila Ocho Plata
- Mijenta Reposado Tequila
- Hendrick’s Gin
- Plymouth Gin
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 speakeasy bar The Trophy Club serves this classic Negroni with an oversized Block Ice cube.
Smaller chips, chunks, or cubes will melt quickly. While this isn’t typically an ideal situation for most cocktails, there may be some cases when you do 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 serve 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.
Ready to order something cool and refreshing? Try one of these amazing cocktails on the rocks:
- Bourbon Old Fashioned
- Champagne Cocktails
- Gin and Tonic
- Long Island Iced Tea
- Mai Tai
- Mint Julep
- Moscow Mule
- 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!