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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food Drinking neat... when to add ice?
Drinking neat... when to add ice?
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 17, 2014
Posts: 969
From: Austin
Posted: 2017-07-31 08:07 am   Permalink

I've recently been spending more time sipping and enjoying quality rums such as Appleton 21, Joy and now getting into the Four Square cask series. I usually just pour a couple ounces in a glass and sip at my leisure but I've thrown an ice cube or two in with my El Dorado 15, Zacapa 23 and XO before, which usually has me drinking it faster to not over dilute the sauce. But I think ice also helps tame the latter ones as I find them to be pretty sweet on their own and the dilution helps mellow it a bit. Curious from a scientific point of view if ice is just a personal preference based on temperature and dilution, or if it has an actual impact on bringing out the flavors of the rum. I imagine for higher proof (i.e. cask strength) rums, a little dilution could be helpful.

A couple years ago a relative got me one of these cocktail glasses with metal balls that you freeze. It cools your drink without dilution. I never bothered to use it before but just got a second one as a gift from a new Total Wine store that opened in my area so figured I'd give it a shot.

Gotta say the Gunpowder proof is nicer with the added chill. Anyone have any input on the matter?

PS - Happy Tot Day!

[ This Message was edited by: mikehooker 2017-07-31 08:09 ]

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Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2400
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2017-07-31 08:52 am   Permalink

Mike, good questions, although I don't have a "scientific" answer for you.

I slowly sipped through a bottle of Booker's barrel-strength whiskey earlier this year. I sipped both with and without ice, and with and without added water. My thoughts, and they overlap and are a bit redundant, but that's what sobriety does, lol...

1) Strong spirits, neat, and when they're not super cold or diluted a bit, can temporarily deaden taste buds in your mouth. While dilution is a valid concern, ice and/or water relieve the effect of the stronger proof on the taste buds. Ice also incentivizes me to sip faster rather than nursing it for 30 minutes.
2) "Smoothing" of flavor and reduction of "edges" is noticed by adding ice or water to even a very good spirit. There must be some chemistry or science (Science!!) involved. So, at the risk of being redundant, an excellent spirit may still be improved with the addition of a small bit of ice or water.
3) The old "drop" or "two drops" to "open up" a spirit didn't really do much for me. I always found better results adding more than just "drops" to my glass.
4) Steve Remsberg once told me to use the cleanest water I can get for my spirits, even ice cubes need to be made with good clean water. I call this "curating" my bar ice, lol.

Conclusion? There's plenty of variance from person-to-person here to make it remain a preference thing. Sip neat or diluted? Depends on how your mouth and nose react to everything that's going on in the glass. I always try new stuff undiluted and un-iced to get the full purist experience. Then, when I go to sip and drink, I'll consider ice or water as diluents. This often raises my experience to truly new and greater heights of BS - "Better Sipping."

I attended two very high-end rum and whiskey tastings this year, and the experts at both conducted the tastings without adding anything. Now for drinking/sipping, I imagine they may likely have preferred to add a splash of water, or a bit of ice, etc. depending on personal factors.

Just last night I did this with Plantation O.F.T.D. -- added a small crescent ice cube from my fridge. Worked great, and helped get me through watching "Three Amigos," lol...

By the way, if you get a chance to try Booker's, it's good stuff with interesting flavors. Took me almost a whole bottle to "get it," but when I did, I was very glad I had picked up a second bottle on clearance at a local liquor store. First bottle to play with and experiment, second bottle to enjoy without worry.

Hope that helps. Let's see what others share here. Interesting topic.
Have I already exclaimed, "SCIENCE!!" Ok, I feel better now, lol...

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Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 17, 2014
Posts: 969
From: Austin
Posted: 2017-07-31 11:36 am   Permalink

Appreciate the insight, Ace!

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