Stop me if you have heard this one, KitchenBoy is writing a review of a soapstone product designed to chill fine spirits. It’s true, I have previously written about Teroforma’s Whiskey Stones and their competitor, Whiskey Disks. So to be fair, I must tell you about my newest find, Sipping Stones. The Sipping Stones were given to members of the press at an event sponsored by International Housewares Association.
Before we see how they function, I want to take a quick moment to mention a couple of points that relate not only the Sipping Stones, but all spirit chilling devices.
I strongly believe that a proper understanding of this product determines your opinion of its effectiveness or lack thereof, so I submit this text from my first article on soapstone spirit chillers:
“… let’s begin with what these stones are not meant to do. Often, these stones are purchased with incorrect understanding of their use and I may be able to save you some time and frustration.
** These stones are not a replacement for ice cubes in water, tea, soft drinks. They are not intended for that purpose and cannot make those beverages icy cold.
** They are not intended to be used in a glass of wine. Personally, I am not a fan of shocking wine with ice. Wine is best handled gently, even wines meant to be consumed chilled should be done over time. These stones will NOT chill the wine.
So with those 2 big clarifications out of the way, what the heck are these stones for?
These stones are meant to bring a slight chill to a glass of spirits without watering down the drink. These stones will not, in any volume, give you an ice cold drink. Don’t buy them and think you can use them in your iced tea or lemonade. I know I am repeating myself, but proper expectations are essential with this product…”
What are Sipping Stones?
Sipping Stones were created, designed, and developed by SCS Inc. Founded in 1998, SCS Inc is a leading internet retailer and manufacturer of unique products in many different categories. SCS Inc prides themselves on innovation and creativity. Sipping Stones was the brainchild of two company buyers and frustrated whisky drinkers who were tired of watered down spirits.
What you get for $14.95 are 9 stones made from natural soapstone and a muslin storage bag. The stones, like Teroforma’s Whiskey Stones, are easy to use. Simply follow the directions on the package: wash the stones in water, dry them, put them in the muslin bag and store in the freezer for 2 days. Once they are nice and cold, place the stones in a glass in a single layer, pour your beverage of choice and wait 5 minutes. To maximize their effectiveness, they recommend pouring no more than 2 ounces.
As said before, I tend to prefer to drink whiskey in a basic tumbler or Double Old Fashioned (DOF) glass and these stones fit comfortably in this type of glass. More traditional or sophisticated whiskey glasses will not work as well with these soapstone products.
How Are They Different?
The truth is Sipping Stones aren’t really all that different from Teroforma Whiskey Stones.
A quick comparison:
Packaging – Both come with a muslin bag for freezer storage.
Contents – Both contain 9 – 3/4″ square cubes.
Price – Whiskey Stones – $19.99 and Sipping Stones – $14.95.
Weight – 3 Whiskey Stones weigh 2.875 ounces while 3 Sipping Stones weigh 2.2 or 2.3 ounces depending on the combination of stones used.
Material – Both are made from soapstone. Teroforma sourced and manufactured in Vermont. Sipping Stones made from soapstone overseas.
Sipping Stones in Action
I found that like their competition, three Sipping Stones provide the maximum and most practical amount of chill, but you can experiment to find the correct formula for your taste.
When using Teroforma Whiskey Stones, I measure a 7-12 degree drop in the whiskey temperature, the Sipping Stones I used were consistently 2-4 degrees less cool in side by side comparisons. This is probably due to the lighter mass of the stones. The question becomes is this a bad thing? If you weren’t doing a side by side comparison, you probably wouldn’t know any different. And for some people the lesser drop in temperature may be more to their liking.
The fact remains that a slight chill was achieved and I wouldn’t expect the Sipping Stones to outperform the competition, just accomplish the same general goal.
As the function of the stones was almost identical to the competition and given that the overseas production means the Sipping Stones are less expensive, they represent a value purchase.