Americans love to take their whiskey on the rocks and it’s not surprising considering the heat in some states.

It’s often presumed that a Bourbon is to be served with ice, but head over to Europe to spend some time around Scotland and things are very different over there.

The climate may be much colder in Scotland.  It rains at some point most days and it is more likely to find people huddling around the stills to warm up than using ice to cool down, but this is not the only reason why the Scots are not accustomed to adding ice to their whisky or would cover their ears and close their eyes at the mere prospect of it.

When whiskies are served over the rocks it lowers the temperature.  There are oils and particles that are waiting to be released to expose new aromas and tastes, but by lowering the temperatures they will huddle together instead of separating.

Unlike the Americans with Bourbons, the Scots are likely to add water at room temperature, one drop at a time.  By doing this the oils can be seen swirling around the glass, releasing those aromas and tastes and allowing the whisky to meet its full potential.

So, in the place of an ice bucket, it’s much more likely to see water jugs lining the bar.

Also, it’s preferred not to have too much of that water and unfortunately the ice melting into the glass would cause that to happen.  These days, that problem has now been solved with the use of whisky stones, small pieces of soapstone or steel that are kept in the freezer and put into the drink.

They are almost like a compromise for the rest of the world torn between the Americans rocks and the Scots drops of water.

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Jennifer Hardy
Jennifer is a writer for various websites mainly on the topics of travel, leisure, and whiskey mainly around Europe. She is originally from England, now living in Spain. When she isn't writing or reading, she can be found swimming or snorkeling during the summer and hiking in the mountains, equipped with a rucksack and tent during the winter months. You can visit her at, and