Whiskey Stones: Behind the scenes.
No one understands Scotch better than the Scots, the Irish are whiskey experts. Based on the opinions of professionals, such alcohol simply cannot be diluted with water, cola, or ice.
A good whiskey doesn’t need additives, the only thing it needs is the right temperature, namely 16-18 °C (60.8-64.4 °F)
It is wrong to chill a drink in the refrigerator, and the room temperature is usually higher than necessary. Cooling whisky stones are great for solving this problem.
Today, the number of variations of whiskey stones is too large, in this article you will find out which are the best, and most importantly, the safest. Nephrite whiskey stones are the most valuable, and the process of making them is more like a kind of magical rite. Therefore, we want to introduce you to this particular material. After reading this article, you will want to become the proud owner of a set of whiskey stones.
The Origin and Production
Nephrite is mined all over the world, but the largest deposits are located in Russia. There are more than 5 deposits in Russia. The richest of them is the East Sayan group, as well as Vitim and Dzhida. Another deposit is located in the Polar Urals.
Russian nephrite deposits were discovered in the 19th century. Before that, it was necessary to buy the mineral in China, where it was valued above gold and was worth fabulous money. The first deposits of nephrite in Russia were located only in the Eastern Sayan, only a century later new ones were found in the Urals.
Thanks to the finds of new deposits, Russia was able to reach the leading level in the extraction of this material. From the 19th to the 21st centuries, according to official data, more than 7000 tons of nephrite were mined in Russia.
Most of the nephrite deposits are located at the sites of intrusive igneous rocks intrusion into serpentines. There are rare deposits where nephrite was formed as a result of the impact of magma on magnesium-rich dolomites. Nephrite is mined both in quarries and by reclamation at the bottom of streams.
Nephrite mining conditions are very difficult. There is only one technology – drilling and blasting operations are used during stripping operations. Waste rock is exploded and transported to external and internal dumps.
During blasting operations, a “safety cushion” of 2.5-3 meters is left to the body of nephrite, so as not to touch the mined nephrite, then the hydraulic breakers, centimetre by centimetre, approach the cherished “body” of the stone. And, practically by hand, using heavy equipment, the mineral is taken out of the host rocks, the nephrite stone, trying not to damage it. The extracted raw nephrite, after field sorting, is sent to the finished product warehouse.
It is the heroes that can be called the people who devoted their lives to the extraction of nephrite.
Such work requires complete concentration and dedication. Nephrite is mined seasonally, for three months. It will be morally difficult for any person to move into an unfavourable habitat for three or more months and engage in explosions and excavations.
Everyone who goes into this business must have an iron restraint, be calm, not come into conflict and always be ready to help colleagues. Many people face psychological problems, so the most important thing is to support each other and remain human.
In the conditions of nephrite mining, there is no possibility of going to a workshop or welding, so each employee must be a professional and understand how to handle the equipment.
Newcomers are always supported and trained by more qualified workers who are ready for long-term mentoring.
Another important condition is health. Before being sent to the site, all miners undergo a full examination, since if necessary, it is not always possible to immediately receive the necessary medical care.
It is important to note that with this kind of work, the mining team becomes a kind of family, so nephrite is mined in a favourable environment. Therefore, connoisseurs of good alcohol, lowering whiskey stones into the glass, do not even suspect how hard these stones were obtained.
After the processed material enters the warehouse, it is manually processed. The stones are cut to shape and then polished. The standard size of a nephrite stone is 20×20 mm.
Getting into the hands of the master, each pebble goes through a long system of verification and control, and then the painstaking process of creation begins. It is not enough to simply polish the stone to standards. The main thing is to recognize with the naked eye the beauty and pattern of the stone, often hidden under a rough crust. This is important not only for beauty and aesthetics but also to understand how the stone will behave during processing.
Then – marking the stone. Nephrite is very valuable, and you need not only to reveal the pattern of the stone but also to use it carefully. The stone is sawn with a diamond wheel as the others do not stand up.
Then cutting and polishing begins. Grinding is the longest and most painstaking process. For each grade of nephrite, different circles, pastes, touch angle, pressure force, and even a secret ingredient are applicable. His secret is not revealed to anyone by the masters.
The finished pebble is carefully examined before putting it up for sale. For storage, leather bags or cases are made. It is important to use lint-free materials so that not a single lint sticking to the stone interferes with the enjoyment of the drink.
Considering this process of processing the product, we can say that each stone is made with love.
How does it work
Whiskey stones should be rinsed with warm water before use. Store preferably in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator in a case or bag until needed. 2-3 pebbles are enough to chill 50 grams of the drink, so a set of 9 whiskey stones is ideal for a company.
The stones cool the drink gradually and maintain the temperature for a long time, so there is no need to count on an instant effect. The whiskey will cool down to the ideal temperature in a few minutes, during which time you can fully imbued with the aroma of the drink. The stones will stay cold for a long time, so there is no need to return them to the refrigerator after each whiskey.
After application, the stones are washed under a stream of ordinary water and removed until the next use.
The most important thing when using whiskey stones is to understand that they are not harmful to the body. They do not react with the contents of the glass, do not add or take away anything to it.
Whiskey stones are a great addition to your drink.
Firstly, unlike ice or cold cola, stones do not melt and do not diminish the enjoyment of the drink. A glass with heavy cubes is nice to hold in your hand and feel like an aristocrat.
Secondly, each stone is made by hand, with awe of the master, which makes them even more exclusive. The mining process will make every connoisseur feel special if you know the history of mining.
Thirdly, they are safe for health. The mineral does not enter into any reactions either with alcohol or with any liquid.
Whiskey stones are a great addition to the home bar as well as a personalized gift for lovers of good drinks. Whiskey stones will serve you for many years. Since 2007, there has not been a single known case of breaking cubes.
It is also worth noting that, following ancient beliefs, nephrite has magical properties. It helps ward off the evil eye, stay focused on work, and has many more useful properties, which you can read about in this article.
Here you can buy nephrite stones for whiskey, made according to all the canons of production described in this article.