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On the Rocks: The Best Liquors Served on Ice


There’s something about sipping a drink on the rocks that makes anyone come off as a class act. And while pouring Black Velvet onto a handful of ice cubes probably won’t impress anyone, knowing which drinks serve best over ice in a rocks glass will impress your friends, peers and family, as well as inform your future drinking choices.

Gin: Gin is a drink as divisive as they come. Some love it, some hate it. But like any alcohol, your reaction to it all depends on the quality of booze you’re drinking. While a cheap gin has the distinctive taste of drip water under a Christmas tree, a quality gin is smooth and drinkable, with an predominant flavor of juniper berries (actually the term ‘gin’ itself comes directly from an abbreviation of the French translation of juniper). A gin on the rocks with a twist of lime is a good liquor, or add it to some tonic for a refreshingly classy drink no matter what the circumstances. Recommendations: Bombay Sapphire or Tanqueray.

Amaretto: Whether you’re sitting in a hot tub in the midst of winter, or relaxing on the porch under the scorching heat, a nice glass of amaretto on the rocks is a perfect little treat. While it’s lower alcohol content won’t leave you with a hefty buzz, it’s drinkable, rich in flavor, and refreshing with strong tones of almond and subtle hints of apricot. Amaretto is perfectly complimented by a little melt water and unmistakably better when served chilled. Recommendation: Disaronno.

Scotch: Perhaps the most iconic drink on the rocks is a fine scotch whiskey. Often referred to simply as scotch, this acquired taste hails from Scotland and must be barrel-aged for 3 years before it takes on its revered namesake. Scotch is served predominantly on ice, because many prefer the resulting flavor once it’s been mixed with the water from the melting ice. Some prefer to have their scotch neat, or without ice, because they don’t want to dilute the complex flavors of the scotch. But we all know that any Sean Connery-type gentleman would order his scotch on the rocks and so should you. Recommendation: Any well-aged single malt.

Patrón: While I’m certainly not suggesting that you should put just any old kind of tequila on ice, Patrón drizzled over ice is a real treat. It’s sweet, with a strong tequila bite and gives you a really smooth, consistent buzz that won’t leave you with a killer hangover (you can thank the 100% blue agave for that: a natural sugar extracted from pineapples, which makes it more delicious, more natural, and not so artificially sweet). Plus, each Patrón bottle is made of hand-blown glass and individually numbered which makes you feel a little bit special while you’re drinking it – right? If you find the taste a little overwhelming at first, try serving it with some lime on the ice.

White Russian: Ok, so it’s not a conventional liquor, but the official drink of The Dude is a classic drink truly naked without ice. White Russians are made up of three key ingredients: vodka, heavy cream, and Kahlúa, and can be garnished with a pinch of nutmeg. Serve in an Old Fashioned glass.

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