Bourbon Neat vs. On the Rocks: Which Is Right for You?

Bourbon Neat vs. On the Rocks: Which Is Right for You?

Bourbon is a versatile spirit that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Two popular ways to drink bourbon are neat and on the rocks.  With Cumberland Falls Bourbon, there is no wrong answer as the small-batch and aging process allow for a smooth finish.  That being said, whether you prefer your bourbon neat or on the rocks is up to experimentation and personal preference.  Here are a few pros and cons to consider to get the most out of your bourbon.


Ordering bourbon neat means that it is served at room temperature without any ice. This allows you to experience the full flavor of the bourbon without any dilution.

Pros of ordering bourbon neat:

  • You can taste the full flavor of the bourbon.
  • The alcohol content is not diluted, so it will be stronger.
  • It is a more traditional way to drink bourbon.

Cons of ordering bourbon neat:

  • It can be too strong for some people.
  • The alcohol content can burn your throat.
  • It can be difficult to drink neat if the bourbon is not very smooth.

On the Rocks

Ordering bourbon on the rocks means that it is served with ice cubes. The ice will dilute the bourbon, but it will also make it more refreshing.

Pros of ordering bourbon on the rocks:

  • It is more refreshing than drinking bourbon neat.
  • The ice will help to mellow the alcohol content.
  • It is a more versatile way to drink bourbon, as you can add other ingredients to it, such as water, cola, or ginger ale.

Cons of ordering bourbon on the rocks:

  • The ice will dilute the flavor of the bourbon.
  • The bourbon will become watered down over time.
  • It is not as traditional as drinking bourbon neat.

Alternatives to Ice

There are a few alternatives to ice that you can use to cool down your bourbon without diluting it. 

  • Water: Adding a small amount of water to bourbon will help to open up the flavor and make it more smooth.
  • Whiskey stones: Whiskey stones are made of a material that will absorb heat without melting. They are a good option if you want to cool down your bourbon without watering it down.
  • Chilled glass: Using a chilled glass will help to keep your bourbon cool without diluting it.

What’s Your Preference?

There are a few reasons why some people might have preferences in how they order their bourbon. 

  • Personal taste: Some people simply prefer the taste of bourbon neat, while others prefer it on the rocks.
  • Strength: Bourbon on the rocks is less strong than bourbon neat, so some people might prefer it if they are sensitive to alcohol.
  • Occasion: The way you order your bourbon might also depend on the occasion. For example, you might order bourbon neat if you are enjoying it as a sipping drink, but you might order it on the rocks if you are drinking it in a cocktail.

Ultimately, the best way to order bourbon is the way that you enjoy it the most. There is no right or wrong answer, so experiment until you find what you like best.

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