The Truth About Whiskey Stones

Labor Day weekend has come and gone.

Looking back, it was an incredible weekend. Friday night I did nothing back sit in bed and watch Chicago Fire (ps. I just finished Season 2 yesterday...holy crap.) Saturday evening I had a wedding at the Floating World Gallery in Chicago's Lincoln Park. My previous landlords, Alex and Megan, allowed me to share their special day with them and it was incredible. Typically it takes a lot to get me out on the dance floor, whether it be peer or liquid encouragement. Yet once I heard Fancy by Iggy Azalea, I was out on that floor busting a move. I have to admit that I am impressed by my willingness to dance with people who I had never met before.

creek

While I was living in Logan Square, Alex and I would often drink whiskey on the rocks while playing countless games of Settlers of Catan. Being a sucker for most trends (juicing, smoothies, Vitamixes...) I felt the incessant need to buy whiskey stones. They were the hot new thing in bar trends. All the cool people were doing it. Yet somehow I could not get myself to spend the $20 on 9 1/2-inch pieces of soapstone. However, on one shopping day to TJ Maxx I was standing at the checkout and noticed a dilapidated torn up box. There, sitting on the bottom shelf, was a pack of whiskey stones. For $6.00. Thank you bargain shopping!

whiskeyrocks

After trying the whiskey stones on numerous occasions, I have unfortunately come to the decision that they are not a worthwhile trend. In fact, I use them from time to time, but more often than not they sit idle in my freezer. Here's my beef with whiskey stones:

  • In higher proof whiskeys, you may actually need a splash of water to help the flavors bloom and become more enhanced. At times, the burn of the alcohol in higher proof whiskey can over take the experience and take away from the flavors.
  • Whiskey stones do not stay cold as long as I'd like. Throw them in luke warm whiskey and within 5 minutes, the stones are warm as well.
  • Zero bartenders that I have been to offer whiskey stones as an option with their whiskey. These people do alcohol as a living. Perhaps we should take a cue from the professionals and drink whiskey neat or with a splash of water like more bartenders suggest.

What's your take on whiskey stones? Love them? Hate them? Are they a trend worth trying?

Are Cupcakes Dead?

In January 2011 I moved to New York City. The cultural, culinary and fashion hub of the United States. Little did I know that I would be walking into the cupcake mecca of the world. Magnolia Bakery. Crumbs. There were even food trucks sitting on Broadway in SoHo that served gourmet miniature cupcakes.

Three years later, I am not so certain that we can say the fad has lived on...

Cupcakes are Dead

 Look back at the last three decades. The 80s had frozen yogurt (although I think this snuck into the 2010s as well). The 90s had donuts (hello Krispe Kreme). And the 2000s gave way to an invasion of fancy gourmet cupcakes. Carrie Bradshaw and her gang of martini-downing women had visited Magnolia Bakery in an episode of Sex and the City in the early 2000s and the rest was history. Bakeries and shops began popping up all over the country.

I have to admit, I did play into the trend. I thought it was good to walk down Bleeker Street with my cousins dog in tow, a cup of coffee in hand, and a fresh Magnolia cupcake in the other. That is what New Yorkers were meant to do, at least the trendy ones.

In December of 2011 I left New York and with it, left behind the absurdity that was the trendy cupcake fad. There were no bakeries in Libertyville, IL that were creating the next big cupcake. It seems like no one really cared about cupcakes like they once used to. And within the last year, interest in this dessert have faded tenfold. Stock prices have plummeted and bakeries have scrambled to explain their loss in business. Crumbs even went so far as to blame Hurricane Sandy for their lack in cupcake sales. In mid-2011, Crumbs stock prices hovered around $13. Two years later, the price fell to only $1.70. This past April, BloombergBusinessweek published what very well may have been the cupcake fad's obituary.

What do you think? Are cupcakes still the trendy dessert? Or is something new going to dethrone these mini delicatessens?