Having a drink on ice is refreshing, but what many don’t know is that the ice we get served at bars contain bacteria that only whiskey can kill.
Vodka may be the preferred base for most cocktails, but a study published in the Annals of Microbiology has found that whiskey kills ice bacteria more effectively than clear liquors. That means whiskey is the safest spirit to drink on ice.
The research was carried out by Italian scientists who took 60 ice cube samples from home, restaurant, bar, and industrial sources, and found 52 strains of bacteria corresponding to 31 different species.
Considering the number of cocktails consumed daily, the stats are particularly troubling. While we may be able to take care of the cleanliness of our freezers at home, there is very little we can do about the ice chests and freezers at bars, restaurants, and lounges.
The research involved an intentional contamination of ice cubes with four most common strains of bacteria found by the researchers. Vodka, whiskey, a Martini, peach tea, tonic water, and coke were then mixed with the ice. What researchers found out is that while alcohol, CO2, and acidic pH levels consistently reduced the presence of bacteria, whiskey was the only liquid that eliminated all 4 strains of bacteria in the ice. The study finalised that in addition to the alcohol in whiskey, its higher acidity contributed to killing all of the bacterial strains in the ice.
It turns out that the reason whiskey does better against the bacteria is that it has a lower pH when compared to vodka and other clear spirits. So when next you want to show off your mixology skills, you might as well just go for a bottle of Jameson or Glenmorangie, and make yourself a Whiskey Sour.