Chiller "Pucs" for your whiskey, etc on Kickstarter

An extremely successful Kickstarter project ($41K raised on a $2500 goal, with 36 days left) promises stainless steel chiller pucks to go in your drinks. They're rather nice to look at, and promise not to impart any flavors, nor water down your bevvy. These are rather similar to the (controversial) Coffee Joulies from 2011, and at #8 for 6 "pucs" in a walnut case, it's a somewhat pricey accessory.

Pucs are precision machined from solid 304 stainless steel - the same material used in most medical, dental and kitchen tools. For that reason they are 100% inert, will not add or subtract from the flavor your drink in any way, will not absorb smells or flavors from your freezer, will not rust, oxidize, degrade, discolor, leak, pit, chip, flake, crack or dissolve. They're impervious to every drink imaginable, can also withstand tons of pressure and have a melting point of 1450°F! Pucs are completely dishwasher safe - either clean them with soap and water or give them a quick ride in the dishwasher, then send them to the freezer to re-chill.

Pucs: rechargeable ice! (via Yanko)


  1. “They’re impervious to every drink imaginable,” I don’t think they have much imagination.

    1. Presumably “drink” here is defined as things a human digestive track could survive unassisted. I suppose you could make a drink laced with stomach acid and it would probably eat through the T304 stainless steel (iron-chromium-nickle-carbon alloy used in medical equipment), but drinking any substantial amount of that would leave you wearing dentures.

      1. Well, stomach acid is mostly hydrochloric acid, and they actually use that to clean steel.

        Nitric acid, muriatic acid, sulfuric acid… that’d do it. Maybe a little splash of vermouth.

        1. Even mildly prolonged exposure to un-rinsed HCl (even at a mere 5K PPM) will, nevertheless, weaken and corrode any carbon-steel alloy. Would this take longer than the time one would leave these in the “drink”? I don’t know as I’m not a chemist or metallurgist. But I think it’s fair to say the pucs would not be impervious to stomach acid.

          1. Hear, hear! 
            While 304 stainless is kinda resistant, it’s not ‘inert’.  For example, it’s useless for building ‘wet’ photo lab equipment – seasoned bleach-fix will eat through it.  316 Stainless is much more resistant.  

            I wouldn’t use these pucks.  When I drink my whiskey, I drink it neat, no ice; I like to pretend that I’m back in Scotland in the Northwest Highlands overlooking a purple expanse of heather covering the hills, where refrigeration (and especially ice) is an unnecessary expense.

          2. Also, the kind of whisky you’d spend $35 on fake ice cubes for probably shouldn’t be chilled in the first place. You’re paying quite a lot for the taste.

    2. The Pan-galactic gargle blaster comes to mind. I imagine the pucs would dissolve. Or explode.

  2. :/ I like a little ice in my whisky. That way I can drink it fast or let it get watered down. My choice by drink.

    1. Thank you. I’ve often heard that the hoity-toity whisky tasters sprinkle a little water in theirs, just to keep the alcohol fumes from killing their taste buds before they taste anything. A while ago I decided, what the hell, I can accomplish the same thing with ice. Proponents of mindless oneupmanship usually want that to make me an inferior drinker, so screw them.

        1. “Mandrake, have you never wondered why I drink only distilled water, or rain water, and only pure grain alcohol?”

      1. The one issue with icing a naturally fragrant and flavorful beverage like whisk(e)y, which is generally full of volatle compounds,  is that it can deaden the flavor and aroma of the drink.    Especially when contemplating, say, a good single-malt Scotch, it seems a bit counterproductive.

        1. For me, ice makes Scotch more enjoyable, and is therefore quite productive. Though I am not at all productive after drinking the Scotch.

        2. I wouldn’t do it to a single malt. Just ordinary whisky. But I don’t drink very much single malt.

          1. I find no complaint with that.  I greatly enjoy a nice Teacher’s (one of the better cheap blends IMO) + ice water.  

            Plus, single-malts are getting too bloody expensive to drink more than a glass at a time.  

          2. On reflection, I think that what bothers me about the puck is this: if the whisky is the kind that’s too good for ice, it doesn’t need to be cold. Conversely, if it’s the kind that you want to have cold, you might as well put ice in it.

        3. My theory is a lot of people don’t really like the taste of scotch. This is allowed. However, it’s pretty expensive and if you don’t like the taste it seems more sensible to just drink something you do like.

          1. I am in total agreement .  A lot of people DO actually like Scotch, but – especially for some single-malts like Islays – it can be very much an acquired taste.

            I think a significant (and increasing) number of people drink it because it’s trendy, thus the ridiculous prices seen of late.

          2. I wonder how many people who say these things are in cool climates. Drinking Scotch that is heated to 80 degrees (the average temp in my home 8 months out of 12)  is probably a very different thing than drinking it in a cool room. But with everything. Snobs are inevitably idiots. Why? They can’t taste what you taste, so any insistence on their way is a sign of supreme ignorance. My ancestors drank moonshine, hot, but they didn’t give a flying fuck how good it tasted… they just hated life.

  3. Don’t come crying to me when you’re taking your last sip and one slides down and knocks your teeth out.

    1.  Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. Teeth breakers is what these are.

      If people want chilled whiskey they could, you know, chill the whiskey and the glasses and not have to worry about knocking their teeth out. I mean, when you are getting drunk there are plenty of people who will do that for you. No need to do it to yourself.

      1. Teeth breakers?

        How about drunk chokers? 

        “Methought it was a bit o ice and -gaaakkk-”

        No thanks.

    2.  or when you toss a few in your glass…  and break your glass.  there’s a sucker born every minute.

  4. Or you could, you know, go to the hardware store and buy some stainless nuts and bolts.

    There’s been a revival of this idea lately, with similarly fancy STONE cubes and other such things. The best of them has I think always been the mysterious liquid-filled Piet Hein superellipse version, one of which I have…
    …but it’s still not very good. It’s a much better fiddle-toy and art object than it is a drink cooler.

    Liquid-filled metal coolers at least have the POTENTIAL to work better, since phase-change is why ice cubes work so well. Solid metal or stone ones may be decorative, but unless you “charge” them in liquid nitrogen or something, they just won’t do very much. Except break glasses.

    1.  A friend of mine uses the stone cubes. The few times I’ve been over and we used them, I felt as if they imparted a distinct mustiness to the drink, but, it might just be my imagination and a lack of proper sampling size. YMMV, I guess.

      1. I haven’t experienced these from drinking alcohol, but a similar thing was popular at some point for general ice cube replacement. I found the same thing. They have a chemical/plastic taste that is more obvious than the taste of the ice itself. IMO if you don’t want too much ice, ask for very little ice and drink it fast… or strain the ice once the drink is cooled.

        1. In beautiful Palm Springs, the water is so hard that you get a precipitate at the bottom of your glass when you shake a cocktail. Even ice can taste nasty.

          1.  In our house in lovely Tucson, the (formerly wonderful, now yucky) tap water goes through a reverse osmosis system before it ever gets to the icemaker.

          2. Sounds…appetizing.  I’d be spending a fortune on water softener salt and a whole-house filter.  

  5. I was going to suggest just buying stainless steel bearings or rod on ebay, but based on the cost of materials this isn’t that bad of a deal. Those pucs look to be maybe 3/4-1″, so it’s maybe slightly more expensive, but not much. Add in the case and it’s pretty decent.

    edit: read that as costing ~$15. At $35, you’re getting screwed.

  6. “Most experienced scotch drinkers would agree that a splash of pure branch water helps release the unique flavor signatures of that batch. Keep it pure!”

    Most experienced scotch drinkers also agree that you don’t want to chill your scotch…ever.

    1.  Shoo yeh? I’s most experienenced sclocht drinker. Ahn I tellls yah, I tells yah…


      -Dictated by Siri.

    2. Gosh it depends doesn’t it?  I mean I have drunk Scotches I’d treat much like an amazing brandy, in that I would not mix it with anything or chill it. Rather I would drink it cool (where I live this does mean cooler than room temp which would be *warm* to most) and let it benefit by warming in my hand a bit. But not all scotch is created equal. Some of it really might as well be mixed with soda.

      1. Sure.  If you’re drinking, say, a cheapo like Dewar’s or Johnnie Walker Red Label, ice/soda/water are all well-recommended.  

        If you do the same with, say, a dram of 18-year-old Macallan, you deserve to be taken out and maimed.

  7. Yeah, my uncle Frank might have liked these back in the 50s n 60s, back when there was nothing else to worry about except how to cool your whiskey.  Fah!

  8. I wonder if theses are items that are normally manufactured and then repackaged as ‘chillers’ with the special case.

    I bet I could get a kickstarter for selling magnetic ‘cow magnets’ from the feed and grain store as cocktail chillers.

    But they’re magnetic–so they’d have magical properties. You can’t explain that.


  9. These things are effective, to about the same extent that waving your hand over your drink to cool it off is effective.  The amount that one of these things will cool down your drink is miniscule compared to even a aingle ice cube.  It takes a *huge* amount of energy to turn 31.9 degree ice into 32 degree water, all of which gets removed from your drink.  To get the same amount of cooling as one ice cube you would probably need half a pound of these metal pucks.
    When I have a party I buy a bag of ice for a couple of bucks; it lasts all night.  Once you use a half dozen or so of these to cool a drink, you have to wait for the guest to finish the drink, fish the puppies out, wash them off, then put tham back in the freezer for a while before you can use them again.
    This is a good idea how?

    1. Too true. People always forget that the cooling power comes from the melting of the ice.

      This is also why the argument that those ridiculous (though beautiful) spherical ice “cubes” somehow cool your drink while melting less is complete nonsense: if the ice melts less, it cools less, end of story.

  10. A basic understanding of heat capacities would reveal that this is useless.  Per volume, water and stainless steel have about the same heat capacity – meaning that if you started with a bag of ice cold water in your drink you’d do just as well.  The real win for ice is that the heat of fusion is crazy high – something like the same heat spent raising the water 20 degrees celsius – and it’s all spent at 0 degrees celsius keeping your drink cool.  In order to keep your drink cold with these stainless steel things you’d be swapping them out every 2 minutes.

    You’d be better off with just ice cubes in a ziploc bag, or a product called “reusable ice cubes” which are essentially the same thing.

  11. I’m sorry to be “that guy”, but as a thermodynamics expert I can tell you this is never going to work. 

    The reason ice is good at keeping drinks cool is that as the ice melts it absorbs latent heat, keeping the surrounding liquid close to its melting point of 0 Celsius until it’s all gone. On the other hand a cold lump of steel will will just absorb sensible heat from the liquid, increasing its own temperature. This will happen pretty rapidly, because steel doesn’t have a very high heat capacity (it’s about a tenth that of water – see You’d be marginally better off with a puck made of glass or wood, but still it wouldn’t really get you very far.

    If the pucks were made of water sealed inside a slightly flexible and thermally conductive container then the idea might make sense. Then the ice could melt, absorbing latent heat, without diluting the surrounding liquid. But putting solid lumps of steel into your drink just isn’t going to do an awful lot.

      1. I am not ashamed to say that I actually have some of those.   And I have used them in whisky.

    1. Try telling that to your tipsy host, who has just offered you a drink of some nice Scotch with steel pills in the bottom of the glass.

    2. If the pucks were made of water sealed inside a slightly flexible and thermally conductive container then the idea might make sense. 

      So…perhaps thin, hollow spheres of…gold, say?   Would other liquids inside be more effective than water?

      1. There are liquids with higher latent heats than water, but you’d also need it to have a freezing point similar to water. Too high and it won’t keep the drink very cold; too low and it won’t freeze in a domestic refrigerator. And of course, it would have to be non-toxic, since you could never completely eliminate the possibility of a leak. Given these constraints, I think water is most likely the best choice.

        1. There are gel refrigerants (used pretty routinely in food and medical shipping), which are at the very least labeled as non-toxic.

          1. From what I can find in MSDSs, the gel is typically sodium polyacrylate (i.e. water absorbing crystals).  Harmless stuff AFAIK.  

    3. The heat capacity per unit mass is much higher for water, but because the density of steel is much higher than water, the heat capacity per unit volume is nearly the same.   So steel is about as good as cold water, but the big factor is the heat of fusion/latent heat you mention – so it’s nowhere near as good as ice.

    4. yeah, you are the fifth “That Guy.” New rule (jk) You can only make the “Am I the only one . . .” comment if you actually read al the comments.

      1. Yeah, I love this! Generally, in any comments, it drives me nuts when someone says “Am I the only one that…” Think about it, there are millions of people on the Internet, no you are never the only one! :-)

  12. What in the heck did those primitives in the 1900’s to the 1999 use to chill their Drinks? I make a sealed Peltier effect glass..that uses a USB powered powering the chip imbeeded in the glass bottom to keep it chilled. While surfing the web–an “Anti-Coffee warmer” dongle.

    /or a good boston shaker and several ice cube.

    1. Yyupp. But because it’s a Kickstarter it’s indie and cool and new…but still a way to separate fools from their money.  You can picture this made up problem as a black and white vignette of a guy being grossed out by his watered-down whiskey and smash to the solution: frozen metal pucs!  Nonsense is nonsense, whether it’s As Seen On TV or on Boing Boing.

    1. Or even just put the glass itself in the freezer.  If it’s made of heavy glass, it should stay cold long enough to chill your drink sufficiently.

  13. I can count the number of drinks I actually have at home that benefit from being colder than room temperature is fewer than five and only one does not benefit from actual water (classic gin martini). At bars I may get an old fashioned but whiskey and it’s variants are either fine/dandy room temp or are enhanced by a little water.

    Also this seems like it would fuck up my barware. Vodak and gin are in the freezer, everything else is silly.

  14. Just saying, a 1″ 304 stainless pipe plug will set you back less than $4, but you have to make your own walnut case.

    1. And you don’t think $2.33 apiece is a reasonable markup on a stainless steel pipe plug to make it smooth, rounded, and pretty so it won’t scratch your glassware? Assuming one wants such a thing to begin with, it seems perfectly reasonable.

        1. The Mohs scale value for glass is given from as low as 5.5 to as much as 7. Steel also varies from about 5.5 (knife edge, but of course no one mentions specifically what kind of material the knife is made of) to 7+ for a hardened steel file.

          In other words, it’s not an impossibility. Though I’d be more concerned about bumping the table, jostling the glass, and having the steel disk simply shatter the thing.

  15. The question is why wouldn’t you put something in our tipped glasses that knock out your front teeth? Think of the advantages.

  16. Good arguments against, above. I’ll add that, as someone seriously allergic to nickel, I don’t think I’ll be putting steel things in my drinks any time soon.  Mind you, I mostly drink vodka and I just keep the bottle in the freezer. 

  17. I’m kinda scared of anything that could slide down the side of a glass and crack my teeth. That’s why I stopped drinking Rusty Nails.

    1. That’s why I stopped drinking Rusty Nails.

      That must’ve been rough.  How’d he take the news?

  18. Saw this and immediately thought: Oh, look! Magazines for some steampunk railgun! Neat! And then, after reading the story: Oh, that would be EXTRA neat if the railgun was powered by whiskey! Some sort of primitive fuel cell that only worked with 80+ proof booze! Yay! 

  19. I’ve never understood why anyone chills whisky with anything but what we all CLAIM to use: rocks. Collect ice-cube sized rocks, boil them once, and keep them in the freezer. They’ll last longer than steel, and they’re no-tech. As well as a pun that everyone who sees them gets instantly.

  20. I don’t know if someone already mentioned this, but since there is no phase change involved the pucks would chill the drink but then immediately start to warm up, whereas ice will keep your drink at near freezing until every little bit of ice has melted before your drink starts to get warmer… so it’s a matter of choosing between keeping your drink cold longer or keeping it from getting watered down

  21. Everyone keeps sniffily pointing out that it won’t keep your drink cool for as long as ice, and all you get in return is that it won’t water it down.

    So…what’s the problem? That seems like a fair trade to me. I don’t usually pour a drink and then let it sit 45 minutes, anyway.

      1. Depends on what the drink was. You can always put more whiskey in your whiskey, but if it’s a mixed drink you may not feel like hunting up five different things just to refresh it. I mean, a watered-down drink is hardly the end of the world, but neither is a warm drink, right? As long as we’re obsessing over our beverages, trading watered-down for warm doesn’t seem totally unreasonable.

        I’m interested in these things just ’cause I’m lazy and there’s a lot of food in my freezer already. In a one- or two-person household, a little bag of steel pucks or whiskey stones is less of a pain than trying to find room for a stack of ice cube trays between the ice cream, the hamburger, and the corn.

        1. ..if it’s a mixed drink you may not feel like hunting up five different things just to refresh it.

          Trying to figure out how much Cointreau to add to an already mixed drink could get ugly.

          1. At least one French succession war was fought over that very question.

            (Why succession? Because it turns out the lethal dose for Cointreau is lower than some people thought)

    1. The issue is that the metal pucks won’t cool your drink down nearly as much — anyone suggesting that the problem is just that they won’t keep your drink cool is mistaken.

      The issue is that these can absorb only a fraction of the energy that an ice cube can before they become as warm as the drink, and after that they stop cooling it down. So your drink won’t get anywhere near as cool as with an ice cube, unless you used dozens of these metal pucks at once.

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