Friday, February 24, 2012

Ice, Ice Baby!

All right so here it is my post that will be completely dedicated to ice. That’s right ice, it’s something that gets overlooked by those of us at home but it never gets overlooked at your favorite bar, at least for your sake I hope it doesn’t and if it does you need a new favorite bar. Ice can make or break a drink you’ve ordered, the same drink can go from an instant favorite to a total bust just because of ice. I know there are many skeptics out there but hopefully once you’ve read this post you’ll agree that ice is one of the most important elements of your cocktail.

Lets start with the obvious here, what’s the reason we use ice to begin with? The answer is very simple it’s because it’s cold and not just cold it’s very cold, it’s frozen for crying out loud. And if you’re anything like me, which if you’re reading this you are, you want a cold drink. When I order or make a drink I want it to be cold, it tastes better that way and it’s just far more refreshing that way. I can’t get that ultra cold drink I want unless I have the ice I need to do so. At this point you might be thinking, “Well I have an ice machine and that’s good enough for me”. Ok I understand where you’re coming from but having great ice is so much easier than you might think. Lets start with showing you a few examples of some great ice that’s easy to make at home.

Now that you see what I have here you might be thinking why is this ice so much better than what I’m using already. I’ll tell you why, it’s about mass, and yes sometimes size does matter and this is one of those instances. The ice I have pictured here is large, solid pieces of very hard and very cold ice. It’s nothing like what comes out of the ice machine. The ice out of the machine is small and full of air, all the machine is designed to do is make ice as fast as possible, which it does, and to do so the water it uses is filled with air. The ice I have made very easily has far less air than anything coming from your ice machine. The more air in the ice the faster the ice melts, I’m sure you can all see the science in that. You don’t want ice to melt too fast that dilutes your drink and can completely change the way it tastes. It goes the same way no matter what you’re drinking, you could have a Hendrix Martini or a Gimlet one served straight up one served on the rocks, if bad ice was used you’re getting bad results. Typically a Martini is stirred, bad ice means more dilution while it’s being stirred. A Gimlet is shaken, bad ice in bad drink out, plus even if you strained the Gimlet into fresh ice, which I pray so hard that you did, you’re more than likely using the same bad ice you used to shake it with. I really hope you can see where I’m going with this. We’re about to go through several fun and easy ways to make great ice, it will not only make a better cocktail it will make a better-looking cocktail. You know how much looks mean when it comes to food or drink. If we like the way it looks we’re going to like the way it tastes and it’s so true.

This ice is super easy to make, believe it or not the mold I used is one of those aluminum foil baking tins that you can buy in the grocery store. The ones many people use to make small loafs of bread. This is great for several reasons first you can make as many or as few as you want and all you need is a cheap ice pick and when you’re ready to serve you start chipping away at the block of ice until you get a piece that fits nicely inside your glass, this piece of ice will last for a very long time and because it’s so dense will stay very cold. The second great use for a piece of ice this big is crushed ice, you can get the perfect consistency of crushed ice with this just put the block either in a Lewis bag or if you don’t have one a Ziploc bag and go to work with a muddler. Crush until you’ve reached desired consistency.

Now these pieces of ice are also the one-piece variety, one piece in the glass is all you need, these are more ascetically pleasing pieces of ice. The round mold is super easy. It’s just two pieces of silicone you put together and fill with water. You can get them at for about $11.00. The large square mold you can pick up on The mold is six blocks of the same size the brand is Tovolo. The pieces of ice that look like plugs, and yes that’s what I call them, are just small 5 oz Dixie cups that I use. A little tip here, don’t let these ones freeze all the way through before taking them out of the cup, otherwise they wont come out right.

Finally these small square cubes, these are perfect for mixing, shaking and serving. These are my go to all purpose ice cubes that are so easy to make and they look great. Again these are Tovolo molds that can be picked up at These really are the most important, if you don’t take anything away from this post except one thing I hope it’s this. You, at a minimum, need to be using cubes like these to get your drinks right. Like I said no one wants a warm drink, or a watered down drink, and using these cubes will avoid that all together. Just look at any of the picture on my blog, the ice I use is ice I’ve talked about here, I wouldn’t steer you wrong. A set of two mold trays is $10.50 online and it’s the best money you’ll spend. I hope you’ve learned something and please as always leave your comments and ask all the questions you’d like. Until next time enjoy your drinks responsibly. 

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