Easy Ice Tips
The difference between a cool cocktail and a watered-down glass of mediocrity is that one thing that’s always in your freezer: ice. Add too much and you can barely taste your whiskey, but find the right balance, and you’ll unlock flavors that can’t be achieved at room temperature. Take a look at the cold hard facts of ice for cocktails and figure out which one is right for your favorite drink.
If there is a little black dress of ice cubes, this is it. Most of us have an ice cube tray somewhere in our house. To make the clearest cubes, use distilled water if you have it. If not, don’t sweat it. Just boil some water and pour it into the tray. Cover the tray with plastic wrap to prevent the freezer taste from penetrating and pop it into the freezer. Cubes are great for drinks you can’t put down, like a Gin & Tonic or fruity cocktails.
Large Format Ice
Whether you prefer spheres or blocks, large format ice is great for drinks like the Old Fashioned or really, anything with whiskey. While large format ice can appear quite stylish, it actually serves a useful purpose. A large, round sphere has less surface area than cubed ice, thus, melting slower, more evenly, and preventing the ice from diluting the base spirit flavor so quickly.
The other end of the spectrum is crushed ice, which has plenty of surface area. While it melts faster, it also cools drinks faster. To crush ice on your own, fill a Lewis bag (a heavy duty canvas bag used for crushing ice), or two clean dish towels with ice and pound with a mallet or muddler. The towels and bag actually absorb some of the water so your drink gets less diluted. Crushed ice works great with drinks like juleps or margaritas.
Keep things cool without any dilution. If you put your cold drink into a room temperature glass, you’ll lose 20-30% of your chill immediately. Pre-chill your glass by resting ice in it while you prepare your cocktail. But don’t use that ice in your actual drink, as some of it will have already melted. Just dump it out and add your cocktail in.
Remember to Have Fun with It
Put a unique twist on your ice by adding in fruit or using coconut water. Whatever you’re drinking, you just need your ice to be four things: cold, hard, clean and dry. So kick back with a drink and start chilling.