As things heat up in the restaurant kitchens, we hope the same thing goes for the British weather! If our Threshers instincts are anything to go by, we thought it only fitting to share the essential facts behind your cocktail essential in the summer heat. So let’s get back to basics and talk about the importance of ice.
In the modern cocktail, ice is arguably the most essential ingredient. That may seem like an odd statement, but there are just a rare few mixed drinks that don’t require ice in one form or another.
- Let’s Keep It Clean
Let’s start by talking about the purity level of your ice. Sound pedantic? Not really…The clearer the ice, the better it is. Cloudy ice forms because of impurities in the water and because oxygen bubbles get trapped. Why should you care? Because it ultimately affects the quality of your drink. Oxygen in your ice will make it melt quicker, and impurities can impart flavor into your drink. And remember, fresh ice cubes will preserve your drinks for longer without ruining them. Keep your ice in the freezer before using if possible.
- Match your ice with your drink.
A great summer cocktail needs three things: fresh ingredients, quality liquor, and to be as bracingly cold as possible the entire time it takes to drink it.Try to use the right ice for the right drink. Ice spears are good for long drinks, a nice big cube of ice works well with an Old Fashioned, and crushed ice is a must for cobblers.
The Trick to Making Nearly 100% Clear Ice at Home
- Get a hard-sided, insulated cooler (the bigger, better, but it’ll need to fit in your freezer).
- Open or remove the lid.
- Fill it with water about 3/4 full. Any fuller, and you risk swelling the cooler. Distilled water will give you slightly more clear ice, but any clean water should work.
- Put it in the freezer, leaving the lid off.
- Check it after 12–14 hours. If you’ve timed it right, you can get the ice out just before the cloud of bubbles starts forming at the bottom. If you leave it too long, you can just scrape the cloudy part off.
- Remove the cooler, and let it sit long enough that the ice melts a little, about 5 to 30 minutes. Then flip it over and let the ice slide out.
- Put the ice on a baking sheet, and either use an ice pick to break it apart or tap it lightly with a meat cleaver (clean of course) into cubes.
Feeling a little fancy? Here’s a breakdown of when to use which type of ice where:
When to use big cubes:
When to use crushed ice:
For everything else: