Ice Ice Baby: how to choose the right type of ice for your drinks
World Best Bar
Jun 28, 2021
10 January 2019
The difference between a perfectly balanced Mojito or Manhattan and a flavorless, watered-down drink goes right down to your choice of ice cubes.
Whether it’s a standard cube, a large-sized version, or crushed ice, each form has its own specific characteristics. Choosing the right kind of ice isn’t as easy as it seems!
The foundation to a refreshing drink, trusty ice cubes are the most commonly used type of ice in homemade cocktails. There is, however, one major downside to the cube: it melts quickly when too small, resulting in limited cooling power and watery drinks… In an “on the rocks” cocktail, it is therefore best to use extra-large ice cubes (around 5 cm per side), to provide a longer-lasting chill with minimum dilution. (Cubes are not the right choice, however, for shaken cocktails such as the Gin Fizz, which require emulsion for all their flavors to unfold.)
Don’t forget the rule of thumb for filling up a shaker: two-thirds ice per one-third liquid. In following this technique, your cocktail will chill quickly without the risk of your ice cubes melting. After about 15 seconds, the temperature inside the shaker drops down to -7 °C.
Crushed ice melts quicker than ice cubes, blending harmoniously with your chilled and slushy cocktails. The Zombie is a famous example of a crushed ice spectacular, as is the Mojito. Even without a blender, crushed ice can be made by wrapping ice cubes in a kitchen cloth and using a hammer or rolling pin to break up the cubes.
All the chill without the ice
For a more cultivated alternative, whiskey stones allow you to chill your drink without affecting its taste, in addition to adding to its visual appeal. If you don’t have any on hand, simply chill some grapes in the freezer for a few hours and use these instead of ice cubes.