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Importance of Ice

Ian Shapiro


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What is the most overlooked ingredient necessary in almost all cocktails today? Ice.
When planning a party, ice is usually the last thing on your list to get, but without it, drinks just aren’t the same. There are a few varieties of ice out there, for different drinks and methods of making.  So make no mistake, ice is important in the creation of fantastic cocktails or even simple spirit and mix drinks.
If your only thought towards ice is, “but it will dilute my drink and make it watery” We at are going to dispel that myth, and here’s why.
As we teach in every cocktail masterclass, the more ice you have in your glass, the less it will melt. Ice keeps ice cold. Cooling the liquid down quicker, so the ice remains as ice for the whole time you’re drinking your cocktail. So when you’re handed a tall Collins glass full of ice, don't think. “I’m losing out because there’s less space in the glass for the ice cubes in drinksdrink”, or “they’re cutting back on the alcohol in my cocktail”... relax, and know that the bartender that served you, knows what they were doing.
If you’re going to have ice, have as much as the glass can hold, or do without. 2 or 3 cubes pitifully floating at the top of your drink will be gone in minutes, and that will make your drink watery.
If you want to go further, than this there are different varieties of ice, but the first to consider is the creation of ice.  Like many other items, ice will absorb odors in the freezer, so ice that spent too much time too close to the catch of the day may give a cocktail an unpleasant fishy tinge. This is not pleasant, so make sure it’s either far away in your freezer, sealed from being contaminated, or buy it from a shop
Different kinds of ice.


Cubed v Crushed
Modern ice machines have been mostly built for speed of production, so hollow domes, or slivers of ice are created rather than cubes. Cubes of lump ice are much better for making cocktails over, or even having a single spirit with. The bigger the ice cube, the longer it will last and so not dilute the drink as quickly.
An alternative is cracked or crushed ice, and this is used for the all time favourite mojito and other such drinks. Fantastic for refreshing cocktails to keep them ice cold throughout. As there is more surface area touching the liquid with Crushed ice, will ensure that every milliliter of your drink is chilled.  This does however take space out the glass for a long drink (as seen in the Mojito, where the liquid is really only 50ml Rum, 25ml lime juice, a touch of gomme syrup, and only about 25ml of soda water. Yet this fills a tall Collins glass.
Crushed ice is also to be used in blenders as the blades can cut through the crushed ice better than cubed and will allow your blades to last a lot longer (making many more strawberry daiquiris than if you use cubed)
So next time your out, or having people round. Have a think about ice, and stock up. It is very important. But if you’re not having cocktails, stick your beers in a bucket of ice.  For some reason it always tastes better

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