With Ice, Size Matters
on 23/04/11 at 10:51 amBooze News
Trying to up your cocktail game? If you’re no longer looking for a new rhum Agricole or some artisanal bitters to set your shelves apart, maybe it’s time to turn an eye to your freezer. The difference between a good drink and a great drink isn’t just about the booze—it’s about the ice.
The recent resurgence of classic cocktails has spawned a concurrent trend of ice appreciation. High-end cocktail bars are shaking, stirring and serving their $18 drinks with dense, extra-large cubes, hand-cut shards and spheres. And there’s no reason your at-home ice should lag behind.
“Quality ice has become standard equipment for any respectable cocktail bar,” said Charles Joly, head bartender at the Drawing Room in Chicago. “Ice and what it produces in a cocktail—temperature and dilution—are really important factors that are never listed in a recipe.”
When it comes to ice, size does matter, not to mention shape, density and clarity. If you prefer your Scotch on the rocks, beware: Small, brittle ice will quickly dilute years of cask aging. No one wants a Bruichladdich slushie.
But large cubes or spheres of ice will melt more slowly, bringing your drink closer to the temperature of the ice without over-diluting it. Larger pieces, such as spears the length of a glass, are ideal for keeping tall, carbonated beverages chilled. And there’s a place for pebbled and crushed ice, too: mint juleps, swizzles and many tiki drinks wouldn’t be possible without them.