The purpose of ice is to cool your drink, keep it cold and look good doing it. Unlike some Europeans who prefer warm beverages, we Americans believe our drinks should be cold, not our soup. Foodies may disagree but seriously, “Foodie?” Just kidding, us drinkers have our “tipplers,” “imbibers” and “alchies” but ice quality is one of the areas that we slur an impassioned “hellz yeah!” in solidarity with our more foppish brethren.
Before we go on to how you can make The Best Fucking Ice Ever in your own home, you probably want to know MORE INTERESTING SHIT ABOUT ICE, right?
Ice Cold Reads
I’m a very busy man1 and I could write 2000 words on ice2 if I wanted to but guess what? It’s been done before by better. So there, smarty. If you’re really nerdy into this stuff, read, Instapaper or [preferred bookmarking service] the following:
The folks at Cooking Issues use science skillz to measure the effects of ice in cocktails. In The Science of Shaking they explain how and why ice cools drinks. In short, as the ice melts slightly it absorbs the heat contained in the ingredients, cooling the drink to below 0° Celsius.
In their second experiment they examined the differences between Kold Draft ice and Shitty ice (their words) and duration of shake and how they affect temperature, alcohol by volume (ABV) and dilution. In short, does ice matter? No BUT use a good amount, stay away from small or crushed ice and give it a good hard shake for about 10-20 seconds.
Andrew Bohrer, bar manager at Seattle’s Mistral Kitchen, celebrates Chainsaw Thursday. Every week they take a chainsaw, a food-safe band saw and an “iPod full of Steely Dan” to 300 lbs of deoxygenated, purified ice. True story.
“The Violet Hour—a neo-speakeasy with an unmarked, scarcely noticeable door in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood—offers eight kinds of ice, depending on which cocktail you request. A Mai Tai calls for crushed ice, for example, whereas a Scotch on the rocks demands larger, slower-melting ice. Some might consider an “ice program” an affectation, like a “pillow concierge” at a hotel.”
-Wayne Curtis of Atlantic - Cold Fusion
On the next American Drink: Ice
“In olden times, ice trays were made in American factories out of metal.”
”[…]a decent cocktail is like a great lover. It should start great and finish strong (not me.)”
“After trying everything from double boiling filtered water to freezing water in layers, I’ve found that—Sweet Jesus! I just want a drink already!”