marshalledgar
4 years ago1,000+ Views

Ice and Cocktails - What's the Big Deal?

I decided that Elizabeth Gunnison Dunn and I are BFFs. And it's not just because she doesn't hyphenate her name either. Let me explain.
In the posting of the Best Man cocktail card, which you can see here, I discovered that old fashioneds and the like are best served with hand carved ice, which then led me to Dunn's article in Esquire where she asks, "Is there anything more ludicrous than hand-carved cocktail ice?" At the time of her writing, which was in 2013, New York cocktails were ringing in at $18. Thank God I live in LA, they're only $15 and it's pushing 2016!

Dunn's article points out the big deal: dilution!

Just how quickly do you want your ice to melt? And in case you never thought about it, if you're two fingers deep into your Old Pulteney (at $2,200 a bottle), you don't want watered down luxury. On the other hand, if you're in the thick of a spicy mojito, where ingredients are muttled, then the success of your cocktail hinges on the breakdown of clink-style ice cubes. Did that put things into perspective for you?

Ice Class 101

Ice is pretty important, as if you couldn't tell. Winner of the James Beard Award for Best Bar Program, Jim Meehan explains the following:
• Big cubes for shaking and stirring: 1-1/4 x 1-1/4-inch blocks made by a Kold-Draft ice machine.
• Blocks to be broken down into smaller pieces: up to 300-lb slabs, harvested from a Clinebell machine. Cutting ice is an art.
• Large cubes to serve in drinks, mostly those prepared in old-fashioned glasses. Made from molds or cut or chipped from larger blocks.
• Rods to serve in drinks, mostly those prepared in Collins glasses. Made from molds or cut or chipped from larger blocks.
• Spheres to serve in high-end spirits or fancy cocktails, usually in old-fashioned glasses. Made from molds or carved or picked from large cubes.
• Pebbles to serve in cobblers and swizzles. Made by a Scotsman ice machine.
• Crushed to serve in juleps. Pounded with a wooden hammer in Lewis ice bags.
Looks like I missed this book when putting my MUST-HAVE cocktail book collection because this one looks great! Even though, @rodiziketan isn't too much into cocktail books, this one comes from a guy who won an award in mixology. hahaha Don't be shy, click here to see the list of books that you need for your bar cart.
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