Thursday, August 5, 2010

ICE for Cocktails & Martinis

Let´s explain this the easy way, there are four main diferent types of ice used when mixing drinks and these are the general guidelines on how to use them appropriately:

Ice Cubes
  • Are generally use to shake all kind of drinks, so don´t get too stressed if you use it for all your libations.
  • Professional Mixologist would usually prefer cracked ice to stir drinks, crushed ice for summer type of libations and ice rocks or blocks for drinks that are of course,"on the rocks".
  • Ice cubes melt at a lower rate, therefore they are great for cocktails.
  • Martinis are usually shaken using ice cubes, but ice is never served (seems silly to explain this, but you never know who ignores this basic tip, and yes, Erika, I wrote because of you...)
  • Preferably use ice cubes when mixing juices, dairy, creams, or eggs.
  • Used a strainer or a mixer´s lid to keep from serving the ice used for shaking.
  • the general rule of thumb is if you poor a cocktail, poor the ice, if your poor martini, then don´t
Crushed Ice
  • Great for those summer drinks that might need a little extra froth.
  • Crushed ice lowers the temperature faster but dissolves into water equally fast.
  • Mint Juleps, daiquiris and frozen margaritas are great candidates for this kind of ice.
Cracked Ice
  • Cracked Ice is used preferably for martinis that require stirring.
  • It chills more rapidly, therefore adding some extra water to the stirring process.
  • You should only stir drinks that contain only spirits.
  • Small ice blocks or ice rocks are used lately for neat drinks "on the rocks"
  • They can be shaped as ice disks, solid ice balls, or ice cilynders
  • You can make an ice ball out of an small ice block with your everyday kitchen-bar utensils, for a demonstration check out Jim Rondall´s video here
  • My own personal solution is to use 6 oz plastic cups to make solid ice cubes,  release it from the mold and put into a rock glass with a little splash of water, place the rock glass in your freezer and wait until the ice cubes solidifies to the glass, then you can pour your bourbon or your scotch onto the rock glasses to enjoy a chilled neat drink.

Mixed Spirits for begginners

Mixing cocktails is fairly simple, doing it well, requires patience, dedication, passion, and precision. Great Mixologist are like cheffs, but instead of cooking we are mixing drinks. In order to make excellent drinks, we need to learn the basic drinks and build up from there.