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What you need to know about ice with cocktails

By LLM Reporters on 18th December 2019

If this is the time of the year that your sociable side makes most of its appearances, then you will probably enjoy a tipple or two as well, and there are plenty of drinks and cocktails that go with the festive season for you to enjoy.

But one aspect of these diverse drinks that is often overlooked, is rather important to the whole thing, and that’s the ice inside it. In order to get the most out of your cocktails, it’s key to understand a thing or two about ice. As trivial as it sounds – after all, ice is just there to chill your drink isn’t it? – it can actually get quite complex. You may not be aware that you should use different types of ice for different drinks or better-quality water, or even that the size should be considered. If this has never crossed your mind, then don’t fear because we’re going to give you the low-down on selecting the perfect ice for the perfect drink this festive party season.

In the modern cocktail, ice is arguably the most important ingredient

Don’t use tap water for the ice in your cocktails

We all know that the most basic way to make ice is to fill an ice tray with water from the tap and then pop it in the freezer until it freezes before using however many cubes you desire for your particular drink. A simple and effective ice-making process, however, tap water can taint the flavour of your drink once the ice melts, so why go to all that effort of blending a beautiful cocktail only to ruin it in this way?

If you really want to elevate your ice game, you need to think about the water that’s being used to create that ice. You might not be aware of it, but tap water always has a certain flavour, and if you are aware, you’ll notice it especially when you travel to a different part of the country.

To fix this issue and if you’re feeling really extravagant you could make your ice out of mineral water and, if you’re hosting a cocktail party, this will definitely give you brownie points with your guests. You could also use a water filter to purify your tap water before you freeze it – this will go some way towards transforming your tap water but can only go so far when it comes to correcting the potential flavour taint. Finally, you could buy ice that is made with high-quality water, ensuring that you avoid any tainting, which is absolutely crucial with something like a chocolate cocktail. It also gives you options when it comes to the size and shape of the cubes you use.

Size matters

Believe it or not, the size and shape of the ice cubes that you use in your cocktails makes a difference. For a classic cocktail such as a mint julep and for pretty much all tiki drinks, crushed ice is by far the best choice. This is because you get a little dilution of the syrup bases used in these drinks, as well as keeping them beautifully cool and refreshing.

The type and quality of your ice can make a big difference in how your cocktail tastes

When it comes to those drinks that are built around a high-quality spirit, such as a Manhattan, or indeed just straight whisky or vodka on the rocks, you’ll want to use big ice cubes, and the general rule is, the bigger the better. Something like a Super Cube, which is made by The Ice Co., would be ideal because the ice melts more slowly when in the form of a large block meaning that it won’t dilute the flavour of the drink.

For most other cocktails, a classic-sized ice cube will serve you very well since it offers something between crushed ice and the large cubes.

So, this Christmas and New Year, be sure to take full advantage of the festivities and enjoy all of those delicious cocktails before Dry January and all those New Year’s resolutions kick in. Now that you’re an ice connoisseur there’s no excuse not to host the party of the year and whip up some delightful cocktails for you and your guests.