Ice is such an important part of a cocktail but is all ice equal? Our Mixologist Alexa has written a great little summary so you can make sure you're enjoying our drinks just right.
MYTH – the more ice you have in your drink, the more weak/ watery it will be.
FACT – the more ice you have in your drink, the colder it is. The colder your drink is, the longer it takes to dilute.
The more ice, the better!
Ice is one of the most important ingredients in cocktails that often gets overlooked at home – but it is universal to almost every drink. As well as chilling your cocktail, it provides essential dilution, but you don’t want too much of that.
As a bartender, I have become known for proclaiming “NO FLOATING ICE” at my colleagues making drinks – it’s such a bug bear of mine. Often, you’ll find as a bartender that people ask for “less ice” in their drink – true, sometimes people just don’t like their drinks too cold and it’s your job to create a drink that your guests will enjoy - but often this comes from a misconception that more ice means a drink that’s not as strong (or has less volume), and that’s not the case. A basic principle of thermodynamics, the more ice means the colder your drink is, the more time it takes to dilute… therefore, it stays stronger (and tastier) for longer. The more ice, the better!
When making drinks at home, the same principle applies. Obviously, we don’t have access to the same high-quality ice machines that we do in bars and restaurants, but it’s just as easy to create a bar quality drink at home, especially if you’re using pre-batched drinks created by bartenders for you… you just have to worry about the ice.
Ice trays are great – cheap, easy and last for ages. I always have a few in the freezer at home so I can use as much as I would behind the bar to create drinks at home, so that would be my starting point. If you want to up your drinks game though, it’s possible to create larger blocks and clear ice at home.
Larger blocks take more time to melt (because they have a smaller ratio of surface area to volume) and are the best for cocktails like old fashioned’s and margaritas (any cocktail that you’d typically drink ‘on the rocks’). You can buy large cube or sphere ice molds for super cheap, or use a cling film lined small tupperware filled with water.
Clear ice (like you’d see in your drink at high end cocktail bars) essentially just means there is no impurities or air trapped in the ice cube, which again means it takes longer to melt (a colder, less diluted drink!). It is possible to create clear ice at home, just a little more time consuming, but totally worth it if it works (clear ice is just produced by directional freezing, there’s loads of videos on youtube on how to do this). Clear ice also just looks better – and though this side of it is just aesthetic, a drink that looks better, will often taste better.
So, ice is integral to making a good drink at home – the top things to remember would be:
1. Always use lots of ice (fill the glass to the brim, the bigger the cubes the better…)
2. If you’re shaking or stirring a cocktail, use fresh ice to serve the drink.
3. And did we mention-ALWAYS USE LOTS OF ICE.
And enjoy perfectly cold, perfectly diluted, delicious tipples from the comfort of your own home.