The Importance of Ice – Part 3
By Jim Meehan, mixologist, James Beard award winner
Most of us lack the time, space and resources that the countries top cocktail bars and ice studios have allocated for ice, but fret not: you can make nearly perfect ice at home. Online stores and shops dedicated to cocktails, such as Cocktail Kingdom, sell molds for cubes, spears and spheres, along with tappers, mallets, ice bags and picks to prepare pro-quality ice for drinks in your home.
The technique is somewhat simple: cool warm filtered water (which has less gas and particular matter trapped in it than cold water from the tap) and add it to an insulated cooler. Place the cooler in your freezer and pull it out just before it freezes all the way: the top layer will contain impurities, which would be trapped if you froze it solid, and lead to cloudy ice.
After you’ve allowed the block to temper, extract the block and break it down by scoring it along a line you’d like your cubes sized with a knife (preferably a sturdy soba or chef’s knife), followed by tapping it with a multi pronged ice pick and a rubber mallet. If this seems excessive, you can forgo perfectly clear ice for blocks by using custom molds: set your freezer to a higher setting, as the longer it takes to freeze the water, the more gas and impurities will be displaced.
Seemingly fussy to some, think of the time and care that goes into mixing a perfectly balanced cocktail or distilling a world-class spirit: why would you compromise its integrity when it comes to presentation? While thin-rimmed crystal tumblers and large clear cubes are associated with whisky more than any other spirit, white spirits such as Casa Dragones Blanco Tequila benefit greatly from clear ice, as the bright liquid disappears; allowing you to focus on it’s heady taste and aromatics.