You may have patronized a bar that displays a large chunk of ice that the bartenders work off of throughout the evening, sawing off crystal clear spears and cubes that take center stage in varying cocktails and glassware. The bars and restaurants that use said ice understand the difference it makes in both the presentation and quality of the drinks they craft. Most often, the water/ice process and product is outsourced so it’s a pretty special thing when an establishment takes it upon themselves to invest in their own “ice program.”
Lucky for us Phoenicians, we’ve got an expert in our own backyard in Ross Simon, proprietor of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour. Here they’ve taken the ice-making 100% in-house as an important component in creating the perfect cocktail.
In this short step-by-step video, Ross shows us how achieving that gorgeous chunk of ice that makes your drink taste (and look) even better is something we can all do at home on a smaller scale. And it all starts with...you guessed it - water.
This is subjective and there are many myths out there about the type of water you must use, including the standard 'Tap water is the worst, it’s all cloudy and makes your drinks taste terrible.’ Not necessarily true. The only thing cloudy water really does is give you a cloudy ice cube. The biggest affect is the presentation. If you’re a tap water drinker and like it, then by all means proceed. Others may prefer to use their go-to drinking water or spring water, or even distilled.
So if you’re looking to up your ice game, Ross’ advice - it’s ideal to have a separate mini freezer in your place dedicated to these frozen beauties. That way, none of your regular freezer’s residents can add their own unique aromas to the ice - nothing worse than a garlicky ice cube!
Secondly, if you want that cool block of ice for parties or entertaining, use a mini Igloo cooler (the kind you’d use for sandwiches). Fill it up halfway with the water of your choice and freeze for 2 days, but not allowing it to freeze all the way. Take it out to drain periodically, shaving off the excess sharp edges (note: wearing protective gloves & eyewear for this part is highly recommended). Place it back in the freezer until you're ready to play. Take it out and let it the ice sit, or “sweat” for up to 30 minutes until the frost has disappeared and you’re left with that gorgeous shiny block.
Now it’s time to cut! If your ice is 2 - 3” thick, Ross recommends gloves and eye protectors as you don’t want any of those sharp pieces messing up your vision (or your face). You can use a rubber hammer and chisel, or if you don’t have them you can save yourself a trip to the hardware store and simply use a serrated knife and saw carefully to the shape and size you desire!
All that’s left to do is enjoy your icy creations and beautiful cocktails with your favorite people!