Fancy Ice

It's Chilling
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Bartenders who take their position very seriously understand the full impact of ice on a cocktail. The person on the receiving end doesn’t want his/her pricey Caipirinha tainted by bad ice. And before you start to say, “Ice is ice,” let us interrupt to say, “It most certainly is not.”

You have your hunks, your rods, your globes, pebbles, cubes and sand, and for cocktails it really all should be without cloud and absolutely not smell like anything you’ve had in your freezer in the last six months. We might be more snobbish about our ice than we are about our vodka flavors, but if you think we have a corner on the arched eyebrow market pertaining to ice, read Elizabeth Gunnison Dunn’s piece, which totally validates what we’re saying, at http://www.esquire.com/food-drink/drinks/a14766/ice-in-cocktails-070512/. She explains, “What you’re looking for is size, clarity, and how it’s cut. So it’s very similar to diamonds.” Informative and somewhat scientific, and we’re grateful.

HuffPo takes a look at all things ridiculously trending, including the word “nom,” which we admit to using more than we should; eating charcoal (we’re tackling that separately for reasons that will become apparent to you); kids cooking reality shows; and, yes, fancy ice, to which HuffPo huffs, “Cocktail culture is haughty enough on its own. We admit we love a big, round ice cube every once in a while, but when bars start charging extra for perfectly clear ice cubes, we lose any and all respect for said establishments. See ya at the dive bar, friends.” Gotta Lol at that one. Read all about it at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/30/food-trends-2014_n_6391902.html

One last look at fancy ice because the expert is the bastion of all things esoteric: NPR. The piece was written in 2014 and can be accessed at http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/10/21/357624984/can-hand-cut-artisanal-ice-make-your-cocktail-that-much-better, along with a story about superstores making us all eat too much.

Here’s what NPR says about artisanal ice, and we are fascinated: It is a “a combination of aesthetics and practicality.” Ice we make at home is cloudy because of the minerals in the water and the bubbles as the water issues forth from the tap. There are companies around the country that provide this super ice to restaurants and caterers. And we’re told, “Artisanal ice is pretty, but the real selling point is that the super-sized cubes melt more slowly, which gives you more time to enjoy the flavors in your fancy drink… The problem with lots of small ice cubes is that in 10 to 15 minutes, your drink tastes like watered-down booze — it doesn’t taste how it’s supposed to taste anymore.”

To which we respond, “Exactly!” To which NPR comes back, “This flaw in regular ice is apparently not lost upon a growing number of drinkers who’ve experienced artisanal ice.”

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