Cool ice cubes to keep on hand
By Jacey Gibb, Distribution Manager
Hot take: Ice is the secret MVP to any cocktail. Whether you’re slipping some cubes into a shaker while mixing, smashing some up to make refreshing ice shards, or simply pouring booze atop a single, giant cube, ice can make or break a cocktail.
If you’re hosting, then the ice situation is easier to control. I’ve been mocked enough times to know this sounds excessive, but I always have three ice cube trays in my freezer, ready to go. Most occasions rarely call for that much ice; however, we’ve dipped into that third tray more often than you’d think, and it’s helped us avoid having to make lukewarm cocktails. (You can also use the ice for non-alcoholic purposes too, I suppose.)
In terms of trays, stick with the traditional rectangular ones most apartment freezers seemingly come stocked with rather than novelty trays, i.e. the ones you impulsively bought at IKEA. The novelty shape is funny for about 1.5 seconds until it melts and becomes an unrecognizable shape rapidly diluting your drink. These trays are also a pain to stack in the freezer and usually end up spilling, meaning you’ll have fewer ice cubes to work with. Traditional ice cube trays are stackable, made out of more solid material, and deliver nice big blocks for your drink.
You should also invest in a tray of larger ice cubes. These moulds are usually made of silicone and create ice cubes around the two-inch mark. Larger ice cubes melt more slowly than several smaller cubes, so these are ideal for when you want to chill a drink but avoid diluting it too much (think Old Fashioneds or Negronis). Having one of these trays on hand is useful, though keep in mind that, depending on your freezer, they take a day or two to completely freeze—so avoid filling them up the night before a party, or you’ll have a tray of half-water-half-ice cubes.
The final type of ice you’ll encounter on your cocktail venturing is the crushed variety. People will argue about the seeming excessiveness of having an ice bag and crusher, but it’s a simple purchase and it goes a long way. I even included it in my home bar essentials list in a previous “Pour Boy.” Unfortunately, crushing ice ahead of time doesn’t really work since the shards will refreeze together, so you’ll have to crush as you go.
All of this is helpful advice for when you’re hosting—so what about when you’re making cocktails somewhere else? Most people generally have a tray or two in their freezer, but always err on the side of caution. It’s also easy to shoot the host a quick message to see what their ice situation is like beforehand so you can potentially pick some up on the way.
You never realize how crucial ice is for cocktails until you find yourself in a situation without any. Be the host you wish to see in the world, and keep your freezer stocked with all the ice cube essentials.