Why Ice & Where does it come from?
This is a Clinebell machine. It re enacts how a lake freezes water, but in this case from the bottom up. An air pump circulates the basin filled with water allowing the impurities to rise to the top and escape. The pure water molecules, which freeze before the impure molecules, have a chance to freeze clear. This is the basic “science” behind these clear blocks.
“Block ice in house is like baking your own bread or roasting your own coffee beans.” – Eric Alperin
We think ice is “cool” because it’s all about durability!
“Ice is the bartender’s flame.” –Eric Alperin
It is what bartenders use to “cook” our cocktails, so why not use the best quality and most durable ice you can get your hands on.
A FEW HINTS FOR THE YOUNG MIXER:
•Ice is nearly always an absolute essential for any Cocktail.
•Never use the same ice twice.
•Remember that the ingredients mix better in a shaker that is rather larger than it is necessary to contain them.
•Shake the shaker as hard as you can: don’t just rock it: you are trying to wake it up, not send it to sleep!
•If possible, ice your glasses before using them.
•Drink your cocktail as soon as possible. Harry Craddock* was once asked what was the best way to drink a Cocktail; “Quickly,” replied that great man, “while it’s laughing at you!”
From page 9 of the 1999 reprint of “The Savoy Cocktail Book” by Harry Craddock, 1930
Some of the styles of ice we use:
Crushed Ice: A style of ice that is similar to the shape and size of a pebble and is often used in juleps, cobblers, and fixes. Crushed ice is beneficial to achieving lower temperatures and optimal water content in the aforementioned cocktails, as the rate of cooling is primarily governed by the quantity and average radius of the ice particles.
Shaking ice: A style of ice that is also produced through the same labor-intensive process as “rock” ice utilizing various instruments expressly wielded for such a purpose. As its name would imply, shaking ice is intended for use in cocktails that are shaken, and served “up” and also those that are shaken, and served “down”. The dimensions of a piece of shaking ice are approximately two inches on each facet. Shaking ice is an essential element in the preparation and service of a cold, balanced, and lively cocktail with no more than 30% overall water content.
Cracked ice: Also referred to as “stirring ice” these miscellaneous shards of ice are in no way indistinguishable in shape, however they maintain a consistent overall appearance and function as the byproduct of the cumulative production of “rock” and shaking ice (see below). Cracked/stirring ice is integral to the achievement of optimal temperature and water content in the preparation of any and all stirred cocktails as well as in the making of any variety of Smash or Caipirinha-style cocktails.
Collins “spear”: A style of ice that is designed to satisfy the dimensions of approximately one and a half inches in width and five and a half inches in length. This ice is specifically designed to accommodate cocktails being served in a Collins (or highball) glass. The Collins spear ensures that a cocktail will stay colder for a longer period of time and retain an optimal rate of water content and not over dilute because the spear has less surface area then a handful of cubes in the glass.
“Rock” ice: A style of ice that is produced via the careful dissection of large blocks of slow-frozen water that is devoid of oxygen bubbles or striations and free of trace minerals or other visible pollutants, thus lending it a “crystal-clear” aspect. As these pieces of ice are hand-cut, their approximate dimensions are between 2 1/4” and 2 1/2” on each facet. Like snowflakes, “rock” ice is not individually identical in shape, however they are uniform in service. “Rock” ice is specifically designed to accommodate cocktails being served in a Whiskey or a double rocks/double Old Fashioned glass. In accordance with the theory behind the Collins spear, the use of “rock” ice ensures that a cocktail will stay colder for a longer period of time and retain an optimal rate of water content (in comparison with more traditional methods of ice service), as the surface area of the “rock” is relative to the size of the glass and the liquid volume of the cocktail.
These forms of ice are achieved with various tools and cutting methods.
Come down to The Varnish and join us for an ice cold cocktail soon.
Eric Alperin, The Varnish
**The information & research contained herein was shared between Dutch Kills/Hundred Weight Ice New York City & Penny Pound Ice Los Angeles.