Spirit Guide: The Most Under Appreciated Cocktail Ingredient w/ Seven Grand San Diego’s Own Brett Winfield

November 7th, 2012 — 5:39pm

Ice: The Most Under Appreciated Cocktail Ingredient

When we look at cocktail recipes these days there are generally a list of ingredients, instructions on their preparation, proper glassware, and garnishment choices.  However, in the vast majority of these recipes the proper ice to use is usually left out.  Every cocktail you drink is made with or served on ice so the use of quality ice is of the utmost importance and yet it is generally overlooked.  Ice provides two main functions in the preparation of a proper cocktail, Chilling and Dilution.  No one likes a warm cocktail, unless it’s a Hot Toddy, Sling or Irish coffee of course, so chilling the cocktail is an essential part of concocting a quality beverage.  Dilution, or the addition of water though melting ice, helps provide balance and continuity to the cocktail.  Just as master distillers add water to their spirits to bring them down to drinking strength and marry the flavors, bar tenders add water through melting ice to achieve the same goals.  Proper ice should be in large solid pieces kept at or below freezing.  These large cold pieces of ice melt slower and chill cocktails faster, which enables the bar tender to manipulate all aspects of the drinks anatomy and serve you a cocktail at its very finest.


Brett Winfield
Lead Bartender – Seven Grand Whiskey Bar – San Diego
Spirit Guide – Seven Grand Whiskey Society – San Diego