'ice' on Serious Eats
Ever pour yourself a nice, frosty glass of iced coffee only to discover it tastes a little...off? It might not be you, and it might not be the coffee—it might, in fact, be the ice itself.
If you spend time at fancy cocktail bars, it's quite possible that you've heard a few things about ice that that aren't quite true when you put them to the scientific test. Today, we're debunking those myths and clearing up a little of the science behind the chilly stuff.
The cocktail boom of recent years has us all reexamining ice, abandoning those cloudy crescents from the fridge for chunks that look like the Hope diamond and drive up the price of your drink accordingly. But have you ever wondered how ice ended up in your drink in the first place?
Jean-Georges Vongerichten's restaurants have long been culinary destinations in New York. But they weren't necessarily the spots that came to mind when seeking out a killer cocktail—until now. West Village restaurant Perry Street's extensive new bar menu reflects a new focus on seasonal cocktails. The menu has increased from seven to fifteen different offerings, and reflect a new creative approach—in addition to working with seasonal ingredients, look for twists on classics and a brand new ice program.
The easiest way to crack ice might be to wrap it in a tea towel or napkin, or pile it into a plastic bag, and slam it to shards with a mallet or rolling pin, while pretending it's a former flame or your landlord. But if you just want to crack three or four cubes to stir a martini over, or you're looking to impress a date or guest with your flashy technique, try this nifty method for cracking it in your hands with a bar spoon.
Ice plays a crucial role in cocktail making. Not only does it chill a drink, but it also releases water into the cocktail, binding the ingredients, smoothing out the flavor, and taking the edge off the base spirit. Home bartenders have a bit of an advantage over many professionals: freezer ice.
Pitcher drinks have a lot of appeal during the warmer months, but many recipes suffer from an excess of ingredients, or grow watery and insipid quickly. In today's Washington Post, Jason Wilson touches on a couple of points that can ensure pitcher-drink success. For example, the smaller the ice pieces, the more rapidly they'll dilute the drink generally speaking. Some dilution is desired, of course, but it's a fine line between "just right" and "too much."