The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2011

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Page 56 of 128

BAR TECH Way Cool! I WHATEVER YOUR PLEASURE, THE PROPER ICE WILL KEEP IT CHILL by Blake Donaldson n the old days, the barman would get a 40-pound block of ice. He'd chip away at it, aiming for spheres that would conveniently fi t inside the serving glass. These artisans meant business when it came to their crafty cocktails . . . and the ice used to cool it. Today's mixologists are no less serious. The bars they work in are equipped with ice in a wide array of shapes and sizes, all designed for different pur- poses—after, of course, meeting the basic requirement of keeping the cocktail cold. Here's a rundown (or, perhaps, meltdown) of these shapes and how to apply them in the modern bar world. Crushed ice: This type of ice is used in some classics like the Mint Julep, Mojito and Mai Tai. It will dilute the strongest of cocktails, while keeping them cold with every sip. You could buy an ice crushing machine for your bar, or you can crush your own by placing ice in a clean bag and crushing it with a mallet or a stout muddler. Pillow cubes: This is a very common restaurant-style cube used in almost all standard cocktails and mixed drinks. These will come from the ice machine in your bar. Saddle cubes: A differently shaped common restaurant-style cube that can also be utilized in most mixed drinks. These are a little more unique. 1-inch square cubes: New on the scene, this one-inch shape is good for most mixed drinks. They look very cool in a standard cocktail. 2½-inch square cubes: The hottest new cube—a large square, used for drinks served in a rocks or Old Fashioned glass. When your guest asks for a "scotch on the rocks," this will make it a "scotch on the rock." The idea is that the cube has less surface area and therefore chills your drink, but doesn't dilute it. You can freeze these yourself. Pictured are some ice trays available on the website. Just search "ice trays." 2½-inch rounded spheres: Don't forget this large, faceted cube, used for shaking Martinis and similar cocktails. This shape has no edges to chip off while shaking, thereby preventing dilution of the drink. 4-inch Collins cubes: Long rectangles used in highball glasses for Collins- type cocktails. All of these cubes are available for delivery in most cities by a select few "gourmet" ice purveyors. Here in Los Angeles, I call Neve Luxury Ice at www. Ask for Michel. Tell him The Drink Chef sent ya! 56 / the tasting panel / december 201 1

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