The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2017

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104  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2017 COCKTAIL ESSENTIALS I n Arizona, a well-iced cocktail falls somewhere between central air conditioning and covered parking on summertime survival lists. It should come as no surprise, then, that there's a new craft ice company in town helping bartenders across Arizona elevate their craft cocktails to a whole new level. Founded last year by longtime barman Brian Goodwin, Artisan Ice was truly born out of necessity. For years, he'd worked for Kindred Spirits, a Scottsdale-based restaurant group known for its longstanding ice program. "We were buying large blocks and carving them down with a chainsaw, and even though a chainsaw is not very surgical, people loved it," he says with a laugh. When friend and fellow bartender Jason Asher asked Goodwin to cut some specialty ice for his new tiki bar, Goodwin decided to take things a step further. "I took it upon myself to dig a little deeper, and we bought a Clinebell ice machine that makes two 300-pound blocks at a time. And all of a sudden, my whole career as a Beverage Director turned into me making ice all of the time," he says. "Coming from the bartending side, we really understand what it is like for a busy bartender." With that knowledge, Artisan Ice provides its accounts with customer service catered to a bartender's needs. "We were getting calls for ice at 7 p.m. on a Friday. We set it up like a linen service, where we make sure our accounts always have 200 on hand at any moment; they never have to call to order, and can change their quantity at any time. We make it easy for the bartender," he explains with a knowing laugh, likely recalling his own days behind the stick after running out of a key ingredient during a busy shift. But Artisan Ice is about more than just thoughtful service for its accounts; it's also churning out a thoughtful product that's custom-made to suit a specific cocktail's need. "We cut to the glass and we cut to the cocktail," says Goodwin. "If someone is using a special glass that is too small for the two-by- two cube, we'll resize it; if someone needs 7 oz. of liquid in their Collins glass, we can resize to be perfect for that specific cocktail." Goodwin may make it sound like it's easy to work this ice magic, but he assures us it's no simple feat. "We've done frozen flowers in ice, slices of fruit, things that will give the ice cube dimension. It's all very challenging stuff," he continues. "Everything wants to float!" While things can get complicated, Goodwin assures that the challenges are worth it. "The need is out there. People ask for and expect large-format ice and expect a certain quality they'll see in the glass throughout the dura- tion of that cocktail or whiskey," he says. "And if somebody is going to go through all the effort to open a restau- rant, hire great bartenders, and create a craft spirit and cocktail program, why would they drop the ball at the very last minute with the ice?" ARTISAN ICE ELEVATES COCKTAILS IN ARIZONA Ice in the Desert Brian Goodwin brings the coolest ice in Arizona. by Rachel Burkons / photos by Chanelle Sinclair

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