Ice, Ice, Baby!

Baby, is it cold outside where you are?  It has been a little chilly in Texas this week, and as we look at the weather map, that is true about much of the country.  In fact, ice is even in the forecast for the Dallas/Fort Worth area tomorrow.  In honor of the cold weather, we are going to talk with you about ice.

You might think, “Ice?  What is there to talk to about with ice?”  Well, my friends, in the world of beverages, believe it or not, ice is a HOT trend.  We shared some information with you about ice back in August when we commemorated the eclipse.  This week we will look at ice and how it can change the taste and the look of your beverage.

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It’s got the look.  One reason that ice has become a hot trend in the cocktail world is that the size and shape of your ice portrays a certain image or attitude for a cocktail. It is an easy way to garnish your beverage and instantly amp up the appeal.

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Gin with sphere ice

Using a sphere of ice is a big trend in many restaurants and upscale bars. We showed you in August how you can join in on this trend by  purchasing some less expensive sphere molds, such as the Neptune Ice Ball tray  or going high-end and purchasing one from Sharper Image or Williams Sonoma!

Another trend is to use large cubes. We have a mold that is similar to the one that you can purchase at Target.  We’ve also seen similar molds at World Market and Home Goods.

The large cubes not only give your drink a clean and sophisticated look, they also have a practical purpose.  By containing less surface area, the larger cubes melt much more slowly. Thus keeping your drink cool without watering down the taste. The larger cubes are typically used with classic cocktails like a boulevardier or if you want to drink a spirit neet.  No one likes the taste of a watered down cocktail, right?

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Boulevardier with 2 inch cube ice

 

Crushed ice is great for beverages that you want to keep really cold.  Rhonda is a sucker for Sonic drinks, and all of the credit definitely goes to the ice.  The combination of the crushed Sonic ice with the styrofoam cup keeps the drink at a deliciously cold temperature.  The same is true for margaritas, pina coladas, and other summery, beachy drinks.  The crushed ice is the perfect garnish and temperature to keep those slushy drinks cool, calm, and collected.  Here’s a great tip: Purchase bags of Sonic ice from time to time when entertaining to give your frozen drinks a little something special.

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Sonic ice

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This drink was mixed in a blender to create slushy ice.

Corralejo Jalapeno Popper Margarita

A Margarita with Sonic Ice = Love

Want to add a little garnish and keep your drink stylishly cool?  Add mint leaves, rosemary, or even berries to your ice cube tray as you fill it up.  This look works well if you are serving a clear spirit, lemonade or sparkling water.

mint ice cubes

Want your ice cubes to be clear?  Add boiling water to your mold.  The boiling temperature rids the water of gases that can cause that cloudy look.  Either way the ice is still cold has has the same taste– just a different look.

Regular freezer ice does have its place.  Freezer ice is great for adding to a shaker to cool down a concoction and works just as well as any other ice.

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Whether you are serving lemonade or a Manhattan, the ice you choose can make a difference in the appearance and taste of your drink.  The next time you entertain, don’t forget to think about the ice. What kind of mood you want to portray with your signature cocktail? If you try out one of our tips, we would love to hear about it.

Thank you bunches to everyone who is helping us with our challenge to double our number of followers.  We saw many new subscribers come across our feed this week and we are happy to have you join us.  Don’t forget to continue to share our blog with family and friends.

The Eclipse

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In the rare event you have been living under a rock, tomorrow, August 21, 2017, there is going to be a solar eclipse across much of the United States. Why is this eclipse special? According to NASA, the last total solar eclipse viewed from contiguous United States was more than 38 years ago on Feb. 26, 1979 whose path passed through the northwestern U.S. states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. After the August 2017 total solar eclipse, the next annular solar eclipse that can be seen in the continental United States will be on October 14, 2023 which will be visible from Northern California to Florida. Following this, we will have a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 visible from Texas to Maine. With this intriguing astronomical event occurring, we decided to blog about a drink dedicated to the event.

We had a difficult time finding the right drink to celebrate the eclipse.  Thanks to our friends drink research team, Megan and Jason, who gave us feedback and tasted a few beverages. We finally found a drink that is easy, tasty and fresh for the occasion.

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This drink may sound quite familiar to you once you see the ingredients: Zaya Rum, blue curacao, simple syrup, pineapple juice and lemon juice.  Shake over ice, strain and serve.  We adapted our recipe from one we found in Vintage Cocktails by Assouline.

 

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Because we used Zaya Rum instead of a light rum, the flavor of the Zaya dictates the essence of the drink.  This drink a slightly sweeter than what both of us typically prefer, but the taste is refreshing and easy to drink. Remember, you can always make a lighter version by preparing Stevia simple syrup instead of regular simple syrup.  We shared the Stevia simple syrup recipe with you in our Mojito post.

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The thing that really makes this drink is the ice.  Different kinds of ice cubes are definitely a thing in the cocktail world.  A drink can have a totally different look based on the ice that is used.  We plan to write a future post that is just about ice.  We made this sphere of ice ourselves.  We have a Neptune Ice Ball tray. You can buy them on Amazon and we also found some at World Market and Target.  The ultimate ice ball can be made from one from Sharper Image for around $400 or Williams Sonoma for more than $900.  Yes, for round ice!

ice ball tray

Neptune Ice Ball Tray

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Sphere Ice Mold from the Sharper Image

The Eclipse

  • 1 ½ oz. Zaya Rum
  • ¾ oz. Blue Curacao
  • ¾ oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 2 oz. Pineapple Juice

Shake or blend all ingredients with ice and strain into a glass. Garnish with a sphere ice cube.

We hope that you enjoy viewing the eclipse or following it live from NASA. Make sure you are wearing your glasses. Be sure to mix yourself an Eclipse to celebrate the event!

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