In the world of bartending, ice can be just as easy to love or hate. The wrong proportions can expose a cocktail to the wrong temperature or dilution and disrupt delicate balances.
And, as our last blog revealed, there is a lot to be said in getting the seemingly ‘little’ things right. Customers expect an immersive and full experience – right down to the finer details, including the ice.
You can't run a cocktail bar without ice and put simply, “Better ice equals better drinks”. As beverage director, Tony Rials, told Behind The Bar, the demand for better ice is growing: “There is a growing increase in concern for the quality of ice all across the board.”
Thinking Outside the (Ice) Cube
Which perhaps explains why we are finding ourselves in another ice age: as craft cocktails explode onto the scene, we are becoming obsessed in our search for ice perfection… you might say it’s all about the ice, ice baby.
So how can ice go so wrong? Well, traditional ice as you know it – the stuffed churned out by your home freezer – is really not a mixologist’s friend. Firstly, ice that sits in a freezer can become stale or easily pick up food odours. Not very appealing in your Negroni!
But it’s more than that: “A large cube melts more slowly than a small one; a cube without tiny air bubbles trapped inside is not only clearer and more aesthetically pleasing, but also less inclined to crack in a drink because of those minute imperfections," cocktail writer Camper English told The Washington Post.
And this guy should know, he’s obsessed with his mission to create perfect ice blocks. He has spent years working on clearer, more flawless blocks. See his review of the Über Bar Tools Ice Picks here.
And it's not all for show. Hard ice, with no bubbles and no cracks, is denser and has a higher cooling ability, so will melt much more slowly and keep a drink at optimum temperature for longer without diluting it too much.
The clarity of the ice, much like a diamond, is all about removing the cloudy quality of ice (a difficult thing to achieve) and creating the glass-like effect that ice-geeks all strive for.
So, how do you go about introducing an effective ice program to your bar? According to Good Food: “Some bars in Australia that truly care about cocktails have been paying attention to their ice for some time,” and because of this we have seen the emergence of some boutique hand-cut ice companies.
These ice-sculptors work by hand because, basically, no one seems to have discovered a way to create a perfect ice cube in a machine yet! However, it is possible to craft ice for yourself and we give you some tips on how to introduce an ice program to your bar in our previous blog.
What's more, we have a range of tools to help your polar expedition – from ice picks to a Thor-like hammer, these ergonomically-designed bar tools are especially made to make ice-crafting easy.
With solid stainless steel construction, modular design (for easy parts replacement) and a uniquely constructed grip for enhanced safety and comfort, our ice range helps bartenders become ice-sculptors. All in the quest for the perfect cocktail.