Ice: a Deal Breaker?
The question is, unfortunately, all too often asked, “Is ice really that big of a deal? To those who have, for whatever strange reason, not gotten the picture yet—yes, ice is that essential in the making of a good cocktail. Don’t feel ashamed—miraculously, one can order a top-shelf cocktail in multi-million-dollar resorts all over the world today and get bad ice. As Eric Alperin says, “Ice is the barman’s flame.”
The reasons are simple: temperature control, proper dilution, sensory stimulation and aesthetics. And, all of the above are worth the hassle. I love drinking out of Mason jars, but when it comes to Burgundy, I’m going with crystal. The same logic applies throughout the world of gastronomy—reflective not of snobbery but, rather, a simple respect for authenticity and integrity.
Good ice is a simple pleasure to achieve—whether at home or at work. Good molds/trays, decent water and a good freezer. If your freezer smells, abandon said endeavor; if you lack good water, distilled water is preferred and boiled water will suffice just fine. When it comes to the vessel, that’s an entirely different animal—one can begin with a simple ice cube tray and ascend all the way to spherical absurdity that borders on precious (depending on who you are).
When it comes to spherical ice—if you cannot justify spending a few hundred dollars on the Japanese model (which is, of course, the best—as they are killing it in Tokyo), the MoMa Store has a decidedly approachable solution, which runs you $16, for 2″-diameter ice spheres.
On the plainer side (which will still get you out of the ice rut) Amazon has their simpler version which are, nonetheless, a much better alternative to the average. You can also get really sassy and freeze pieces of fruit (i.e. lime/lemon) and/or fruit juices.
Regardless of your means, take control of your ice—you’ll be glad you did.