Creative ways to cool your cocktail masterpieces.
You've procured a hip bottle of artisanal gin. You've skipped the syrupy, mass-produced tonic water in favor of a mixer whose quinine is sourced from the bark of a rare tree. And then you grab a tray from the freezer only to discover the ice cubes have absorbed off-flavors from the surrounding frozen food.
As the above scenario demonstrates, ice is a major component of a good cocktail, not an afterthought. Here are some tips to elevate it to its rightful spot:
Keep It Flavorful
No one enjoys a watered-down drink. To avoid dilution, make ice cubes from the juice that's in your favorite libation. Also try this trick with leftover club soda for fizzes, or tonic for G&Ts. The effervescence will dissipate in the freezer, but your cocktail will stay tasty.
Another tip—even if the drink is built in the glass, first use a cocktail shaker with ice to mix the liquor and any other ingredients (besides carbonated mixers). When you add ice and the chilled mixture to the glass, your cubes will stay frozen longer.
Keep It Fun
Before freezing the cubes, drop in small, cut-up fruit or fresh herbs. Torn mint leaves work for Mojitos, lemon wedges brighten up a Vodka Collins, and maraschino cherries subtly sweeten the classic Manhattan. Waiting for ice to melt never seemed so fun.
Keep It Fresh
To prevent funky ice, start with clean trays. Fill with bottled or filtered water, and transfer ice to an airtight container in the freezer so it doesn't pick up food flavors. Use within a week or discard. If your fridge has an icemaker, clean it often according to manufacturer's directions.