As things have resumed their normal pace, and schools are about to start, we finally have some sun and warmth in Stockholm. Better late than never? So let’s discuss summer cocktails and a few things pertaining to that. In fact let’s talk about ice in particular.
The standard for ice in cocktails has gone up the last few years. Any bartender with self-esteem will be seen hacking away at chunks of ice behind the bar because ready-made cubes are not so not OK anymore. Some bars have ready made cubes with their logo but that’s as close as it gets.
If I were to speculate at the reason for thither are primarily two; one being the revival of cocktails and the insight that a big ice cube melts slower and thus doesn’t dilute the drink as much. Which is correct and very reasonable. The other is those lovely Muji silicone spheres allowing the “at home bartender” to make big cubes with no fuss. As the whole point of going to bars is the experience and that it should be above the level of mere mortals they have had to up their game. That’s my theory anyways.
I have nothing but love for the Muji spheres and have gifted many a friend with a kit of one of those, some cool raw suger cubes and a decent cocktail spoon. I don’t use them myself though. I have a tray to make ice cubes in the shape of diamonds which I like, but the spheres are a little to big for the glasses I use. Instead I reuse those little plastic containers that they use for soy sauce at my local sushi place(sidenote; I rarely buy the sushi but prefer their dumplings). Ordinary as they may seem those little cups they make an excellent cube and can, if handled with care, be reused several times. Then it’s put in the recycling bin.
If you want to add further oomph to the visual appearance of your cocktail there are a slew of things that can be put in the ice as garnish. Fresh flowers is a classic, I tried using dried rosebuds this week and that looks OK. One thing I often do is put pink peppercorns in; it’s from a variation on a G&T that I found online the other year. Pink peppercorns in the ice, gin, tonic, grapefruit juice and dash of rosewater or rosewater syrup. Looks nice and tastes great. I encourage experimenting with this, many things loose their colour when frozen but something like juniper berries look very cool and ties nicely to gin in a G&T. They don’t release much flavor as they stay in the ice mostly.
Another obvious trick is to use frozen berries as ice. Excellent in a white wine spritzer or something like that. Try to use a little fresh basil with frozen strawberries; looks nice and a good combination of flavours.
Another good thing about putting things in the ice is that it obscures “the view”. With the nerdiness/snobbishness with ice bartenders talk about clarity in ice like my mother talks about diamonds. It has to be clear and see through to rate. Seriously. Spending to much time on achieving clear ice is the sign of a clouded judgement.
Have a great weekend everyone!