How to make cocktails

Ice image 1


Words by Simon Difford

A plentiful supply of fresh ice is essential to making good cocktails. When buying bagged ice, avoid the hollow, tubular kind and thin wafers. Instead, look for large, solid cubes of ice. We recommend a Kold Draft ( or Hoshizaki ( ) ice machine to produce large (inch/25mm square) solid cubes.

When filling ice cube trays, use bottled or filtered water to avoid the taste of chlorine often apparent in municipal water supplies.

Ice taken straight from a freezer is dry, almost sticky to the touch while ice from an ice-machine has a wet surface. Ice that has been sat in the open or even in the ice chest of a professional bar becomes even wetter surface as it starts to thaw. 'Wet ice' will impart much more dilution to a cocktail than ice taken straight from a freezer. Some cocktails, such as Daquiris benefit from more dilution so if using very cold fresh ice then you may want to consider adding a splash of water to some cocktails.

Whenever serving a drink over ice, always fill the glass with ice, rather than just adding a few cubes. This not only makes the drink much colder, but the ice lasts longer and so does not dilute into the drink.

Never use ice in a cocktail shaker twice, even if it's to mix the same drink as before. You should always discard ice after straining the drink and use fresh ice to fill the glass if so required. Pouring shaken ice straight into the glass with the liquid will result in an overly diluted drink which will not be as cold as one where the drink is strained over fresh ice.

Unless otherwise stated, all references to ice on this website mean cubed ice. If crushed ice is required for a particular recipe, the recipe will state 'crushed ice'. This is available commercially. Alternatively, you can crush cubed ice in an ice-crusher or simply bash a Lewis bag or tea towel of cubed ice with a rolling pin.

If a glass is broken near your ice stocks, melt the ice with warm water, clean the container and re-stock with fresh ice. If this occurs in a busy bar and you are not immediately able to clean the ice chest, mark it as being contaminated with a liberal coating of red grenadine syrup and draw ice from another station.

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