By Keegan Smith (aka The Barsmith) and SIKU Glacial ice Vodka
So I know that the whole ice trend has all been forgotten in the mixology circles but I do feel that we need to educate still on the fascinating subject. The truth is that the quality of your ice being used in drinks is a huge factor to the overall taste of your cocktail.
The ice determines whether the cocktail will dilute just right or too much or influence the overall flavor of the drink. The purer and more dense the ice is, the better off your drink will be and not to mention, more attractive. So after massive trial and error and A LOT of fumbled attempts I can now safely give you the best advice when it comes to making crystal clear ice at home or in your bar.
The secret here is what’s called directional freezing, this means that we need to freeze either from the bottom up or the top down. This gradual directional freezing pushes the impurities and excess gasses down or up and not get trapped within the ice. So the first step is to boil your water, this process will minimize the other gas like nitrogen in the water, this is a major factor in the clouding of ice (Trapped Gas). Bring the water to room temperature and place in an insulated cooler box with the lid removed or fully open. Place the cooler box into a freezer and leave for about 12 hours. Most of the clouding affect on the ice is actually formed right at the end of the freezing process so you only want ¾ of the water to freeze before removing it from the cooler.
What you now should have is a solid large crystal clear block of ice! Now to cut it… So instead of emulating Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct on the ice with an ice pick, you can actually cut ice very accurately using a sharp serrated bread knife and a mallet. Saw the entire length of the ice about half a centimeter deep with the bread knife and then tap the top of the knife with the mallet. This concentrated pressure will crack the ice perfectly in line with the blade. Always remember to cut the ice in the center or it will crack off center. You can get even more creative here and freeze edible flowers within the ice for a floral effect or use an infused water to make the ice.
Now that we have our crystal clear ice blocks, lets have a look at one of my favorite cocktails using Siku Glacial ice vodka!
50ml Siku Glacial ice vodka*
12.5ml ODK gluten free Pomegranate syrup*
25ml Sea breeze Cranberry Juice
1 squeezed Lime wedge (Approx 7ml)
Generous pinch of cracked black pepper
2 Large Basil Leaves
Muddle the basil, lime wedge and cracked black pepper in a cocktail shaker, add ice and vigorously shake until chilled. Double strain into a tumbler glass with a single clear ice block. Garnish it with a slapped basil leaf for aroma
*Siku Vodka and ODK Syrups are available from Liquid 2 Lip Brands