Types of Cocktail Ice
Having the correct type of Cocktail Ice is essential for any home bartender. Since ice is one of the main ingredients for any cocktail or spirit you want to be sure that you are using the correct type based on the drink as well as the quality.
There are 3 main types of Ice that are used when making cocktails.
Cocktail Ice – The Small Cube
Small cube ice is basically the everyday ice that you get out of your ice maker in your freezer or in your ice trays. These cubes are generally 1 inch or less in size. While having clear ice is best for presentation it is not really necessary when making cocktails. We use the Euhomy Portable Ice Maker shown below. It is super compact and makes great clear cubed ice.
Having solid small cubed ice is really important to have on hand especially when you are shaking a cocktail. Using larger cubes will not allow the cocktail to get as diluted as it would if you used crushed ice.
Small cubed ice is also used when stirring a drink such as a classic martini or when glasses just need to be chilled before serving
Obviously, you’re not going to get a Kold-Draft for your home, but you can make good cube ice using 1-inch cube silicone molds. Be sure to use clean tasting water and keep them covered or use them quickly so they don’t develop off-flavors in your freezer. Making sure your ice is free of weird flavors is even more important than making sure it’s a particular size.
Cocktail Ice – The Large Cube
Large ice cubes are more of presentation ice than they are a mixing type. These cubes are roughly 2 to 2 1/2 inches in size. These are used on drinks that you want to be chilled but won’t become diluted as fast.
This is where being able to make clear ice becomes more important as nothing looks as sexy as a crystal clear cube or even a sphere.
These cubes are mostly used with lowball drinks such as old-fashioned or smokey bourbon.
Crushed Ice is mainly used for the slushy style of cocktails. Many tropical tiki-type drinks just would not be the same without them.
There are many ice crushing machine available but you can always take a bag of small cubes, wrap it in a towel and beat on in with a wooden mallet. Just get the ice down to the size of a pea.