In our previous blog posts, we've stressed the importance of quality spirits when crafting cocktails... We've touched upon display and gone over garnishes, however....

We still need to discuss ice! With the cocktail movement in full swing, it is not surprising that artisanal ice has become a trend. Although it's often overlooked, the proper ice can drastically alter your drinking experience.

Instead of pulling out the old ice cube trays in your freezer or buying a bag of ice, consider these tips the next time you're having happy hour in your living room:

1. Freeze distilled water instead of tap water. Have you ever taken ice out of the freezer only to discover it had that "freezer taste?" That taste is caused by the impurities found in tap water. The tedious distillation process removes those impurities from water - leaving you with distinctly pure tasting ice. At $1 per gallon, distilled water can fit in any budget. Find yours at your local grocery store.

2. Ring mold it. With Spring around the corner, I can think of nothing prettier than a crystal punch bowl filled with a glorious, refreshing drink that is chilled by a floral ice ring. Creating your own floral ice ring is so simple! You will only need three things: flowers, bundt cake pan, and distilled water. Add water to bundt pan, arrange flowers, and freeze. The floral ice ring can easily be loosened by dunking the bundt pan in a shallow dish of hot water. The mold should easily slide out when turned upside down. All of the flowering branches are in season right now, so set your sights on Quince Apple Blossoms (orchids, pansies, and herbs are also great options).

 

 

3. Flavor cubes. When you're looking to add more punch to your drinks, turn to a flavored ice cube. Try using rose water for a refreshing and exotic twist or coffee for a depth of flavor. Herbs muddled with ginger and mixed with distilled water would be perfect for a Spring mojito!

 

4. Varying sizes & shapes. Plastic ice cube trays yielding frozen rectangles are so no longer fashionable.  The cube and sphere are all the rage in today's artisanal ice rage. These cubes tend be larger in size thus producing a slower melting ice that keeps drinks colder longer.