Whats the Importance of ICE? When you prepare a G&T what are the primary ingredients that come to mind? Gin, tonic and ice, right? You can go without garnishes in your tipple but not without ice, it’s simply unheard of! While ice is arguably one of the most important ingredients in your cocktail it’s also the most overlooked one. Ice comes in different shapes and sizes, each one having its own purpose. It is for this reason that we thought it fitting to give this essential element the recognition it deserves.
It’s only right that craft ice has joined the craft cocktail revolution. Enter The Great Kennebec Ice Company, a small business based in Johannesburg that is taking ice to the next level. Ice that’s clear, tasteless and shaped to suit the cocktail at hand, is exactly its mission.
“I did think I’d heard everything. I heard about gin, and then about craft gin. And then I heard about tonic, and then craft tonic. And now, I’ve got to put craft ice into the craft gin and tonic. I think this is crafty!” remarks Bruce Whitfield, host of the Cape Talk Money Show.
Listen to the full interview.
Each craft gin is paired with a unique tonic water to give you the perfect serve, but did you know that each cocktail also requires a specific form of ice to get full flavour of your drink? There are 5 basic forms of ice that you would generally use when preparing your favourite drink. Take a look:
This is out of your ‘normal’ bag of ice from the store and is also commonly used in a strawberry daiquiri, slush puppy or any other frozen beverage. Cracked ice tends to make a G&T watery as it easily melts away.
Much like cracked ice, shaved ice is also very popular in frozen beverages. It blends easily which makes it ideal for blended cocktails like the Cosmopolitan and Pina Colada.
One could say that block ice is just ice in its raw form. In the old days this was the only form of ice available, so bartenders had to make use of ice picks, shavers and other ice tools to get the desired size for their mixing. It is to the block ice that craft ice connoisseurs are returning, as this gives them the freedom to cut out the shape and size ice that is required for specific cocktails.
This is probably the most popular form of ice – it’s the one you’ll find in your freezer! Here’s a fun fact: the wider the surface and the larger the cube, the slower your ice cube dilutes. You could use ice cubes when mixing just about any drink from whisky on the rocks to a G&T and everything in between!
The ice ball was introduced in 2009. It’s a large ball of ice that you put in the middle of your tumbler when enjoying a drink on the rocks. Large cubes like this release less water into your drink as they take longer to dilute. So, your first sip will taste as good as your last!