An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer by Allison Steele investigates ice as the bartender's secret weapon.
To bartenders and beverage managers at some Philadelphia cocktail bars, ice is one of the most important ingredients, a crucial tool for bringing a spirit, mixed drink, or mocktail to the right temperature. The thought of making a drink with cubes from a regular freezer tray is almost cringeworthy.
Read the full article
I'd say it is a secret weapon that is becoming less secret as people experience it.
Another week of scouring the web for all the latest in the clear ice game. Check out the latest issue of ClearIce.Life.
I recently stumbled across this article from 2017 The Humble Garnish that does a fantastic job of testing a variety of "at home" clear ice making molds.
The author uses a couple of directional freezing methods, but also puts boiled water, bottled water, and purified water to the test, clearly showing that directional freezing is the only real way to get clear ice. This is illustrated in the article where BLK mineral water is used to show how, through directional freezing, all of the minerals are pushed out. Here's a photo from the article:
To summarize the results, the single most important factor in attaining clear ice is that it be done through slow directional freezing. Water type and temperature will have a small impact on clarity, but the greatest impact it will have is that poor quality water will impart any flavors into the drink as it melts. The two obvious winners for attaining clear ice were the True Cubes mold and the “cooler method” since they both employed directional freezing, allowing the impurities to be easily discarded. For either of these methods, the choice in water type or preparation method had little impact on the resulting ice clarity, but will have a flavor impact as it melts. To make clear ice at home, the only worthwhile methods will incorporate directional freezing.
I've been following Cubicle Ice for some time on instagram. They are just getting off the ground and posted a whole new sequence of photos on their account that show the entire clear ice creation and processing process all the way through. It is really a remarkable set of photographs that I've not seen from other makers that are more well established. Check out the sequence of images for a full look at what making clear ice looks like for a commercial artisanal ice maker!
Step 1: Fill up the Clinebell machine with water and let it sit!
Step 2: Pull 300 pounds of clear ice out of the Clinebell with a crane!
Step 3: Use a chain saw (or mill) to cut the block into slabs.
Step 4: Step back and admire all those slabs. That is hard work!
Step 5: Band saw those slabs into bars
Step 6: Cut those rods into cubs! <-- Now it's usable!
Step 7: Admire your awesome commercially made clear ice!
If I had a clear ice business, I would probably take this exact same sequence of photos! Go over and check out the entire Instagram account and give it a follow.
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While wandering the web, I came across a Kitchen Hacks article in the Australian publication of Broadsheet. It doesn't get more simple than this:
“You should make better ice,” Leaney says. “Better ice equals better drinks. It means your drinks get colder faster and stay colder for longer.”
They also just look damn pretty!
Read the article for the kitchen hacks you probably all know by now!
While I was on a work trip in Orlando, I visited Disney Springs to kill some time in the evening. I had read there were a number of cocktail clubs there, so I figured it would be cool to try and find one with an ice program!
After researching the options, my bet was that The Edison would be a good candidate. It was a 20s style place that was touting their cocktail creations. Sure enough, I was right! The bartender was nice enough to share that they get their ice from The Gainesville Ice Doctor, who's been featured in the Makers list for quite some time! Check out the photos!
So there you have it... if you are on the search for clear ice, the Disney Springs Marketplace has some for your pleasure! I'm not planning to visit any of the parks on this trip, but I'd assume if this place has it, others would as well!
Here's a quick time lapse video from my kitchen counter, breaking down a half block that I buy from Lake Boone Ice Company in Hudson, MA. I get 3-4 blocks and keep them in my freezer, pulling them out a half at a time. Each half block fills three freezer bags full of rough cubes, that I can trim and prepare solo or for guests.
Here are a few other photos from the day.
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This week I received a survey request from the Forge Ice System that I've mentioned recently. I've been following the progress where I can. The survey asked a single question:
"Which of these is most important to you regarding the Forge Clear Ice System's ice maker? "
And the answers are:
A: Time to ice—give it to me as fast as possible
B: Quantity of ice—the more the merrier
C: Size of the ice maker—make it as small as possible
I was a bit torn between A and C... eventually, I went with C because I feel like the smaller it is, the cheaper it will be. Is that crazy? :) The prior rumors of this thing costing $1,500 is going to put it beyond the reach of most. Anything they can do to keep the price down, but ensure a steady and consistent supply of clear ice, would be a win. I'm sure it's a tough problem to solve, otherwise someone would have solved it by now!
Welcome to the show!
ClearIce.Life is maintained by Trapper Markelz in pursuit of elevated cocktail experiences at home, and with friends.
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