We’ve all done it. It’s an hour before your party, and you remembered all the booze and mixers you needed. When you go to your freezer, you realize you have no ice. After muttering a string of expletives, you run out to the nearest gas station and pick up a big bag of ice.
Did you do your guests a disservice? Does ice actually impact your drinks’ quality? Food Republic’s Simon Ford writes, “ice is arguably the most important ingredient” in cocktails. Even drinks served straight often use ice in mixing. Make sure it’s filtered and used in the right amounts. If you’re wondering which type, consider that “the shape and size of your ice impacts how quickly it melts and how much water gets into your cocktail,” according to Liz Schumer of VinePair. Large, square cubes and King Cubes will release less water, so they’re perfect for traditionally straight drinks like Manhattans (if you aren’t a purist that believes Manhattans can’t be on the rocks). Sugary, tropical concoctions are best for crushed ice. The melting ice will thin out the syrups and dilute the drink (some drinks actually taste better diluted).
Next time, be sure to add ice trays to your shopping list, and get a variety of ice types ready for your party. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how it raises your cocktail game.