Friday, December 3, 2010

Lesson 15: Ice

Hello everyone! Welcome back to Free Online Bartending School. A nice little way to learn about bartending on the web. Today's lesson is about "ice."

As a bartender, you always want to entertain your guests. One easy way to do so is by the ice that you serve them. The water is free, and all you need to do is take care of the rest to make it a pleasant experience to your guests.

Ice Crusher

For many of us, we tend to make ice in the freezer that looks like this at our home.

It's a normal, standard ice tray that makes normal pieces of ice cubes that we are used to seeing at home. But as I mentioned in my lessons, this ice is not the best type of ice for bartending. They really do not blend and crush well for frozen cocktails due to its shape and size. And when you put it into a highball cocktail straight, the ice looks so normal that you take away from the overall experience of a cocktail. The cocktail just doesn't seem to taste as good.

Anyway to remedy this situation, there are a variety of ice crushers available on the market to make you some crushed ice. Crushed ice tends to go well with cocktails for a few reasons.

1. They tend to melt a little faster thereby diluting your drink to a good strength and consistency.
2. They feel good on the mouth when you sip it. (I personally love to drink whiskey on the rocks, or a margarita with crushed ice since it dilutes the drink well, and it just for some reason feels and tastes better.)
3. They have a better look and feel compared to the normal ice cube made from an ice tray.

So to go back to my point, you may want to consider buying some of these items to make some crushed ice at home.

(I am using Amazon links again to show you the picture, price, rating, and description of the items. I hope you don't mind. By the way, currently students and Moms get free membership into Amazon Prime, which is their program where you get 2 Day Shipping for free. It normally costs $79 a year, but free now to students and Moms. Awesome deal!)

I have been using this ice crusher for about 10 years, but in all honesty, as the rating mentions, it's probably not the best product to use. It works, but it's a lot of work. It doesn't allow you to crush a lot of ice, so you'll have to crush it several times to get enough crushed ice for you and your guest.

Looking through Amazon, I found that there is an automatic one these days. They'll probably work much better if you have a lot of ice to crush.

Seems like a nice tool to have. As you go on your journey to become a professional level bartender, you may need tools such as these to do your job right.

Big Pieces of Ice

In some cases, you may want to have a really big piece of ice instead. Big pieces of ice are usually used when you drink a nice scotch on the rocks. The bigger piece of ice will melt slower than a smaller piece of ice, thereby allowing you to enjoy the aged scotch without it being diluted too much. It also looks really cool.

This method creates nice pieces of ice that you can use with your scotch on the rocks. However, the only draw back to this method at home is that you'll need to go buy the ice block (thereby it's not free), and since the ice block is rather large it takes up a lot of space in your freezer. The ice will also not break cleanly all the time, and you'll end up with a lot of ice pieces you'll just waste.

To remedy that situation, I've been using an ice tray like this that is able to make big circular piece of ice. They have been working very well for me.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find this product in the United States. This particular one above is from Amazon Japan. You'll still be able to order it, but shipping may cost you a bunch. If you're ambitious enough, you may want to check it out. The product itself is about $4, but shipping may cost a little more.

There are also big square ice trays in the U.S., but I haven't had great luck with these. I have a hard time taking out the ice from the mold, and a square ice just doesn't feel right in a glass with scotch in it.

Maybe you'll have better luck than me. The one that I bought was a relatively cheap one that wasn't very well made. This one above has great reviews.

I found a pretty cool video on how to make this square piece of ice into a round one. I'm not sure if I recommend this method, but you can enjoy a work of a professional.

Scary... but impressive.

Cool Ice Molds

The remainder will be a list of cool ice molds that I found. They look really cool, and it will be a nice little piece of flair to entertain your guests with. Most of the ice molds below are made by Fred & Friends.

The ice cube shot glasses. I introduced this in the shooters lesson, but here it is again. They look really cool for a Jagger shot.

Moai ice cubes. How cool.

They call this one the Gin & Titonic.

If you or your buddy is a guitar player, this is a must. Great reviews too.

Maybe for your next Kahlua and milk?

Looks like a nice one for a refreshing citrus cocktail.

Anyway, so here's a few of them. There are whole lot more cool ice molds, so be sure to check it on Fred & Friends website or on Amazon.

All right, this lesson was about ice. Ice can enhance a cocktail's overall experience, so as you start to become a good bartender, keep an eye out for details like this.

Okay, until next time, good luck studying, and Cheers!

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