Specialty bar ice is a hot new trend, and it’s exciting to see new bar ice designs that are both practical and fun. Although many restaurants are embracing the trend, you can make your own specialty cubes at home with a few simple tools.
Different ice shapes and sizes each provide a unique drink experience, so match your ice to your cocktail. While crushed ice might work well in frosty drinks or light cocktails, cubes and spheres work best in neat drinks or other drinks you don’t want to water down too quickly.
Crushed ice might be easiest to produce because most refrigerators have a crushed ice function but for the drink connoisseur, a Lewis bag and mallet are the way to go. Instead of a uniform crush like you’d get from the fridge, a Lewis bag and mallet will give you a crushed ice of varying size and shape, which lends more visual interest to your drink. It also looks cool enough to impress guests.
The Lewis bag and mallet can be found at various online retailers.
These aren’t your regular ice cubes. Think big cubes (2-3 inches) with uniform shape and hard, straight lines. These cubes are made with a silicone mold, and they look spectacular in a simple glass. Use one cube for neat drinks, or stack a few in a highball glass for tall drinks. American Grocery has a little secret for making the perfect clear cube: boil your ice water twice before freezing in the mold.
Cube molds can be found at Charleston Cooks! locations around South Carolina.
Spheres are the sister shape to the cube because they both don’t dilute drinks the way smaller cubes and crushed ice do. However, they give drinks an entirely different look and are especially sexy in a simple short glass. Add a few strips of citrus rind to give these cubes a little flair. There are a variety of molds available for spheres, although the plastic and silicone combo molds usually work best.
Sphere molds can be found at online retailers and at Charleston Cooks! locations.
The Whiskey Wedge is a relative newcomer to the bar ice scene, but it just might be the most interesting. This mold freezes ice on one side of the glass, giving your cocktail a hipster vibe, and provides for some pretty cool sipping.
The Whiskey Wedge can be found here.
If you want to know what cool things Greenville area restaurants are doing with ice, check out Gap Creek Gourmet’s recent article for Town Magazine.
*article by Gap Creek Gourmet contributing writer, Lisa Ashby.