By Noah Parks

Ice. Ice. Maybe? No. Definitely. Regardless of what you’re drinking or when, you probably prefer Ice get involved somewhere along the way. Unless you mess with Scotch, Apertifs, Digestifs, or taking shots of Malort, then indulge in the spirit however it takes you. Me, I’ll stick with ice. But seriously, I’ve had arguments with my friends about good ice which helped decide whether we went to Weather Up or to Double Down Saloon. Ice is a mood changer for some. I love a swizzled drink but not if it’s made with cubes. It has to be made with nuggets or Sonic ice (It has its own following https://abarabove.com/nugget-ice/). This is a bold choice for a bar to make if you only have one ice machine but, who cares if people are obsessed then let them come! Or go? The point is that if you order said Macallen and it comes with nuggets floating around in delicious ambrosia then you might be a one-and-done customer.

But what about those beautiful clear cubes or spheres? Those infuriate me personally because I’m someone that loves to crunch up ice after a drink.

I imagine it’s a recruitment test of some kind: 

Do you eat the ice at the bottom of a drink? 

Yes. 

Great, you’re hired.  

or

No. 

Well, it was a pleasure and I wish you well.

These mammoth cubes are the feature of many fine cocktails from Dead Rabbit to Dear Irvine. You’ll get something named “Stag Lace”: a chartreuse based, stirred, prohibition cocktail over an navel orange sized sphere of ice, that sings warmly all the way to the last drop. It’ll change shades of jade as the low light hits it over the course of the beverage. Also, in a non-ice related note, always have the Deviled Eggs at Dear Irvine. Worth it. Then there is the sphere’s no nonsense blocky uncle: the rubix cube sized Ice block. This is a “statement” form of ice.  It’ll dilute the spirit less than smaller cubes in a tin, it properly chills the cocktail when stirred, and looks sexy as hell when you have that three fingers of Macallen.

Ice. Ice. Baby that’s a huge part of the business! When I’m setting up a bar for HMG+ what’s the most important thing? Ice. I’m chilling things, I’m making drinks, I’m giving buckets of it away for whatever the client needs a bucket of ice for. It’s a vital resource on the floor of anything hospitality related. Even a terrible hotel has an ice machine for those ice chests in the room. A side note on those ice buckets, ALWAYS use the plastic liners for the ice bucket. I encourage anyone who hasn’t to experiment with ice at home.  You don’t have to rely on the little plastic trays, or the machine on the door.  You can make your own Ice (look up direction freezing, and use distilled water), or if you’re feeling flush then order from Okamoto. The “second Ice Age” is upon us (even though it’s a heatwave) and whether it’s nuggets, Spheres, Cubes, DIY or made to order, it’s time to chill out and enjoy yourself.

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