° FEATURE °
is a Bartender’s Best Friend
veryone is sick of sh*t ice these days. Once the most overlooked element of cocktail making, it seems nowadays the frozen stuff is finally being given the consideration it deserves. Bartenders across the country, from pubs, to small bars, to high end cocktail venues have come to the realisation that, in many respects, it’s ice over the base spirit that can make or break a cocktail. This is because ice doesn’t simply chill a drink. Its soluble nature means it will slowly release into a cocktail. This can go one of two ways: a good block will bind the ingredients together as it diffuses, taking the bite off the base spirit while rounding out the flavours and bringing forward new ones. On the other hand, a cloudy block full of impurities and air bubbles – you know, the kind you fish out of the home freezer – can add a range of unfavourable flavours to the drink and will dilute the spirit faster. When in doubt, measure a good block of ice like you would a diamond –it’s all about size, clarity and cut. WORDS ° Simon Weiss & Damien Liot
Handcrafted ice is more likely to be clearer and denser, meaning overall the block will be harder, colder and better at keeping the drink at a constant, lightly-chilled temperature. You can technically produce high quality frozen water, on a small scale, in house. But from our experience, we just don’t think it’s worth the effort. That being said, instigating a good ice program within your bar is definitely worth it as it can add about 60 to 80
cents to the cost of each drink sold. Cue the business of premium ice making. Businesses such as Bare Bones Ice Company in Sydney are creating high quality bespoke products to keep it simple for you behind the bar. Here Simon Weiss and Damien Liot from the Bare Bones team run us through their three standard sizes of ice cut and how you can work with these on a day-to-day basis.