by Pinky Gonzales
A world without ice implies no cold drinks – and that would be a terrible, terrible world. There of course was a time not too long ago when the world did not have chilled drinks. How did we get ’em? Boston’s own Frederic Tudor, a Beacon Hill ice trade maverick dubbed “The Ice King” was Beginning in the early nineteenth century he shipped out blocks harvested from local ponds (such as Walden) and created a worldwide demand. Thanks, Fred!
Ice and ice melt, a.k.a. water, make our cocktails more drinkable, it goes without saying that filtered ice is better than un-filtered ice. A blind taste demonstration by Alexapure Pro has shown this to be very true. A martini needs to have a little melt, otherwise you’re crazy hammered in a minute (unless your name is John Myers.) Ice gadgets for the home make it all more fun. Not everyone can
have a Kold Draft machine at their house (let alone their bar), but we can stock up on a few tools and gadgets to enhance cocktail hour. (I mention these in this week’s Weekly Dig):
A company called Tovolo makes soft trays which render perfect, roughly 1″ cubes, non-messy, and which look swell stacked high in a Collins glass. $11.95 set of 2, Kitchen Arts, Newbury St. Note: You can find elsewhere all sorts of novelty shapes too, if you must, ranging from dog bones to Playboy bunnies. I have found some of these shapes exceedingly tricky to remove, however, so be wary.
The Lewis Bag & Ice Crush Kit
A great way to get your frustration out, make your guests chuckle, and have lovely cocktails. Sturdy canvas bag with a wooden mallet. $15, BeverageFactory.com.
Vintage or retro-new, hand-crank, choppers, tappers, all good. Some nice ones are made by Ice-O-Mat, Dazey, and look for the neat-o Tap-Icer gadget. And speaking of the latter, which is an old tool, the back of a good bar spoon cracks ice held in the hand just as well. Check Buckaroo’s Mercantile, Cambridge, for the occasional vintage nugget.
Less charm, less work. Bought mine at Goodwill for five bucks – same one I used in 1975.
For more on ice, check out what local (welcome back!!) bartender Josey Packard has to say about it here: