Why is ice so important in cocktails?

Why is ice so important in cocktails?


You may be used to going into a cocktail bar and hearing people say things like, “there’s too much ice in here, the bartender’s leaving out half my drink”, or something to that effect. Well let me put this all to rest, and dispel the myth of why we bartenders love ice, and you should too.

Remember this phrase,

More ice, equals less dilution.  Your drink will stay colder, with and less ice will turn to water, if there’s enough ice in your glass)

So when your planning a party, is ice usually the last thing on your list to get?  Without it, drinks just aren’t the same. There are a few varieties of ice out there, for different drinks and methods of making. So make no mistake, ice is important in the creation of fantastic cocktails or even simple spirit and mix drinks.  For most cocktails and parties, regular cubed ice is perfect.

Ice cocktail making

Ice is one of the most overlooked (almost essential) ingredients in almost all cocktails today, why?

If your only thought towards ice is, “but it will dilute my drink and make it watery” Here at MyCocktailMasterclass, we are going to dispel that myth, and here’s why.

As we teach in every cocktail masterclass, the more ice you have in your glass, the less it will melt. Ice keeps ice cold. So cooling the cocktail liquid down when making the ddrink is essential. We use methods like shaking or stirring to create and chill the drink, so that when we pour into the glass over fresh ice, the ice in the glass remains as ice for the whole time you’re drinking your cocktail.  Guaranteed, there is less chance of the ice melting in your drink when using this method.

So when you’re handed a tall Collins glass cocktail full of ice, don’t think. “I’m losing out because there’s less space in the glass for the drink”, or “they’re cutting back on the alcohol in my cocktail”… relax, and know that the bartender that served you, knows what they were doing. If you’re going to have ice, have as much as the glass can hold, or go completely without. It’s much more likely that 2 or 3 cubes pitifully floating at the top of your drink will be gone in minutes, and that will make your drink watery and not chilled at all.

Making your own ice

If you want to go further, than this there are different varieties of ice, but the first to consider is how to make ice. Like many other items, ice will absorb odours in the freezer, so ice that spent too much time too close to the catch of the day may give a cocktail an unpleasant fishy tinge.
This is not pleasant, so make sure it’s either far away in your freezer, sealed from being contaminated, or buy it from a shop.

Different kinds of ice

Modern ice machines have been mostly built for speed of production, so hollow domes, or slivers of ice are created rather than cubes as the ice is not as thick it is quicker to make

Cubes of lump ice are much better for making cocktails, or even having a single spirit with. The bigger the ice cube, the longer it will last and so not dilute the drink as quickly.

An alternative is cracked or crushed ice, and this is used for the all-time favourite mojito and other such drinks. Fantastic for refreshing cocktails to keep them ice cold throughout. As there is more surface area touching the liquid with Crushed ice, will ensure that every millilitre of your drink is chilled. This does however take space out the glass for a long drink (as seen in the Mojito, where the liquid is really only 100ml in total. Yet this fills a tall Collins glass.

Crushed ice is also to be used in blenders as the blades can cut through the crushed ice better than cubed and will allow your blades to last a lot longer (making many more strawberry daiquiris than if you use cubed)

So…So next time you’re out, or having people round. Have a think about ice, and stock up. It is very important. But if you’re not having cocktails, stick your beers in a bucket of ice. For some reason it always tastes better