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Workable, Real-World Solutions to Wet Ice in Warm Bins


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#1 Chris Amirault

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 06:07 AM

Spent a few hours at Proof in DC last night, a great bar in a great restaurant. They have a fantastic selection of ingredients; Ashley's drink-making and Adam's menu design were top-notch. And the ice was terrible.

It's not like they're alone: save for very cocktail-forward bars designed around crucial elements like ice, most bars simply aren't built to support the production and maintenance of cold, hard ice. What are some real-world strategies a bar can use to deal with this ubiquitous problem?
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#2 Shalmanese

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 06:43 AM

Ice serves 2 primary purposes and one secondary purpose. It adds pure H2O to dilute the drink, it reduces the temperature of the drink & it sometimes can be used to add tiny ice crystals & aeration to change the texture of a drink.

The problem with warm ice is that it both adds too much dilution and not enough temperature reduction. Thus, your goal is to rectify this. One way of doing this is to start with colder ingredients, keeping liquors in the fridge rather than at room temp would be a good idea but generally not practical (although keeping a bottle or two of vodka in the freezer might be practical if you're a vodka heavy bar). Another would be to use higher proof liquors that can stand up more to dilution. 100 proof instead of 80 proof. For mixed drinks where the proportion can be tweaked slightly (like a cosmo), making them more aggressive to begin with can also counteract dilution. Switching to a 2:1 simple syrup and using less of it can shave off an additional bit of water. Pre chilling glasses brings the temp down and it seems like a no-brainer but maybe 1 in 10 bars I go to do this. Finally, a lot of the dilution comes from liquid water clinging to the ice. Having a device that allows you to shake the ice dry before it goes in the shaker might be all you need to significantly improve quality.
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#3 slkinsey

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 07:10 AM

The real-world solutions will depend on the bar. If there is no extra freezer space, no possibility of getting in a better ice machine, etc. Then there is very little that can be done to help with the problem of crappy ice.

Most ice in the vast majority of bars (the Petraske group's bars being a notable exception) is stored in unrefrigerated ice bins. This means that the ice is effectively at 0C. As they guys over at the Cooking Issues Blog demonstrated fairly convincingly, a large part of the observed difference in dilution between larger pieces of ice and smaller pieces of ice has to do with the water on the surface of the ice. The larger the cube is, the smaller the surface area to volume ratio is. If you have a 1-inch cube, it will have a surface area of 6 and a volume of 1, so the ratio is 6:1. If you bump that up to a 2 inch square cube, you now have a surface area of 24 and a volume of 8 for a SA:V of 3:1 -- half that of the 1 inch cube ( a 3 inch cube will have an SA:V that is 2:1, and so on). Eight 1-inch cubes have the same volume as one 2-inch cube, but double the surface area. That means that it's carrying double the amount of surface-water into the drink.

How to solve this is not easy. If it is not possible to increase the size of the ice, then the only thing you can do is get the temperature of the ice sufficiently below 0C so that there is no surface water on the outside of the ice. The small ice may still dilute faster than the larger ice (hopefully the Cooking Issues guys will test this) due to having a much larger SA:V, but starting off with sub-zero ice should make a notable difference. However, if you can't get your ice and keep your ice that low... well, then you're SOL.

Shalmanese is not entirely correct in his thinking about warm ice. The reality is that, even with freezer-cold ice, the vast majority of chilling is achieved by melting. This is because the energy required for phase change is far, far larger than the energy required for simple warming of the ice. So, for example, the energy required to take a piece of frozen water from -1C to 1C is way more energy than what is required to take a piece of frozen water from -3C to -1C. Most of his other suggestions (using higher proof booze, somehow spinning the water off of the ice before use, etc.) seem either impractical or uneconomic, and unlikely to be employed in a real-world bar environment. Chilling glasses is always a good idea. All they would have to do is keep a bunch of glasses on the back bar filled with ice.

There is really nothing your friends at Proof can do that won't cost money or involve the installation or use of some machinery. Either they have to get a machine that makes bigger ice, or they need to refrigerate the ice they're already using. Potentially they could toss a few chunks of dry ice into the bottom of the ice bins? This might have some safety concerns, though.


The reality is that it's absolutely possible to make high quality drinks even with crappy wet shell ice. Flatiron Lounge had crappy ice for years (they didn't get their Kold-Draft machine until after Pegu opened), and the cocktails there have always been quality. What you need to do is adapt your techniques to the materials being used. So, for example, pack the shaker with ice and get used to shaking for only a short period of time. For some drinks, literally only 6 vigorous shakes, and then quickly into the glass. These are the sorts of things you can do to minimize watering the drink. For rocks drinks... harder to say. Make them boozier? Keep some "rocks ice" in a freezer?
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#4 Blether

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 08:08 AM

Why not keep your bucket of ice inside a larger bucket, and fill the gap with one of:

salted ice, replenished as needed
dry ice
freezer packs (the blue-gel jobs)

?

#5 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 09:49 AM

The reality is that it's absolutely possible to make high quality drinks even with crappy wet shell ice.


Thank you. Everyone is agreed that if possible, Kold-Draft is what you want, but Kold-Draft is not a substitute for appropriate technique. Due to the demands of the kitchen, we have shell ice at Veritas and while I like it better when I don't have to use that (machine seems to go out on a regular schedule, necessitating purchased/borrowed ice from elsewhere) I've never been ashamed or apprehensive about serving someone a cocktail made with that ice. Rocks drinks can't be lingered over as long, true, but if you adapt your technique to the limitations that shell ice presents I don't think it really matters. I would go so far to say that in the case of 'up' drinks, kold-draft doesn't make better drinks possible, it just makes them easier. In fact in my experience, unless it is extremely warm (which it often is in this part of the world, from roughly late March through early December) once your ice has sat in the bin a lot of it will dry off and harden up somewhat. On that same note, choosing ice from different locations in the bin can affect your quality to a critical degree.

Of course I would still like to have Kold-Draft, but that just isn't going to happen for me where I work right now.
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#6 Shalmanese

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 03:28 PM

Shalmanese is not entirely correct in his thinking about warm ice. The reality is that, even with freezer-cold ice, the vast majority of chilling is achieved by melting. This is because the energy required for phase change is far, far larger than the energy required for simple warming of the ice. So, for example, the energy required to take a piece of frozen water from -1C to 1C is way more energy than what is required to take a piece of frozen water from -3C to -1C. Most of his other suggestions (using higher proof booze, somehow spinning the water off of the ice before use, etc.) seem either impractical or uneconomic, and unlikely to be employed in a real-world bar environment. Chilling glasses is always a good idea. All they would have to do is keep a bunch of glasses on the back bar filled with ice.


It's true that the latent heat of fusion for water is much greater than the specific heat capacity but, when chilling drinks, energy comes selectively from specific heat first so the effects can be significant. Assume you are chilling 100 mL of 50% ethanol solution (specific heat: 3.3J/g/C) from 25C to -5C. This takes 30*100*3.3 = 10kJ of energy. If you take the assumption that all ice will come to temp before any ice melts, 300g of -10C ice (specific heat: 2J/g/C), is going to contribute 10*300*2 = 6kJ from heating up the ice and 4kJ/0.333kJ/g = 12mL of water melting or 12% dilution. 300g of 0C ice will contribute 10kJ/0.333kJ/g or 30mL of water melting or 30% dilution. The difference between 12% and 30% dilution in the final drink will be quite significant.

Now, granted, the assumption that no ice will melt until it all comes to 0C is not a realistic one but it demonstrates how the relatively weak effect of specific heat can dominate over the strong effect of latent heat.

As to shaking off surface water being impractical, I don't see why it has to be. If you modified one of those wire strainer baskets like they have in noodle shops to scoop the ice, it would be a quick 3 second shake to get the bulk of the surface water off.

Another idea that occurred to me in the shower just now was that you could add in something that would contribute chilling without dilution. My first thought was to get some stainless steel ball bearings and mix it in with the ice at the start of service. The ice will cool down the ball bearings to 0C which will help chill the drink without contributing additional moisture. On further reflection, perhaps some kind of plastic would be better from a logistics point of view. It might be an approach worth exploring.
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#7 Kohai

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 09:22 AM

On a somewhat related note, I would be curious to know how people here gauge ice meltage when they are shaking a drink. What metrics are useful? Sound? Feel? Time and experience?

I've been thinking about what has been posted elsewhere here about the inherent inaccuracy of freepouring. It occurs to me that, similarly, for a bartender to (a.) know the exact optimal amount of dilution for each particular cocktail, (b.) adjust for all variables such as wet/dry/very cold ice, chilled liquids, room temperature and (c.) perfectly gauge when the mix in the shaker has reached that point, by whatever metric... well, that seems difficult, to say the least.

Anyway, I'd be curious to know how others do't.

ETA:
"Kold Draft is not a substitute for technique."
Agreed. On the other hand, can technique be a substitute for KD? If Flatiron could do it without KD, is KD all that necessary? Are bars with KD just slowing themselves down because they have to shake longer? Just wondering aloud.

Edited by Kohai, 03 February 2010 - 09:27 AM.

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#8 slkinsey

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 10:11 AM

ETA:
"Kold Draft is not a substitute for technique."
Agreed. On the other hand, can technique be a substitute for KD? If Flatiron could do it without KD, is KD all that necessary? Are bars with KD just slowing themselves down because they have to shake longer? Just wondering aloud.

I should hasten to mention that quality and consistency certainly went up at FL after they brought in the K-D machine. I just wanted to point out that it is possible to make very good cocktails even with crap ice.
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#9 Kohai

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 10:49 AM

Noted.

Elsewhere, I read with great interest your thoughts on freepouring, Sam. Do you have any thoughts on the difficulties of controlling dilution by "feel"?
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#10 slkinsey

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 10:56 AM

I don't know that you have to control dilution by feel. At a bar you should be able to work with consistent ingredients and equipment. These are the shakers you have. This is the booze you're working with. This is the ice you're working with. Ambient temperature should be fairly stable. Etc.

So, at some point, you figure out that if you fill the shaker up so far with ice and give it so many shakes, you will reach the amount of dilution you want. Once you have that figured, it should be a simple matter of training in consistency of technique.
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#11 Kohai

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 12:00 PM

Hmmm... I guess it seems a bit more complicated than that, to me. I feel like there are variables that aren't so constant.

As someone observed above, ice from different parts of the well (center, edges, top, bottom, etc) is different. Even bars that top off the ice well every thirty minutes probably see slight changes in the character of that ice within that half-hour, and a lot of bars don't do this in the first place.

If using several chilled ingredients (vermouth, juices) those will have a slight impact on the starting temperature of the mix.

And just as there are factors that influence time perception, couldn't there be factors that influence the consistency of a bartender's technique? A bartender will probably shake with a different strength at the beginning of the night than at the end, for example. This could result in different amounts of ice breakage, thus more surface area, thus more dilution. It seems like the same argument could be made for speed of shake. Bartenders simply will not be using the exact same shaking style throughout the course of a night.

Now, I'll grant you, the variables above could be pretty small, if they even exist at all. But it seems to me that, as much as anything else, controlling water dilution is pretty crucial and even a few percentage points one way or another could mean the difference between a good drink and a great one.

Or maybe everything I just wrote is crap. I'm still thinking this one through.
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#12 Shalmanese

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 01:53 PM

One way to control dilution is to severely under-dilute and know how much went into the shaker and how much should be coming out of the shaker and then topping the rest off with chilled water.
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#13 slkinsey

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 02:20 PM

Kohai, I don't disagree that there is an importance to nailing proper dilution. I just disagree as to whether these things can be predictable given reasonable consistent equipment, materials and technique. After all, we seem to agree that skilled bartenders are, in fact, able to nail proper dilution with reasonable accuracy. So let's ask our good friend William of Occam which seems more likely: That bartenders are able to "feel" the difference between when a cocktail hits 30% ABV and when it hits 28% ABV? Or that they have learned through experience with the equipment and ingredients to shake the drink for a certain amount of time.

Yes, of course the ice from different areas of the bin may be a bit different. And the shake may not be the same at the end of the shift as it is at the beginning. The question is whether or not these variables are significant enough to be important. My guess is that they're not. This is a bit like our earlier discussion of freepouring. In plenty of contexts, freepouring's margin of error isn't large enough to be important. If you're making Sidecars and Gimlets, for example, these are drinks that don't require pinpoint accuracy to balance properly.

The "proof" of this with respect to ice would seem to be the fact that bartenders need to get used to the ice and equipment in a new bar before they can reliable nail dilution. For example, a bartender coming from Dutch Kills, where they shake with single fist-sized lumps of block ice that are stored in the freezer, won't be able to step into a bar that shakes with wet shell ice and nail the proper dilution with the same level of accuracy until he works with it for a bit and figures out how it behaves.
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#14 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 02:31 PM

Experience in the environment is indeed key. I would be hard pressed to explain it in writing, but there is a level of melt I am looking for in the mixing glass (when stirring) that tells me with some reliability that I have hit appropriate dilution. If my ice changed size or shape I would have to relearn this (it is, indeed, subtly different at home than at work).

I think most "cocktailian" bartenders would actually say that they can "feel" dilution but I think this is really just shorthand for a series of subliminal cues that are taken together when making a drink that signal that the dilution (among other factors) is good.
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#15 Chris Amirault

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 02:47 PM

Shalmanese, I don't understand this:

One way to control dilution is to severely under-dilute and know how much went into the shaker and how much should be coming out of the shaker and then topping the rest off with chilled water.


Are you saying that the drinks should have water added after shaking and straining? That defeats the point of shaking, of course, so I'm confused.

Andy, I agree about the subliminal cues, and wonder if you couldn't make them conscious. I'd bet that most people contributing to this discussion know what a Boston shaker sounds like with six rock-hard 2" cubes in it and what it sounds like with a small handful of wet ice. I'm at an airport bar right now and, believe me, you'd recognize that "Slsh slsh slsh" right away....
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#16 feste

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 01:47 AM

Shalmanese, I don't understand this:


One way to control dilution is to severely under-dilute and know how much went into the shaker and how much should be coming out of the shaker and then topping the rest off with chilled water.


Are you saying that the drinks should have water added after shaking and straining? That defeats the point of shaking, of course, so I'm confused.


The acknowledgment here is that water is one of the ingredients of a properly made cocktail. It's the difference between, say, stirring 1/2 oz vermouth and 2 oz gin over large ice, resulting in a 3-1/2 to 4 oz martini (depending on taste and technique), of which the balance is water, and pouring 1/2 oz refrigerated vermouth and 2 oz gin from the freezer into an up glass, resulting in a 2-1/2 oz cocktail. It's not a bad drink, it's just not a martini. Adding ice-cold water after the fact makes it a martini, although the technique leaves something to be desired, style-wise.
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#17 EvergreenDan

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 08:21 AM

... So, for example, pack the shaker with ice and get used to shaking for only a short period of time. For some drinks, literally only 6 vigorous shakes, and then quickly into the glass. ...


It would seem from your observation about volume to surface area that packing the shaker with 0*C wet ice would dramatically increase the amount of water clinging to the surface and increase dilution for a given final drink temperature. To bring the ingredients from 20*C to (say) 3*C takes the same mass of 0*C ice melting whether there is barely enough ice or tons of ice, and therefore the same amount of water added from melting alone.

It would seem to me that the best technique to minimize excess dilution from wet ice would be to use the minimum amount of wet ice needed to cool the drink the desired temperature, and shake for longer. Pre-chilling the equipment with wet ice and discarding it would also help, but that's independent. Drying the equipment (shaker, strainer, ice-chilled glass) would also help, but may be impractical.

Assume you are chilling 100 mL of 50% ethanol solution (specific heat: 3.3J/g/C) from 25C to -5C. ... 300g of 0C ice will contribute 10kJ/0.333kJ/g or 30mL of water melting or 30% dilution.


I think you have a trivial error in the example here because 0C ice cannot chill the drink to -5C, and the mass of cold ice in your example can't either (although more or colder ice could). However your example would be just as valid with the starting temps of 30C (man it's hot in here) to 0C.

Needing to chill less (say 20C from 20C to 0C) proportionately cuts the dilution from wet ice melting. In your cold ice example, a 20C temperature change nearly eliminates dilution (except of course for the substantial melting that happens due to non-instantaneous heat flow in the ice itself).

OTOH, this small error points out what may be obvious: you simply cannot chill a drink to less than 0C with wet ice. If you like sub-zero drinks (with little dilution), you simply cannot make them with 0*C ice, no matter what the technique. The simple solution is to not like those drinks. :)

Alas, I do. At home, I have a preference for certain drinks unconventionally strong. I like Absinthe and single malt neat, with no water or ice, for example. And a high proof Martini with gin from the -9F (-22C) freezer and vermouth from the 40F fridge is a bracing, syrupy affair. Of course I don't expect this at a bar. And, yes, I've been told that the gin turns to mush in the freezer and my palette to stone with such strong cold drinks.

Other cocktails made with room temperature ingredients come out stronger at home using very cold ice than they would in a bar. I happen to like them that way, and I can add a bit of water for any guests who don't or situations where the drink is too strong. Saying that the water is a vital ingredient of a cocktail when the bartender has no choice but to make it with that much water is kind of like saying humans saying they prefer to walk rather than fly.
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#18 KD1191

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 09:20 AM

Assume you are chilling 100 mL of 50% ethanol solution (specific heat: 3.3J/g/C) from 25C to -5C. ... 300g of 0C ice will contribute 10kJ/0.333kJ/g or 30mL of water melting or 30% dilution.


I think you have a trivial error in the example here because 0C ice cannot chill the drink to -5C


Take a look here.

I'm not going to pretend to understand half of what's been written above, but 0C ice can certainly take drinks to -5C.
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#19 Blether

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 09:49 AM

I'm not going to pretend to understand half of what's been written above, but 0C ice can certainly take drinks to -5C.


I question that. Just because the thermometer reads 0C, doesn't mean the internal temperature of each ice cube is 0C (if it was, all the ice would very quickly turn to water in an ordinary room). The drink gets to -5C because the ice is colder than that. Enthalpy schmenthalpy.

#20 slkinsey

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 10:10 AM

. . . 0C ice cannot chill the drink to -5C . . .

This is incorrect on the science, but also has been disproven experimentally by the guys at the Cooking Issues blog. For their experiments, they tempered ice in a calibrated freezer so that the entire cube of ice was at 0C. They were easily able to shake cocktails down to -10C with between 20 and 25 seconds of shaking.

See: http://cookingissues...nce-of-shaking/

and

http://cookingissues...-of-shaking-ii/

Edited by slkinsey, 04 February 2010 - 10:18 AM.

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#21 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 10:38 AM


I'm not going to pretend to understand half of what's been written above, but 0C ice can certainly take drinks to -5C.


I question that. Just because the thermometer reads 0C, doesn't mean the internal temperature of each ice cube is 0C (if it was, all the ice would very quickly turn to water in an ordinary room). The drink gets to -5C because the ice is colder than that. Enthalpy schmenthalpy.




. . . 0C ice cannot chill the drink to -5C . . .

This is incorrect on the science, but also has been disproven experimentally by the guys at the Cooking Issues blog. For their experiments, they tempered ice in a calibrated freezer so that the entire cube of ice was at 0C. They were easily able to shake cocktails down to -10C with between 20 and 25 seconds of shaking.

See: http://cookingissues...nce-of-shaking/

and

http://cookingissues...-of-shaking-ii/


Regardless of the reasons, isn't it heartening to know that cold drinks can be made with inferior ice? As I said above, technique wins.
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#22 KD1191

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 11:06 AM


I'm not going to pretend to understand half of what's been written above, but 0C ice can certainly take drinks to -5C.


I question that. Just because the thermometer reads 0C, doesn't mean the internal temperature of each ice cube is 0C (if it was, all the ice would very quickly turn to water in an ordinary room). The drink gets to -5C because the ice is colder than that. Enthalpy schmenthalpy.


Someone raises the same point in the comments on that post, and the author debunks it.

To be sure, when we were doing shaking experiments, we equilibrated all our ice in a holding cabinet set at 0 degrees for a couple of hours.


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#23 Chris Amirault

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 11:51 AM


Shalmanese, I don't understand this:


One way to control dilution is to severely under-dilute and know how much went into the shaker and how much should be coming out of the shaker and then topping the rest off with chilled water.


Are you saying that the drinks should have water added after shaking and straining? That defeats the point of shaking, of course, so I'm confused.


The acknowledgment here is that water is one of the ingredients of a properly made cocktail.


No one here, I'm pretty sure, is laboring under the illusion that properly made cocktails lack water. But, to your point, Shalmanese isn't stipulating that which need not be stipulated. He's suggesting "topping...off" drinks with water after they've been strained, which makes no sense to me at all.

I can't imagine he means literally "topping it off," but I can't figure out what it does mean. Do you stir the water in the glass, or strain it into another mixing glass and then pour it? Temperature is hard to figure out too: I like my drinks around 27-29F, and that means any water is going to warm up the drink. So, under-dilute and chill with supercold ice, shake/stir, strain into another mixing glass, add water, stir, strain again... I don't get it.

It's not a bad drink, it's just not a martini. Adding ice-cold water after the fact makes it a martini, although the technique leaves something to be desired, style-wise.


We are in agreement that it leaves something to be desired!
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#24 Chris Amirault

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 11:56 AM

So does anyone want to take a crack at a list of workable, real-world strategies?

Shake your 0C ice hard, one drink at a time, in a capacious Boston shaker to get that energy release and temperature drop?

Store your 0C ice in a perforated hotel pan over another pan, to keep it as dry as possible?

Or...?
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#25 EvergreenDan

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 12:24 PM

Retraction: I totally stand corrected on the science. Shame on me -- I actually took thermodynamics ... over 3 decades ago. :(

That said, I still like some drinks made very cold with low-dilution, and these are easily made at home using very cold ice.
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#26 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 01:38 PM

So does anyone want to take a crack at a list of workable, real-world strategies?

Shake your 0C ice hard, one drink at a time, in a capacious Boston shaker to get that energy release and temperature drop?

Store your 0C ice in a perforated hotel pan over another pan, to keep it as dry as possible?

Or...?


A normal ice bin that would be used in a bar or restaraunt should be draining water off the whole time, indeed I think this is a health code requirement.

I think that chilling glasses is a must for all 'up' drinks, using as much ice as possible (which usually means making drinks one at a time) and lots of practice and tasting drinks along the way while acclimating yourself to the conditions to produce proper dilution are all good things to do when working with inferior ice. Higher proof spirits and more concentrated (ie, 2:1) syrups can both tolerate dilution better as well and can be a help when applicable.

Hmmm...there was something else I was going to add here but I lost it.
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#27 Shalmanese

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 03:03 PM

No one here, I'm pretty sure, is laboring under the illusion that properly made cocktails lack water. But, to your point, Shalmanese isn't stipulating that which need not be stipulated. He's suggesting "topping...off" drinks with water after they've been strained, which makes no sense to me at all.

I can't imagine he means literally "topping it off," but I can't figure out what it does mean. Do you stir the water in the glass, or strain it into another mixing glass and then pour it? Temperature is hard to figure out too: I like my drinks around 27-29F, and that means any water is going to warm up the drink. So, under-dilute and chill with supercold ice, shake/stir, strain into another mixing glass, add water, stir, strain again... I don't get it.

It's not a bad drink, it's just not a martini. Adding ice-cold water after the fact makes it a martini, although the technique leaves something to be desired, style-wise.


We are in agreement that it leaves something to be desired!


I mean literally topping off. Make an underdiluted drink, pour into a glass where you know what the right level is, add just enough chilled water and stir. You don't need to reshake and strain, a quick stir with a swizzle should be enough to incorporate the water. It shouldn't affect the temperature overly much since it's only a tiny amount of water.

All of this is leading up to a much larger rant about how poor a technique shaking is for making a good cocktail. Sure, good training can make up for poor technique but it seems unnecessary to have to continue to deal with the inherent imprecision of shaking unless you absolutely have to.
PS: I am a guy.

#28 Kohai

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 10:50 PM

As regards real-world solutions... After I measure ingredients into a shaker tin (without ice), I push the tin into the ice well, spin it, and leave it on the ice for at least 30 seconds (while I prep a garnish, sugar a rim, or prepare another drink on the ticket, for example). The hope is that doing this will lower the temperature of the metal and prechill the liquid inside without dilution. Then I add ice and stir or shake. I'm not sure if this makes much of a difference, however.
Pip Hanson | Marvel Bar

#29 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 11:19 PM

I mean literally topping off. Make an underdiluted drink, pour into a glass where you know what the right level is, add just enough chilled water and stir. You don't need to reshake and strain, a quick stir with a swizzle should be enough to incorporate the water. It shouldn't affect the temperature overly much since it's only a tiny amount of water.


I can't say what about this confuses others but for my own part I'm missing the advantage to doing this over just making the drink properly to begin with. If you can measure dilution with such precision that you would know the exact amount of water still required by the drink to come to full volume then certainly you can just stir or shake the drink until the ice has provided this water without adding an additional (and seemingly cumbersome) step.
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#30 Kohai

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 11:30 PM

Right, the logical conclusion to this method would be to just not shake at all: keep the liquor in the freezer and measure everything directly into a chilled glass, then add the appropriate amount of water.

To be honest, I'm surprised that no one has tried this yet (that I've heard of) since I think it's occurred to everyone at some point or another. It seems like something the molecular mixology movement might love.
Pip Hanson | Marvel Bar