Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

eatdrinkummm

The Ice Topic: Crushed, Cracked, Cubes, Balls, Alternatives

Recommended Posts

Sounds good enough for me, I want one! Looks like there are Daisos opening in the US, the largest one in the Bay Area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having suffered with the semi-circle ice problem Bleachboy mentions long enough -- does anyone else always drop at least one of these things when retrieving ice from the freezer? -- I'm on a mission to have my downstairs freezer stocked with appropriate ice for cocktails. I'm trying to find a few good cube trays around town along the lines of those above, but I'm wondering how people prepare ice for cracking. Do you just freeze a block in a loaf pan?

I'm also wondering if anyone has any definitive results on the clear ice discussion above. Photos, please, if you've got 'em.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Having suffered with the semi-circle ice problem Bleachboy mentions long enough -- does anyone else always drop at least one of these things when retrieving ice from the freezer? -- I'm on a mission to have my downstairs freezer stocked with appropriate ice for cocktails. I'm trying to find a few good cube trays around town along the lines of those above, but I'm wondering how people prepare ice for cracking. Do you just freeze a block in a loaf pan?

I'm also wondering if anyone has any definitive results on the clear ice discussion above. Photos, please, if you've got 'em.

The way most of the bars here that do block ice for service is pretty much the same. They all use 4" deep plastic hotel pans probably 6 x 12 in size. Fill each pan with hot water and place in the freezer overnight. After they freeze completely, take the pans out and let them sweat for 15 minutes on a counter. Tip over and use a mongolian fork to score and break the ice into whatever size you want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sam, if I give into my desires, drive to Sam's Club, and get one of those Ice Butlers for $1,600, the next day my entire family will do an intervention (if they don't just commit me).

No definitive reports on the clear ice question, eh? I've got an experiment going in the freezer in the meanwhile, and picked up an ice pick yesterday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
By the way, if anyone wants to know how Kold Draft machines make such high quality cubes, their special technology is explained here:  http://www.kold-draft.com/why/technology/

I was intrigued by this sentence:

As the water circulates continuously through the freezing cell, it forms ice smoothly on the cold surfaces, eliminating air and flushing away impurities.

Sam, as our resident mixological chemist, any theories on why this process eliminates air?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bubbles in ice form because, as water freezes, the dissolved air comes out of solution. Since the top part of the ice -- the air's usual route of escape -- is usually already frozen, the released air has nowhere to go. The air is trapped and freezes in place as a bubble in the ice. If, on the other hand, the water is flowing and the ice forms more or less one tiny layer at a time, the air is able to escape into the flowing water and does not freeze in place as a bubble. Thus, less air in the ice, resulting in denser ice with better clarity.

Kold-Draft, in effect, miniaturizes the moving water freezing process used to make large blocks of clear ice for ice carving, etc.


Edited by slkinsey (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't see anyone talking about another kind of ice...dry. Sure most of us think of it as a haloween gag for kids, in theme resturants like Jeckle and Hyde, and Tiki resturants. But there must be something cool to do with it.

The Cons of DI is that it gives no water content, and get's things too cold. There is a story where a bartender entered a martinin contest and stirred his martini with dry ice. He won the contest, and in celebration downed the martini, caught the olive in hiis teeth and bit down...and it was frozen solid, he chipped a molar. That wad the last time he worked with dry ice.

Anybody got any ideas on what to do with dry ice?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had an idea, which I mention in another thread, of shaking a drink as usual but including a marble-sized piece of dry ice together with the water ice. This should allow for approximately the same dilution, but should make the drink extra-cold and would hopefully result in a smoking and perhaps lightly carbonated drink. You would need to have a shaker that locked together, though, otherwise I think it would blow apart as the CO2 was liberated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting. You wouldn't need to worry about an explosion with a stirred drink. Maybe for shaken drinks you could finish off by stiring the drink with a few CO2 marbles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea. Kold Draft is awesome. Not quite sure where the figure "40% colder" comes from, as that doesn't make any sense from a thermal standpoint (is 100C "twice as hot" as 50C? or is 212F "twice as hot" as 122F?). But they're nice dense cubes with good clarity. Most of the best places are using Kold Draft.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yea.  Kold Draft is awesome.  Not quite sure where the figure "40% colder" comes from, as that doesn't make any sense from a thermal standpoint (is 100C "twice as hot" as 50C? or is 212F "twice as hot" as 122F?).  But they're nice dense cubes with good clarity.  Most of the best places are using Kold Draft.

That seemed a bit odd to me too. Maybe he meant that there's 40% more thermal capacity in a Kold-Draft 1.25"x1.25" cube than in a normal average (1" x 1" ?) ice-machine cube. Or something like that. The math doesn't work out for that particular example, but perhaps that's what's intended.

Anyway, something I've always wondered; does the Kold-Draft Ice Butler -- the only model that I could conceivably someday find an excuse to buy for home use -- produce the same 1.25x1.25 cubes as the larger models? On K-D's site, the links to their other machines all have info about the different sizes and shapes; the Ice Butler page contains no such linked information. Anyone know offhand?

Also, I've heard that there are even larger, custom screens available, but that may be an error of understanding on my part. Anyone know?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ice is a funny thing. Well actually water is a very very funny thing. It expands when frozen, instead of expanding when heated like every other element in the known universe. That might be an overstatement I ditched all my chem classes in high school. As well as my spellin classes starting way earlier.

Water freezes at 32 degrees F. But water can get much much colder. In Chicago I was getting The chunk, and shard ice down to 2 degrees below 0 F. At this stage ice sticks to your fingers. It smokes and shatters. KD ice has many good qualities. It is a good size for shakers, it is colder than regular ice (how much is a guess on anybodies guess, but numbers are allways thrown around. But once it gets into a well behind the bar that number is moot.) But the fact remains that KD ice Rocks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ice is a funny thing.  Well actually water is a very very funny thing.  It expands when frozen, instead of expanding when heated like every other element in the known universe.  That might be an overstatement I ditched all my chem classes in high school.  As well as my spellin classes starting way earlier. 

Water freezes at 32 degrees F.  But water can get much much colder.  In Chicago I was getting The chunk, and shard ice down to 2 degrees below 0 F.  At this stage ice sticks to your fingers.  It smokes and shatters.  KD ice has many good qualities.  It is a good size for shakers, it is colder than regular ice (how much is a guess on anybodies guess, but numbers are allways thrown around. But once it gets into a well behind the bar that number is moot.)  But the fact remains that KD ice Rocks!

I'm not sure there is anything special about Kold Draft cubes and temperature, except for the temperature to which the freezer is set. If you have the freezer set to -2F (-19C) then any ice inside the freezer will be at -2F.

In practical situations, bar ice is almost always considerably less cold than home ice. This is because home cocktailians take their ice directly from the freezer (typically below zero degrees F) whereas professional bartenders take their ice out of a open bin. The probable reason Toby's chunk and shard ice is colder than regular "shaking ice" is that it is stored in the freezer.

If the temperature of the shaking ice is equal, there are many things that give Kold Draft ice an advantage. Due to the way the ice is formed, it is denser than many other kinds of ice. This means that it has a larger thermal capacity compared to other ice of the same size, which equals a colder drink. Also, when you are shaking, it is advantageous to have larger pieces of ice with a smaller surface area to volume ratio because you can shake longer (again, resulting in a colder drink) without overly diluting the drink. There is a theoretical optimal size and surface area to volume ratio for chilling a shaken drink with approximately 20% dilution, but I'm not sure what that is. It's something I plan to look into in the future. Interestingly, the physics change for stirred drinks, and we would rather have smaller pieces of ice with a greater surface area to volume ration. This is why we typically use big pieces of ice for shaken drinks and smaller pieces of cracked ice for stirred drinks. The difference between using cracked and whole Kold Draft ice for stirred cocktails was clearly demonstrated by johnder and myself one evening at PDT when we prepared two sample drinks, one with whole Kold Draft cubes and one with cracked ice. After stirring to the approximate same dilution, it was obvious that the cracked ice drink was colder. On the other hand, if we had shaken the same samples, the cracked ice drink would have been watered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

gallery_48321_5270_27047.jpg

Over the summer I went to Star Trek: The Experience, in Las Vegas. At the bar/restaurant they serve these huge fishbowl drinks (full size has 10oz of alcohol, mini has 5oz). However, the most intriguing part is the smoking effect that happens, and seems like some result of using dry ice. I was wondering how it could be safely utilized in drinks like this? I remember being specifically told by the waiter NOT to touch the glass parts, only to touch the metal base that holds the glass.

I also remember the drink remained cold for a very long time, so much so that there was no dilution effect and the drink was quite strong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting. I wonder if I could just drop a chunk of dry ice into punch and keep it chilled (and smoking like a witches' brew) that way for Hallowe'en. Thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe so.

There is food grade dry ice, which should be used if it is going in drinks directly.

You can burn yourself on it, so be careful handling it and perhaps take some precautions so there is no way someone can suck down a cube.

As it doesn't melt into water, rather Carbon Dioxide gas, any drinks should be already properly diluted before adding the dry ice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Interesting. I wonder if I could just drop a chunk of dry ice into punch and keep it chilled (and smoking like a witches' brew) that way for Hallowe'en. Thoughts?

I've done this many times - it's fun and easy (and perfect for Halloween).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where can one find food grade dry ice? I've never heard of it, but it would be an excellent accent to my Halloween party punch bowl.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Where can one find food grade dry ice?  I've never heard of it, but it would be an excellent accent to my Halloween party punch bowl.

Ice cream shops are a good source for Dry Ice - I've bought it from Baskin Robbins I believe. Also some party shops sell it around Halloween for just this purpose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I have always wondered about...

In the professional bars where they are cracking ice by hand, how do you jive this with the service convention that you do not handle a customer's food (in front of them)?

Don't put your finger in the glass, use a spoon or tongs to reach for ingredients, always use a scoop to put ice in a glass.

And then you grab the ice from the bin, hold it in your hand, and crack it before dropping it in the mixing glass?

Just curious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't bartenders also handle things like citrus twists, mint sprigs, etc. by hand?

In my experience, one uses a scoop or tongs to retreive ingredients which would dirty the fingers (and which the fingers would likewise "dirty"). These tend to be garnishes in a liquid such as a brine or syrup such as olives, cocktail onions, cherries, etc. If those items are then going on to a cocktail pick, fingers are used. Other items are retrieved with the fingers. These are things like citrus halves, quarters and slices, twists, herbs of any kind, candied ginger, etc.

A scoop is used for ice because (1) it's more elegant than using the mixing glass or bare hands; (2) it's more sanitary considering the nature of wet ice and how long it is likely to stay in the ice bin; and (3) it's easier than using one's hands. Given all the other finger-handling of ingredients, I don't think hand-cracking ice is problematic. FWIW, the bartenders should technically be wearing rubber gloves for this kind of thing. On a few occasions I've seen bar staff quietly don latex gloves when a DOH guy was in the house.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are many things that we do touch such as straws with our fingers and garnish. Still, when you see a cube crushed into an open palm where the melting ice covers the whole hand and then makes it into the glass it seems a bit much. The real problem is the money handling. Other wise the bartenders hands would be pretty clean. Oh, and dont try to shake the bartenders hand. Theirs hands shouldn't resemble a subway trains guard rail. Maybe the pound if you must.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×