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


eatdrinkummm
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Looks beautiful, particularly in that barrel-sided glass. Does it cool your nose when you drain the drink? Knock you out? :blink:

If they have cracks, could you remove it from the mold and immerse it in chilled water, then drain and re-freeze (or use as-is if you want warmer ice)? I would think capillary action would fill in the cracks and make them both look more solid and prevent breaking.

Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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  • 2 months later...

Well, you can certainly use chilled spirits and simply keep on stirring or shaking until you get the dilution you want. It would just take longer. I'm going to post on this in the Japanese Techniques thread, but I think that one of the "hidden secrets" about Uyeda's work at Tender Bar in Japan is that he chills all of his spirits, vermouths, etc. -- everything but the liqueurs. So he can shake the drink longer without getting as much dilution. Uyeda's Cocktail Techniques book even has a handy chart looking at the effects of different conditions and stirring a 60ml volume of booze. Room temperature (20C) gin stirred 20 stirs with 8 pieces of (presumably 0C) ice resulted in a temperature of 6.0C and a volume of 75ml (25% dilution) whereas refrigerated gin (7C) given the same treatment resulted in a temperature of 3.8C and a volume of 70ml (17% dilution). Looking at the chart, every 10 stirs seems to result in an increase of approximately 2ml of dilution. So it seems likely that the refrigerated gin sample could hit the same 25% dilution as the room temperature gin sample if it were stirred 40-50 times instead of 20, and it would be overall colder. One would assume there is a similar effect with respect to shaking.

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Right. And I keep wondering if there's something going on in the shaker/pitcher, perhaps something not fully understood chemically?, that produces better results with longer shaking/stirring time. Just as (in some cases) slowly cooking something at low heat seems to produce better results than quickly cooking something at high heat.

A guy I've mentioned before, Iguchi Noriyuki at Gaslight, keeps Boodle's in a freezer that, if memory serves me correctly, is set to about -20ºC. He gives martinis made with this Boodle's a "long stir" - stirs it about 100 times. He says it "opens up" the gin. (I can't say I noticed any "opening", really, though the martini was quite nice. Time to experiment!)

Pip Hanson | Marvel Bar

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Right. And I keep wondering if there's something going on in the shaker/pitcher, perhaps something not fully understood chemically?, that produces better results with longer shaking/stirring time. Just as (in some cases) slowly cooking something at low heat seems to produce better results than quickly cooking something at high heat.

With stirring, I'm not so sure. Or, rather, I think that starting out with chilled ingredients allows you to end up with a colder drink at the same dilution so long as you are willing to keep stirring until you hit your dilution mark. And temperature certainly does affect a lot of things, among them viscosity, mouthfeel, perceived sweetness, aroma, etc.

With shaking, it seems pretty clear what the advantages are: You get to shake it longer without overly diluting the drink. And the longer you shake the drink, the more you can aerate the liquid (and potentially also emulsify and/or froth the contents). That will certainly have a physical and chemical result on the liquid. And, of course, it should also help to make the drink colder. Also, if the liquids are already refrigerated, then one of the three primary tasks of shaking (chilling, aeration, dilution) is removed and the bartender can concentrate on the other two.

It's also true that the longer you stretch out the dilution effect, the more control over dilution the bartender has. To make a hypothetical model, if shaking with room temperature ice gives you 17% dilution at 8 seconds and 23% dilution at 12 seconds and you are shooting for 20% dilution, you have a pretty narrow windown to hit. If, on the other hand, using refrigerated liquids means that you get 17% dilution at 20 seconds, 20% dilution at 30 seconds and 23% dilution at 40 seconds, it's a lot easier to hit that 20% mark. This is part of the reasoning behind shaking with larger cubes of ice (in addition to the fact that smaller pieces of ice already bring a lot more water to the game in the form of surface water): You can shake a lot longer without watering the drink using one fist-sized chunk of ice compared to 8 Kold-Draft cubes, and certainly compared to 20 pieces of shell ice.

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  • 1 month later...

Has anyone seen the Macallan ice machine in action? Two pieces of copper on guides that join to form a spherical mold; the ice placed into it forms into a sphere within moments, we read. Pretty damned cool if it works.

Looks like a Taisin mold with Macallan stamped on it.

A little late but yep, It's just a branded Taisin and it works quite well.

It looks like the ice ball might be kinda wet after that process, which sorta negates the point of the sphere a bit. This could be remedied by refreezing it and storing for later I guess.

All the molds are going to leave the sphere pretty wet. We mold them and then throw them in the freezer to get the surface temp back down. The nice thing about the Taisin is with good ice the balls are clear like this

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  • 3 weeks later...

When I was in Portland OR, everyone strained their shaken drinks because, they said, "their ice was bad." Now that I've moved from Providence to the suburbs, my ice is bad, too: instead of solid chunks that hold together well while shaking, I get much larger percentage of shards.

The only change has been water; everything else (freezer, trays, methods) remains the same. So what sort of water makes for solid ice? Given my problem, what is a workable solution? Filter or bottled water for ice?

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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The ice crystals are going to form differently depending on what else is in there with the water: if you are getting lots of shard formation i would guess that you have more particulate matter in your water that is seeding the crystal formation, so instead of a cube being more or less one big ice crystal (the ideal case), you have lots of tiny crystals held together relatively weakly. I would think that filtering your water would resolve this issue pretty easily.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Thanks. From reading around, I've learned that there's apparently a lot of stress fractures that are caused when that last 10-20% of water freezes: cubes run out of room as they expand and... crack.

Experiments to follow.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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What do you know about your municipal water? Is it hard or soft? How much is it chlorinated?

I got an under-sink filter for our kitchen that includes a 0.5 micron ceramic sediment filter (not only things like rust and dirt particles, but also most bacterial cysts, etc.) and a massive charcoal filter. Makes a huge difference, even in NYC water which is supposed to be as good as it gets. If you have a lot of dissolved minerals, of course, this won't help. But you might be surprised how many particulates there are in your water. Whenever I clean the ceramic filter I'm amazed at how much it has caught (mostly rust).

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Honestly, i use polland spring at home. Tried both normal and distilled and coulnd't detect a difference in clarity so i am sticking to normal.

There are for sure additives in my water and giving that most cocktails are dilluted quite a bit i rather spend the 2$ a month if at all on bottled.

For larger quantites i'd rethink this but i use like 3 or 4 cubes per drink so it doesn't really matter.

Not a big fan of tap water to be honest, i drank accidently twice conterminated water in the last few years since i didn't get the message quick enough about water main breaks.

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Oh shit. Now I need to buy some of these too. God knows I love my 1" Tovolo molds.

http://www.amazon.com/Tovolo-King-Cube-Silicone-Tray/dp/B00395FHRO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1279673000&sr=8-2

Barkeeper in Silverlake has them. I don't remember what they're selling them for so I can't say how their price compares to Amazon, but since you're in LA as well, I'd be remiss if I didn't give you the opportunity for instant satisfaction.

"Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other." - W. Somerset Maugham

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  • 2 weeks later...

What do you know about your municipal water? Is it hard or soft? How much is it chlorinated?

I just got the call back from the water testing guy. Ph is 7 ("normal"), and it's hard, with iron, calcium, magnesium, and maganese in it at safe levels.

By the by, I am hoping that Dave Arnold of FCI's cookingissues.com can weigh in on the matter, given that he's just given a (by all accounts excellent) Tales workshop on the stirring. Read more here -- and an update is on the way.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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  • 2 weeks later...

Awesome post up on Alcademics.com showing Andrew Bohrer breaking down ice from 300 lb blocks to hand-finished spheres. Chainsaws, band saws, hand-carving spheres, cubes for stirring, shaved ice for frappes; it's all there, folks. I'm left wondering what qualities one wants in a knife for that sort of work. Any thoughts?

eta: I would be amiss not to give out credit where credit is due: that's actually Erik Ellestad in the videos doing his best George W. Bush impersonation :cool:. Heckuva job, Erik!

Edited by vice (log)

 

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I had to take off my tie, ties and chainsaws just don't mix.

Both of the knives Andrew were using were pretty heavy, the smaller one is a Shun from their professional line, and the larger one another Japanese brand, I'd have to ask, but very heavy for its size as well. I think an extra bit of heft really helps, especially with the parts where you see him cracking the ice in his hand. I tried to do the same thing with a cheapo japanese style veggie knife and it was much less successful.

Some of the prep cooks at work do swear by bread knives for cutting ice, though, I have an irrational fear of them.

Edited by eje (log)

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Thanks, that makes sense. I use an everyday Henckels bread knife at home, but only for sawing through larger blocks. I've never tried the method Andrew was using to break down blocks into cubes, but I don't see a bread knife working that well. Like you say, something substantial is probably best, and sharpened to a not particularly acute angle. I can't imagine an 11 degree edge on hard Japanese steel lasting too long with that treatment.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

When I was in Portland OR, everyone strained their shaken drinks because, they said, "their ice was bad." Now that I've moved from Providence to the suburbs, my ice is bad, too: instead of solid chunks that hold together well while shaking, I get much larger percentage of shards.

The only change has been water; everything else (freezer, trays, methods) remains the same. So what sort of water makes for solid ice? Given my problem, what is a workable solution? Filter or bottled water for ice?

One change you might consider is switching to a smaller shaker. bostonapothecary mentioned somewhere a while back that he liked the combo of 8 and 16 oz tins from barproducts to deal with bad ice. Having given them a try, I agree. The small size is nice because you can fill up the shaker, restricting ice movement and slushification, without going through tons of ice for a few shaken drinks.

 

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One interesting tidbit I got from the Kazuo Uyeda book, was the idea that ice had a grain which must be respected when chipping blocks.

I do find that the big, clear blocks of sculpture grade ice are much more apt to break in straight lines. Much easier to carve into diamonds.

Chipping the imperfect large ice cubes I freeze in my home freezer, I find they are much more apt to go astray or shatter. Not a big deal, as I am usually using them for stirred cocktails, but interesting all the same.

I assume the same trapped gasses and expansion flaws also affect the crystal structure of the ice.

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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