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06
August
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I often make these up in a cocktail glass, but...Almost all cocktails and mixed drinks share a common ingredient: ice! It is the simplest ingredient that deserves much more attention seeing as it is the most overlooked. Ice not only chills a drink but also creates texture, depending on the cocktail you are making.

There are different types of ice used in making drinks: cubes, cracked, crushed, shaved, and recently popular ball ice. Each form is specific to the cocktail it is put in:

Ice Cubes

Cubes are a standard form of ice that can be used a variety of ways, including drinks on the rocks, shaking, and stirring. Because ice cubes melt slower than crushed ice, they are commonly used in mixed drinks such as whiskey and coke or a long island.

Crushed Ice

Mainly used in frozen drinks, crushed ice creates a slush-like texture in cocktails. It is used more often in blended beverages because it provides a more even consistency than cubes. You will find crushed ice in cocktails such as a frozen margarita or mint juleps.

Cracked Ice

Cracked ice is the happy medium between cubes and crushed. Used mainly in stirred drinks, cracked ice dilutes quicker than cubes but makes it easier to stir your tasty beverage.

Shaved Ice

Shaved ice is a fine ice that, when used in a shaker, produces a thick-textured cocktail. Adult snow cones are also a fun beverage to make, pouring spirits, such as amaretto, over condensed shaved ice.

Ball Ice

Ball ice has a large surface area and thus melts slowly. It is basically block ice that has been formed into a perfect sphere, typically used in punch bowls or in a drink “straight up” that isn’t meant to be diluted.

It is important when making ice for your cocktails that you use clean, filtered water for the best tasting drink; if you don’t, when the ice melts it can greatly affect the taste of your beverage. Another thing to keep in mind when deciding the type of ice to use is that alcohol melts ice faster than water, so even if you prefer cracked ice you may want to opt for cubed as to not over-dilute your drink.

You have plenty of summer left to get shaking, mixing, and pouring some delicious chilled cocktails! And now that you are equipped with the knowledge of ice, you can impress your friends while making them the perfect drink! Cheers!

This article is by a contributor for Serv-A-Pure, a manufacturer of water treatment systems including deionized water systems and reverse osmosis systems. 

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