Three Easy Steps to Getting Your Own Gourmet Cracked Ice
Even if you aren’t sure exactly what it is, it’s pretty easy to define cracked ice. If you had to take a wild guess, you would probably assume that it’s ice that’s cracked into small chunks. Bingo. But what’s the difference between cracked ice, and crushed ice? Surely, it must be the same thing, right?
That’s a good guess. Yes, cracked ice, and crushed ice are definitely related, but they’re still unique individuals. Both types of ice can be produced by machine, or by hand, and in much the same way. Cracked ice is made of bigger chunks of ice. Crushed ice is closer to what you would use in a snow cone.
Three Steps to Make Cracked Ice at Home
The reason it is important to know the differences in types of ice, is that their shapes, sizes, and textures, lend themselves better to certain kinds of drinks. So if you’re hosting a swanky cocktail party, you’ll want to know what cracked ice is, and how you can make it for guests. Making it can actually be fun, and all you have to do is follow these three easy steps.
1. Start With Clear Ice Cubes
If you’re already going to go to the trouble to make your own gourmet cracked ice, then you should go the extra mile, and start with crystal clear cubes. Clear ice makes such a big difference when used in specialty drinks, and signature cocktails.
Cloudy ice looks old. It looks like you filled some ice trays months ago, set them in the back of your freezer, and forgot about them. It also looks dirty. You don’t want your guests to think that you’re serving them old, impure ice do you? If they think that, they might wind up wondering about the freshness, and quality of your other drinks. They might start looking at the expiration dates on your condiments.
Okay, no one is going to go that far, but you do want your ice to look fresh. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to do. To get pure, clear ice you can use a water purifier, like a Brita, you can buy bottled water, or you can boil your existing tap water.
The cheapest and easiest option, provided you have a little time on your hands, is to boil the water before you freeze it. In fact, for the best results, you actually boil the water twice.
Simply fill a pot with water, bring the water to a boil, and then let it cool. After the water has cooled, bring it back to a boil, and let it cool just enough to handle. Pour the water into your desired trays, and let it freeze.
2. Use The Right Tray or Mold
Boiling the water will help to give you clear cubes because it will get rid of dissolved gasses that cause bubbles and impurities. Once you have the right water, you need the right tray.
If you only have standard ice trays on hand, that’s okay, but something a little fancier will give you a better ice cracking experience. That’s because the goal for the shape of the ice cracked is still to be in larger chunks. Remember, you’re not trying to crush the ice, so the bigger your cubes start out, the better.
Ice molds, like this one here, can give you large ice cubes that are perfect for cracking. They also serve a double purpose, which makes them an asset to any home bar. You can use them to make large cubes that are meant to be cracked, but then you can also use them to make the perfect cubes to accompany your fine liquor drinks. The large cubes will melt slower, and they won’t dilute the taste of your fine whiskey, or scotch.
3. Use the Right Cracking Equipment
Once you’ve got your set of clear, large cubes to work with, it’s time to get cracking. Literally. In a pinch you can always use a Ziploc bag, and a blunt instrument, but for your upscale cocktail party, you might want to put on a little show.
This requires the right ice cracking equipment. This set here features a heavy-duty canvas bag, and a stylish wooden mallet. Guests will get a kick out of watching you fill the bag with ice, and take a few whacks at it with the mallet. They might even want to try it themselves.
If there’s one thing that cracked ice proves, it’s that making cocktails is a spectator sport. Signature drinks are about more than just the expensive liquors that you use, or the brand of olives that you buy. Signature drinks are about showmanship.
Three Steps Closer to Amazing Cracked Ice Cocktails
Now that you know how to make cracked ice at home, you have an easy way to upgrade your cocktails, and impress your guests. And when they compliment your fine array of crushed ice, you can kindly let them know, that actually, it’s cracked.