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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Drinks and Food » » Smoked Ice
Smoked Ice
VampiressRN
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2006
Posts: 5726
From: Sun City Lincoln Hills (NorCal)
Posted: 2011-04-10 02:30 am   Permalink

Did a search but wasn't able to find info on this ice topic. I saw a recipe for Bloody Marys that called for smoked ice cubes, so did some research and found this article on ice.

In The Art of Cocktails, Ice Is the Secret Ingredient
By Special to MIX
By ASHLEY GARTLAND

The most overlooked ingredient behind the bar is clear, tasteless and virtually free. And no, it's not bottom-shelf vodka. It's ice, and it's an integral part of a properly made cocktail, whether you're using crushed ice in a mint julep or employing a slow-melting spherical cube to chill a spirit-heavy cocktail. It's easy to mock ice-obsessed bartenders for fixating on such a simple ingredient. But their zeal is well-placed: In addition to keeping our drinks cold, ice acts as a source of water in cocktails and can affect everything from a drink's aroma to its texture and taste.

"I firmly believe that the sign of a bartender who takes cocktails seriously is someone who thinks about water," says Daniel Shoemaker, owner of Teardrop Cocktail Lounge. "It's the most understated and the most under-thought ingredient in a cocktail, but also the most insistent."

In Shoemaker's rule book, •water must account for 20 to 25 percent of the total product in a cocktail; the best way to get there is with ice, but not just any old cube. Now that bartenders are paying close attention to every •aspect of their craft, they're learning that the size, source and even flavor of their cubes matters.

The Size
To choose the right-sized cube, bartenders need to consider how a cube will melt. Using the wrong size cube can lead to an over diluted drink ... or one that isn't diluted enough. Spirit-heavy drinks such as an Old Fashioned or Beaker & Flask's New Vieux need large cubes to chill the cocktail without watering it down. "If you're going for a drink that's heavily spirit-based and you're trying to get the taste of the spirit in, you have to consider that alcohol melts ice faster than water does -- it basically works like antifreeze," says Beaker & Flask's owner Kevin Ludwig. The general rule that boozier beverages need bigger cubes explains why we're seeing more slow-melting spherical ice and large hand-carved cubes at ingredient-focused bars.

Different rules apply to drinks laced with citrus juice, says Laurelhurst Market's bar manager Evan Zimmerman. These drinks want to be good and cold, and to be diluted more, something best •accomplished by regular cube ice. Tiki-style cocktails and concentrated drinks such as mint juleps need ice that chills a drink quickly and waters it down; crushed ice makes these cocktails instantly drinkable. Finally, drinks such as gin martinis need only a quick kiss of ice. Too much dilution would ruin the spirit's aromatics and the cocktail's velvety texture, says Zimmerman, so bartenders must stir these drinks with ice, then strain the spirits into the glass.

The Source
As interest in ice grows, bartenders are learning that their ice source can change the way imbibers respond to a drink. That's why Shoemaker sprang for a Kold-Draft; the top-tier ice machine pumps out airless, slow-melting cubes that outperform the industry standard -- called pillow ice -- thanks to their large surface area.

"There is a greater surface area on the cube itself but less surface area overall for the cocktail, and that's what you want, less surface area because that's where dilution happens," he says. "There are only eight Kold-Draft cubes •going into a cocktail being shaken versus the 50 of pillow ice that you'd need."

Teardrop's bar staff broadens their ice selection with large block ice and long, spear-shaped cubes made from double boiled, distilled water. And here's the point where bartenders disagree: Shoemaker says double boiled, distilled water makes purer cubes, while bartenders Ludwig and Zimmerman skip these steps and use regular tap water for cube making.

"All the tricks of using distilled or double-boiled water are all good and well, but the payoff for these techniques is nominal, and the only real key thing to do is use warmer •water so that it freezes slower and allows trapped oxygen and other pollutants to exit the ice as it freezes," says Zimmerman. (Spirits writer Camper English agrees: Over the course of the ice making experiments detailed on his blog alcademics.com, he found little difference between cubes made from distilled water and those made from tap water.)

Lest you think your bartender isn't already obsessing about enough, between the micro-distilled liquor and organically grown botanicals in the artisan mixers, he can now obsess over ice. Here, Evan Zimmerman, bartender at Laurelhurst Market, chisels large cubes of smoked ice from a large block, then whittles them into icy spheres with just the right surface area to soak in the top of his signature Smoke Signals cocktail.

Surprising twists
Around town, creative bartenders have come up with innovative twists on the clear, flavorless cube. Ludwig complements the pineapple syrup and aged rum in his Sal's Minion cocktail with ice cubes made from coconut water, while Zimmerman puts ice in a smoker until it melts, then re-freezes the water to make the intriguing smoked ice cubes in his Smoke Signals cocktail.

"I wanted the drink to smell smoky, but not taste smoky. By making a large cube of smoked ice, the surface area is decreased significantly, thus the ice melts more slowly," he says. "As one drinks the cocktail, more of the cube becomes exposed, giving the feel that the drink itself is becoming smokier, when in fact the aroma is the only thing that really increases."

Though Shoemaker previously made sauerkraut ice and rosemary cubes, he still prefers plain cubes to anything flavored. "If you are going to put something on flavored ice, you have to be prepared for the fact that it's going to be two separate cocktails. You aren't going to get the flavor in the beginning at all, and then it will slowly graduate and the drink will become an entirely different cocktail," he says.


Perfect Cubes
With the right tools, you can improve your ice making skills at home. Here are three ice-making options that will help you turn out superior cubes for your home bar.

"Perfect Cube" Ice Cube Trays
Flexible silicone trays won't absorb freezer odors, and they release cubes easily so the ice doesn't crack. $12.95 for two trays, surlatable.com

Spherical Ice Tray Set
Curvy cubes caught your eye? Make 2-inch diameter ice spheres a la Beaker & Flask using this mold from the Museum of Modern Art. $16 for set of two molds, momastore.org

Loaf Pans and a Pick
Keep it simple by repurposing two 16-by-4-inch loaf pans as ice molds, says Zimmerman. Freeze a couple of decent size blocks in your freezer in these, then invest in a good ice pick to start hand-carving your own cubes. Ice picks from $13.95, cocktailkingdom.com
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7312
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2011-04-10 09:53 am   Permalink

Interesting smoked ice Vamp. I'm not sure why they went to the trouble of smoking actual ice, then refreezing it. You could just put a pot of water in the smoke then freeze it when it cools. I made soup one time in an uncovered Dutch oven in the smoker, turned out really good. I think the soup benefited from the fact that I put it on the bottom rack and the juice from the ribs dripped into the soup as everything smoked. That might not work out well to have the rib juices dripping into your ice water!

Marlene, if you want I'll send you a couple bottles of smoke water to make ice out of.
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jingleheimerschmidt
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Joined: Apr 20, 2007
Posts: 339
From: santa rosa, calif.
Posted: 2011-04-11 08:39 am   Permalink

Have y'all heard of these sub $200 Japanese ice ball molds?
http://www.japantrendshop.com/ice-ball-mold-for-perfect-ice-spheres-p-244.html



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howlinowl
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Joined: Jul 20, 2008
Posts: 136
From: Port Saint Lucie, FL
Posted: 2011-04-11 10:04 am   Permalink

Jeez.....Ice. Work in the refrigeration business for a bit and you'll hear the line of bull the ice machine companies spew about the ice from their machines.

"Our ice is clear, and the ice from your freezer at home is cloudy. Our ice is superior because the machine curculates the water over a refrigerated plate, allowing the minerals and such to stay in the trough. Then it's flushed out at the end of the cycle. Ice cubes in trays are cloudy because the minerals stay in the tray."

I pointed out that the ice in the tray froze from the outside inward, causing the ice to crack up inside due to the water contracting after the walls were already frozen. The machine just freezes it in layers, so you don't have that happen to the ice in their machines. Must of hit a nerve, cause they never tried that line on me since.

howlinowl


 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7312
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2011-04-11 10:51 am   Permalink

The Japanese Baseball Ice Mold is only $2884 plus $150 shipping. Bargain!

 
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bamalamalu
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Joined: Mar 20, 2006
Posts: 564
Posted: 2011-04-11 3:04 pm   Permalink

Zoikes! We got our low-tech one for free

http://www.bourbonblog.com/blog/2010/12/22/makers-mark-ice-ball-maker-mold-bourbon-balls-gift/

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TikiHardBop
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Joined: Feb 21, 2009
Posts: 413
From: Rockledge, FL
Posted: 2011-04-12 10:27 am   Permalink

Those are essentially a "4-pack" version of the ice ball maker from MoMA.


 
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woofmutt
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Joined: Mar 26, 2002
Posts: 2601
From: Seattilite Telstar
Posted: 2011-04-12 4:07 pm   Permalink

I've been able to tell the difference between tapwater ice made in the freezer from bagged ice if the home made ice has elements of the tapwater's flavor in it (the worst of these being a slight hint of chlorine) and scents or flavors from the freezer.

What I like least about home made ice is that there's often too little of it. Although my Usual Gang of Idiots all like well iced cocktails they never seem to have more than two trays of ice on hand even though they know we're planning on making drinks. (Morons!)


Smoked ice sounds cool. (Har!) I'd guess that maybe the reason the ice is smoked then refroze is to get more smoke flavor/scent into the water. A container of water might not absorb the smoke flavor the way a stew or soup would. If I were making smoked ice for a Bloody Mary I'd just experiment with adding liquid smoke to the water the ice is made from.

I wouldn't be surprised if the main reason they smoke the ice is so they can say "We actually smoke the ice!" and then the customers go "Ooooh! Aaaah! A new pleasure! A new pleasure!"
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thePorpoise
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Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 1228
From: Tampa Bay
Posted: 2011-04-12 5:36 pm   Permalink

and why not-- everybody wants the ramma jamma.

 
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howlinowl
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Joined: Jul 20, 2008
Posts: 136
From: Port Saint Lucie, FL
Posted: 2011-04-13 12:36 am   Permalink

One other thing about ice machine ice vs. home ice. I used to own a small whirlpool ice machine. The unit would freeze a sheet of ice on the evaporator, then go into defrost, which caused the sheet to slide off on to a cutting grid of resistance wires which cut the sheet into cubes as it melted through and into the bin. It made beautiful clear cubes, put them in a glass and fill with water and you couldn't see them.....however they were hard as rocks. If I put them into my electric ice crusher, they would jam it everytime. So, I had to still use trays for ice for crushed and blender drinks. I just got over the pretty ice and sold it and use tray ice for everything now.

howlinowl

Edit: Just noticed the ice balls... Notice that the japanese unit makes clear bulbs, while the Makers Mark makes cloudy ones. Basically the same thing as the ice machine vs. tray ice. The clear balls are solid ice, while the cloudy ones are the ones that froze on the outside and the inside cracked up during freezing since the outside froze first. If you gotta have pretty ice, you gotta pay more.

[ This Message was edited by: howlinowl 2011-04-13 00:42 ]


 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7312
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2011-04-13 06:14 am   Permalink

HowlingOwl, that Japanese ball mold is just a very expensive aliminum die that you heat in water, you put a block of ice into it and it melts it into the ball shape. They supply you with a mold to make the blocks but if the ice is cloudy when it goes into the die, it will make a cloudy ball. I suspect they boil the water before they freeze the block or something. I'm sure I have tried boiling water first but can't remember if it makes clear ice.
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VampiressRN
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2006
Posts: 5726
From: Sun City Lincoln Hills (NorCal)
Posted: 2011-04-28 7:52 pm   Permalink

Yeah...I thought of liquid smoke too, but the originator of the recipe I posted only wanted the scent and not the taste. I personally think a little smokey taste in a bloody mary might be good.

 
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msteeln
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Joined: Mar 24, 2008
Posts: 281
From: Ka'a'awa, HI
Posted: 2011-05-02 2:09 pm   Permalink

Smoke Signals

2 cups pecan or hickory wood chips
Ice cubes
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
10 tablespoons whiskey
6 tablespoons amontillado Sherry
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Line heavy large pot with heavy-duty foil. Sprinkle wood chips over bottom of pot; cover. Turn exhaust fan on high. Heat pot over high heat until smoke begins to form inside pot. Fill 9 x 4 1/2 x 3-inch metal loaf pan with ice. Place in pot; cover tightly. Smoke ice until just melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Cover loaf pan tightly with plastic wrap; freeze until firm, at least 6 hours. Using ice pick, cut ice block crosswise into 4 large smoked ice chunks. Wrap tightly in plastic and keep frozen.
Bring 1 cup water and sugar to boil in medium saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add pecans; reduce heat to medium and simmer until syrup tastes like pecans, about 12 minutes. Strain; discard pecans. Cover and chill pecan syrup until cold, about 2 hours.
Place 5 tablespoons whiskey, 3 tablespoons Sherry, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons pecan syrup in cocktail shaker. Fill with plain ice cubes; cover and shake until cold. Divide mixture between 2 old-fashioned glasses. Repeat with remaining 5 tablespoons whiskey, 3 tablespoons Sherry, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3 tablespoons pecan syrup, and ice. Place 1 smoked ice chunk in each glass and serve.

I like how as the ice melts it creates a whole new drink, gotta have one before my time is up!


 
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