Break out of that (ice) mould…
Seattle has finally gone dry – no, we haven’t given up alcohol, thank goodness! – but we have just hit a whopping 41 days without rain. It even looks as though we may beat our record for the longest number of consecutive days without rain, which was set in 1951 at 51 days. Sorry Seattle, it seems I tempted fate in writing this post and as I sit here right now the sky is grey, and yes, it is raining!
This spectacular summer weather provides the perfect excuse to throw that long-awaited barbecue, garden party, or to simply sit outside with a good book and a cocktail. But all too often we focus only on the food and the drinks, neglecting one of the most important parts of summer entertaining – the ice. We simply shovel boring cubes of frozen water into our drinks, which not only looks boring, but dilutes our drink, leaving us with a very bland, watery taste in our mouth. Please, don’t sell yourself (and your guests) short – you’re worth so much more than that!
Keep your drinks chilled and super cool with my Top 10 Genius Ways to Make Cool Ice Cubes this summer…
Coffee & Milk Ice for Cold Brew Coffee and Iced Lattes:
Fed up with spending your hard earned cash on expensive Cold Brew Coffee or Iced Lattes only to end up with a watery concoction at the end of your cup? Simply freeze coffee and/or milk in an ice cube tray to produce frozen morsels of chill-ful joy that enhance the flavour of your daily brew, rather than dilute it – and give you that added shot of much needed caffeine to jump start your day.
Chocolate Ice for Milk and Iced Coffee:
Not only do these cubes look super impressive, but they also magically infuse your milk or coffee with chocolatey goodness – hurrah! Follow this quick and simple recipe to make ice that Mr Wonka would be proud of…
- 200ml Milk
- 50ml Water
- 1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 Tbsp Sugar
- 70g Dark or Milk Chocolate
Finely chop the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl, set aside. Pour the milk and water into a saucepan, then add the sugar and cocoa powder and mix to avoid lumps. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, then remove from heat. Pour the heated milk mixture over the chocolate and set aside for 5 minutes, to allow the chocolate to melt. Stir gently with a silicone spatula until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy. Allow to cool a little, then pour into a silicone ice cube tray and freeze. [Recipe courtesy of Sandra Kavital’s blog].
Slow Melting Ice for Whiskey, Scotch and Bourbon:
So you’ve finally splurged on that high end bottle of bourbon you’ve been wanting to try and now you’re faced with the ultimate dilemma. You want to enjoy it chilled “on the rocks”, but don’t want the melting ice to dilute your precious libation to a watery mess.
Suffer no more! The larger the ice cube, the slower it melts, resulting in a perfectly chilled drink, that stays cooler for longer, without watery dilution.
Silicone ice moulds are definitely better in this case, as the flexible silicone makes it easy to pop the frozen ice out of the mould. Again, Amazon stocks a great range of giant ice moulds, including Sphere, King Cube and Colossal Cube designs.
Fresh Mint Ice for Mint Juleps and Mojitos:
There is nothing more refreshing than a chilled Mint Julep or Mojito Cocktail on a hot, sunny day. Add fresh mint leaves to your ice cubes to add extra minty appeal to your beverage. Inspired? Then give my Classic Mint Julep Recipe a try.
Edible Flowers for Pretty Cocktails:
This is one of the most creative ways to make pretty ice cubes and perhaps one of the most popular “recipes” for ice cubes on Pinterest.
Simply add edible flowers to your ice mould, together with water or lemonade, to create colourful floral ice. They are the perfect cocktail accessory for girlie get-togethers and summer soirees and look so pretty you won’t want them to melt!
However, be sure to use edible flowers to avoid any potential issues.
3D Ice Shapes for Fun & Craft Cocktails:
Just because you’d rather spend your time preparing the food, doesn’t mean you have to serve uninspiring drinks. Simply employ a novelty-shaped ice mould to do all the hard work for you. Tovolo has an extensive range of fun 3D shaped moulds to suit most occasions. I love their Skulls, Tiki and Rubber Ducky shaped ice moulds – they are the perfect way to break the ice (excuse the pun!) at a party. You can find them on Amazon in most countries.
Pineapple or Coconut Milk Ice for Piña Colada:
“If you like Piña Coladas, and getting caught in the rain!”
Well, perhaps we can do without the rain, but who can ever say no to a fruity Piña Colada cocktail? To add a touch of tropical chill, simply freeze pineapple juice, coconut milk, or both, to create a totally tropical drink.
Clear Ice for Crafty Libations:
Have you ever wondered how your fave bartender creates those crystal clear ice cubes? Have you ever followed a complex process to re-create these cubes at home, only to be disappointed by the results? Well this series of Clear Ice Systems will do all of the hard work for you. They come in King Cube or Sphere designs and are available from Amazon. Simply click on the image below to see how easy they are to use…
Fruity Ice for Mocktails, Pimms & Punch:
Add a colourful, fruity twist to cocktails, mocktails and punch by freezing fruit juice or fruit cordial in your ice mould. Or, if you prefer to go au naturel, crush the fruit of your choosing – I love to do this with watermelon or blueberries – add water and freeze.
You can even freeze alternate layers of differently coloured juices to create fun rainbow effect ice. You’ll need to let each layer freeze completely (about 1 hour) before pouring on the next.
Iced Tea or Lemon Juice Ice for Iced Tea:
Last, but not least, is the classic iced tea. It’s the perfect summer beverage for tea drinkers, yet it always tastes so bland by the time you get to the bottom of the cup due to the watery residue left from the melted ice cubes – sigh!
Again, we follow the classic formula of freezing the drink, rather than water, to avoid diluting the taste. Why not add a citrus twist to your iced tea by freezing lemon juice?