July/August 2014

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 33 of 51 34 | JULY/AUGUST 2014 CLEARING UP THE CLOUDINESS ere is one inherent problem with using any type of mold— the cocktail ice will be cold, and shaped, but it won't be clear, which is an aesthetic concern for some bars. Cloudiness in ice is caused by trapped air. Since the water in the center of a sphere or cube is the last to freeze, and water expands when it freezes, the centers of ice shapes become white and cracked. As English has discovered and documented on his site, a workaround for this problem is to use the Lake Effect method, which takes advantage of the fact that water in a lake freezes from the top down. English suggests freezing water in rectangular plastic boxes placed in a cooler filled with water with the lid kept off. When the ice is ready, remove the boxes, separate them from the surrounding ice, pop the ice out of the boxes, and shave off the bottom inch or so of cloudy ice. Operators can use this method for other shapes, too, as well to simply freeze water in the cooler directly to create clear ice blocks ready for hand carving. CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK Cubes, spheres and spears are popular ice options, but these days, many bars are thinking bigger—in the form of large ice blocks that can be cut to order. e Aviary has a Clinebell machine, which produces two 250-lb. clear ice blocks in two and a half days. e machine has a cold plate at the bottom, and a water circulator near the surface, which causes the water to freeze from the bottom up. Session Kitchen also has a Clinebell machine onsite, which produces 300-lb. blocks of ice from quadruple-filtered water that's hand cut weekly by staff. Cerretani is partial to big, semi-misshapen chunks for the bar's "conversation cocktails," off-the-menu drinks that are custom created by discovering guest preferences. Sylvestre notes that the time and space needed to produce ice—whether it's hand carved or frozen in molds—as the one aspect that's overlooked. "Many don't understand what an ice program entails—you need to get or make the ice, and keep up with it." He also stresses the importance of maintaining dedicated space to keep ice, including storage behind the bar so that it's close and readily available. Bourbon Steak has three freezers used solely for ice. In particular, ice created from molds or hand carved needs some care, English says. He recommends wrapping ice in plastic wrap, and placing it in buckets in a dedicated freezer, to avoid imparting off aromas and flavors from food. READY-MADE OPTIONS Ice-making equipment can be expensive, and requires upkeep and a large footprint, while hand carving ice takes space and time. But there are other options, such as buying specialty ice from a provider. "Ice companies are popping up, which equates to minimal work for operators," Cerretani says. New York's Hundredweight Ice Company was the first to supply area bars with ice. Other outlets now serve busy bars nationwide with high-quality ice. Bartender Owen omson cofounded Washington, D.C.'s Favourite Ice Co. two years ago Ice innovations at The Aviary in Chicago include raspberry "crushed" ice balls, which have a more consistent melt and offer the ability to flavor the ice. Right, the In the Rocks cocktail, in which the drink is trapped inside a hollow ice sphere; guests break open the ice with a small slingshot-like device.

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