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January 20, 2011 1:52 PM   Subscribe

"Gourmet ice, often heavily filtered and hand-cut to guarantee the optimal amount of dilution, has officially become part of cocktail culture." That is all.
posted by Scoop (242 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Die.
Yuppie.
Scum.
posted by jonmc at 1:58 PM on January 20, 2011 [44 favorites]


"l looked down at that and I realized, it's fucking shitty ice. That's what that is. The ice is fucking up all of my cocktails. Every one of them."
posted by mhjb at 1:58 PM on January 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


Couldn't bars just switch to bigger ice cube trays and use a Brita filter to fill them?

It's a neat idea, but as a business strategy, it seems doomed.

(It's also no secret that dirty ice machines have plagued restaurants for some time, often escaping the scrutiny of the health inspector. This is an entirely separate issue.)
posted by schmod at 1:58 PM on January 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


He fills two Old Fashioned glasses with ice... and tops them with a dram of good whisky (his spirit of choice is Laphroig)

Die.
Whisky-ruining.
Laphroaig-misspelling.
Yuppie.
Scum.
posted by gurple at 1:59 PM on January 20, 2011 [70 favorites]


Yeah this is kinda why we have always had different types of ice, crushed, cubes etc, and nasty tasting ice does indeed taste nasty. Every time I see a bartender filling a glass with ice from a huge trough that has bottles of beer and liquor buried in it I wince. As much as I think "mixology" is goofy (you won't make me a Tom Collins why ?). It is undoubtedly a good thing if it stops bars from serving me drinks in glasses still hot and wet (fucking wet glasses!) from the sink with ice containing bits of budwiser labels in it.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:01 PM on January 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


I read that as 'cocktail clutter,' which also works.
posted by merelyglib at 2:01 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


The water is filtered twice, using reverse osmosis, through which he says the company loses about eight ounces of water for every one ounce preserved.

Gourmet ice that wastes 7 ounces of potable water to get 1 ounce worth of water for ice? Man, the things people sacrifice to make a uppity drink.
posted by dflemingecon at 2:01 PM on January 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


Camper English has been experimenting with ice (especially clear ice) with interesting results over at his blog.
posted by casconed at 2:02 PM on January 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


The water is filtered twice, using reverse osmosis, through which he says the company loses about eight ounces of water for every one ounce preserved.

These people also hand drill the holes in their swiss cheese, right? Look, I enjoy fancypants cocktails as much as anyone, but this is only for the insufferably trendy or the pathologically fussy. Force these people to drink Joose and FourLoko out of dirty glasses, please.
posted by jonmc at 2:05 PM on January 20, 2011 [10 favorites]


I buy ice at the store because the ice I make in the refrigerator always smells skunky.
posted by electroboy at 2:07 PM on January 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Your favorite ice sucks.
posted by Legomancer at 2:07 PM on January 20, 2011 [12 favorites]


I had a cocktail with a single great big ice cube in it at Death & Company in NYC.

It was a tasty cocktail. The single big ice cube added some novelty flair. I would be saddened to learn that they threw away 7 ice cubes' worth of water for my novelty flair.
posted by gurple at 2:07 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I prefer mine on actual rocks.
posted by lucidium at 2:08 PM on January 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


I wonder when they'll get around to contacting the people that make ice for carving/decorations. That's some clear/damnfancy ice. For example, check out the second place winner here.
posted by LD Feral at 2:09 PM on January 20, 2011


My favorite drinks:

Red wine
Small batch bourbon
Irish whiskey
Rum
Absolute vodka (kept in freezer)

Amount of ice I like to touch said drinks: zero.

So I care not at all what this obsessive top notch scotch disrespecting dude does to increase the price of cocktails.
posted by bearwife at 2:10 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Your favorite ice sucks.

Aw man, Captain Phipps is going to be sad.
posted by electroboy at 2:11 PM on January 20, 2011


Plates of beans come in all varieties.
posted by notyou at 2:11 PM on January 20, 2011


Whiskey, straight up.

Done.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 2:12 PM on January 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


How many asinine items can we pull out of the following two sentences?:

Gourmet ice, often heavily filtered and hand-cut to guarantee the optimal amount of dilution, has officially become part of cocktail culture. Sasha Petraske, who in 2000 reinvigorated the New York bar scene with his speakeasy Milk & Honey, is considered by many to be the father of designer ice in the U.S.

Douchebaggery ought to be a crime, sentence being corporal punishment. Fucking yuppies GRAR!
posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:12 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


What the fuck is "cocktail culture"?
posted by Think_Long at 2:13 PM on January 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


Oh come on guys, reverse osmosis filtration is used the world over. Every starbucks I have ever been in has an RO setup.

Force these people to drink Joose and FourLoko

If you can find me a FourLoko in NYC I will drink it.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:14 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


What the fuck is "cocktail culture"?

Blame Mad Men?
posted by NationalKato at 2:18 PM on January 20, 2011


The water is filtered twice, using reverse osmosis, through which he says the company loses about eight ounces of water for every one ounce preserved.

Distill the water and be done with it. Christ this is dumb.
posted by dibblda at 2:18 PM on January 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't get all that worked up about gourmet ice when I live in a world where stuff like Puppy Tweets exists.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:18 PM on January 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, anybody who would put ice of any kind in Laphroaig is deeply, deeply disturbed.

Reminds me of an interview I heard a few years ago with a bartender who was befuddled and amused that so many of his yuppie customers were ordering ultra-premium vodka -- mixed with cranberry juice.

People just don't want to do right.
posted by steambadger at 2:18 PM on January 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't understand why everyone is trying to serve whisky COLD without dilution.
Those that know best like to dilute a tiny bit without numbing the flavor by cooling. Room temperature-ish.

I say this because they explicitly mentioned Laphroig in there. I am saddened by it.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:19 PM on January 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


so this is how the other 2% drinks...
posted by liza at 2:19 PM on January 20, 2011


These are the sorts of people our society rewards. I thought about that and I shivered a bit.

ARTISAN. FUCKING. ICE.

I'm quitting America guys.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 2:19 PM on January 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


Come on guys, the net effect of this is that someone is going to come up with a super-duper bar-quality icemaking machine that churns out clean ice that looks decent and sits well in a cocktail glass. Pretty soon, all the nice bars will have them, and the cheaper bars will show some interest so some company will make knockoffs at a fraction of the price, and it'll churn out stuff that is an improvement on dirty ice.

In other words, someday we'll be able to walk into a shitty chain bar and get knockoff luxury ice that doesn't taste like sinkwater, and we'll all be a little happier that some yuppie wanted a piece of shaved glacier.
posted by mikeh at 2:20 PM on January 20, 2011 [41 favorites]


http://puppytweet.com/


GRAHHH!H!HH!H!!H
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 2:20 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I'm going to pay top dollar for a single malt I want the ice cube to at least look like something Mel Gibson would marry.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 2:20 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


What the fuck is "cocktail culture"?
The term hipsters use to avoid admitting to their binge drinking.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:20 PM on January 20, 2011 [25 favorites]



Die.
Whisky-ruining.
Laphroaig-misspelling.
Yuppie.
Scum.


I misspelled it because he did.
And... I blame the Americans for all of this?
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:20 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


A friend in Nova Scotia ropes in bergy bits near his seaside home and then uses a core saw to make huge cubes for his malt. He says they sometimes pop, squeak and fizz as the ancient dissolved gases diffuse out.

But, y'know, the only thing I want in whisky is more whisky.
posted by scruss at 2:21 PM on January 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


The things Metafilter gets angry about...
posted by John Cohen at 2:22 PM on January 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


The water is filtered twice, using reverse osmosis, through which he says the company loses about eight ounces of water for every one ounce preserved.

Horseshit. Seriously. Horseshit. I don't care how much of an ice gourmand you think you are ... 8:1? Horseshit.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:23 PM on January 20, 2011 [10 favorites]


Good ice makes a difference.
posted by ColdChef at 2:23 PM on January 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


If you can find me a FourLoko in NYC I will drink it.

It's legal again. I had one last night on the way home.

(also, Death & Company's drinks are indeed great)
posted by jonmc at 2:23 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


...
If you can find me a FourLoko in NYC I will drink it.
...
posted by Ad hominem at 5:14 PM on January 20 [1 favorite +] [!]


I have two in my fridge. Have never tried FourLoko before. Will I die? Or will it result in babby being made?
posted by bastionofsanity at 2:24 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


FFFFUUUUUUUUU

Why can't people just eat gruel and drink any ditchwater they can find! And don't get me started on clothes! Newspapers strapped to my limbs with duct tape is good enough, I'm not sure why all the yuppie scum with their SUVs and McMansions want cloth for. I was once offered a bed, and I told the guy to fuck off, I am fine over here in the corner in this pile of rags.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:25 PM on January 20, 2011 [35 favorites]


Good ice is like having a clean glass to put your drink in. If you don't have one, no matter how good the rest of the ingredients are, you are not going to get the results you want.

They have been doing hand carved ice spheres in Japan for a while now. Some of it is show, some of it is practical (less surface area means the sphere will melt slower), and I am sure they are using some highly filtered giant blocks of ice.

I find it funny that somehow this process related to cocktails is unneccessary when one could argue that the consumption of alcohol in and of itself is unncessarry for survival. This is just another creative flare ontop of series of other creative flares created solely for enjoyment (and also a healthy margin, but that is the other aspect inherent in alcohol some would say).
posted by mrzarquon at 2:25 PM on January 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


Cocktails make people annoying. Cf. this recipe for a Martini.

However, if you have some cocktails, people seem less annoying.

It's one of those paradoxes of the natural world.
posted by chavenet at 2:25 PM on January 20, 2011 [19 favorites]


Echoing others above, the biggest issue I have with this whole enterprise is the use of a reverse osmosis system when there are superior, less wasteful alternatives, especially in water-strapped L.A. I can't think of any reason to choose that method, unless it is to promote themselves with the idiotic notion that only 1/8 of the water is "good enough" to make their ice.
posted by gimli at 2:25 PM on January 20, 2011


This is just to say

I have used all
the cubes
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for cocktails

Forgive me
they were refreshing
and made
my bath cold
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:26 PM on January 20, 2011 [33 favorites]


It's legal again. I had one last night on the way home.

Don't want it if its legal. I will stick with everclear with a few ephedrine disolved in it.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:26 PM on January 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


Drinking it on the subway is still illegal.
posted by jonmc at 2:28 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hand cut and speciality cut ice is older than the cocktail.

I, for one, am glad we are walking out of the wasteland of vodka drinks and rediscovering the rich world of cocktails again. Distilleries are opening up all around the country, just like microbrew beer sprouted up everywhere. You can now walk into a bar and have your choice of a dozen different gins, each with a unique flavor. Cocktails are getting the same treatment wine and beer have gotten and we should be really happy about this.

That said, ice is vile and their fancy-pants machine can lick the salt off my rim.
posted by munchingzombie at 2:28 PM on January 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you can think of a better way to get ice, I'd like to hear it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:29 PM on January 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


It seems to me that if the goal is to keep the drink cold with minimal dilution that it would be much simpler just to serve it in a small tumbler-sized Dewar with a single tiny ice cube rather than obsessing about making special snowflake ice cubes.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:30 PM on January 20, 2011


(also, Death & Company's drinks are indeed great)

PUNCHBOWLS!
posted by ColdChef at 2:30 PM on January 20, 2011


Ok, I am off to hand carve some ice to chill my FourLoko.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:30 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I find that the ice from the 7-11 soda fountain works fine.
posted by jonmc at 2:31 PM on January 20, 2011


I keep thick walled beer mugs in my freezer for soda/beer drinking. I'd imagine that a thick bottomed cocktail glass kept in a very cold freezer could easily chill a glass of Scotch and avoid adding any flavor or dilution.
posted by dibblda at 2:32 PM on January 20, 2011


I DON'T HAVE A LIVER YOU INSENSITI-- oh, hello.

Look, where there's a buyer, there's a seller. So, some people in Hollywood want fancy ice. What's all this "yuppie" horse shit? Didn't the 80s end 20 years ago?

There are people who will drink Colt 45 and get by.
There are people who will drink Miller Lite and get by.
There are people who will drink Grey Goose Vodka with INFUSED BERRIES and get by.
There are people who will drink Alberton's Gallon of Vodka and get by.

Etcetera... can't this be more about the lengths one will go to make ice, and not "oh fuck you I get shitfaced on moonshine?"
posted by cavalier at 2:35 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


(also, Death & Company's drinks are indeed great)

PUNCHBOWLS!


Of course, CC, on your last visit to Gotham, along with D&Co's delectable punchbowls, you had a couple tasty, if crude, cocktails at my local after work drive, remember?
posted by jonmc at 2:35 PM on January 20, 2011


The water is filtered twice, using reverse osmosis

That's utterly hilarious. Wow. I'm surprised he doesn't deionize and vacuum degass it too. Hmmm. Maybe I should call my local VC...
posted by bonehead at 2:35 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gourmet ice is douchey, but it's no more harmful to the planet than that smokey rat rod from a day or two ago. Your rage is mostly misplaced, especially since the yuppie scum would just as well make ice cubes from your anger tears.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:36 PM on January 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


You wouldn't get upset if someone claimed to have better-tasting rice or nori to be used for sushi. Because every detail counts. Why is it any different for a high-quality drink?
posted by naju at 2:37 PM on January 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Etcetera... can't this be more about the lengths one will go to make ice, and not "oh fuck you I get shitfaced on moonshine?"

Much like my father before me and his before him, I will only drink peppermint schnapps from the remains of a broken ice swan.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:38 PM on January 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


see also, filing under horseshit:

the water is then frozen in pans, where it is aged for at least 48 hours, increasing its density and making it colder and stronger

It matures in the freezer? Like a fine wine in a cellar?

Pfft.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:40 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


yuppie scum would just as well make ice cubes from your anger tears.

I can think of another bodily fluid that would suit them better.

Look, it's not liking nice things that's annoying, it's a)taking it to ridiculous extremes such as this, and b) insisting that you could only use gourmet ice and that anyone who dosen't is some kind of philistine, etc etc that gets peoples back up and now, like water before it, ice will become yet another staus/taste signifier for assholes.
posted by jonmc at 2:41 PM on January 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


The water is filtered twice, using reverse osmosis

That's utterly hilarious.


It's probably just a two-stage filter as understood via a game of telephone among non-technical people.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:43 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I use it to lower the temperature of my speaker wire, increasing its conductivity so it can deliver a truer sound when I listen to Phil Collins. Do you like Phil Collins? I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn't understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where Phil Collins' presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group's undisputed masterpiece.
posted by Hoopo at 2:44 PM on January 20, 2011 [49 favorites]


"The larger the block, the less it dilutes, but with the same amount of chill." he explains. "With smaller surface area, the booze has more contact with the ice."

This is not true. Ice does not cool things without melting; it's not possible for there to be the same amount of chill from a smaller amount of ice melting. For a given amount of chilling, there will be a given amount of melting.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:44 PM on January 20, 2011 [21 favorites]


If you're in London, I recommend Shochu Lounge. My wife and I have been going regularly for the past year or so.

They have a big block of clear ice on the bar. The bartenders carve out the ice they need for the drinks from it. The big block is itself pretty and reflective and makes a nice centerpiece for the bar. The drinks benefit from it too.
posted by vacapinta at 2:46 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


At first I read this as "Gourmet ice cream, often heavily filtered and hand-cut to guarantee the optimal amount of dilution, has officially become part of cocktail culture." and thought 1. hah, eponisterical! and then 2. what's with all the ice cream hate?

Then I realized they were talking about slowly watering down their drinks, and I knew I was still on MetaFilter.

And now I want ice cream. Gourmet or otherwise, I don't care much.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:46 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


It matures in the freezer? Like a fine wine in a cellar?

The only thing I can think that is referring to is allowing the water to off-gas. But this would have nothing to do with freezing. In fact, freezing would make it less likely to off-gas.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:49 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know what would be cool? If I were at a party with a bunch of yuppie scum and I saw someone with a drink with a big hunk of gourmet ice. They'd say, "look at my gourmet ice," but then I'd say, "you know what's even fancier? MY OWN FACE."

Then they'd look into their drink and see that my head was inside their drink, keeping it cold, my face blandly staring back at them, and then they would look up and see that my head was actually a huge ice cube, and they'd be like "what," and then they'd look up and see that they were actually a drink now, that they were now a potable liquid surrounded by glass, and then they would helplessly slosh around as they could dimly hear some asinine party guest holding the glass say to another, "look at my gourmet ice," and the cycle would repeat forever.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:50 PM on January 20, 2011 [59 favorites]


This is why they hate us.
posted by tommasz at 2:50 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I kind of like the way the ice dilutes some drinks. If a drink is supposed to have ice, then it's supposed to have ice that, you know, melts. New York City has delicious, clean water that shouldn't require lots of filtering. If you live someplace like Miami and have a lot of chlorine in the water, this might make sense. Making ice colder by lowering the freezer temp would also make the drink colder and the ice slower to melt, but then it wouldn't be freaking hipster designer ice.

That ice zealot with the blog? That's fun reading, thanks, casconed.

When I go home, I'm gonna have a beer. Allowed to properly acclimate from fridge temp to cellar/drinking temp. Later, I may have some bourbon on plain old ice, made from the waters of Sebago Lake, which is where our fantastic drinking water originates. Those of you who don't love in Maine may envy me. until you realize that it's really cold in Maine, going to snow some more, and then going to get really, really cold. Screw the ice. I'm drinking the bourbon neat. I'm cold enough.
posted by theora55 at 2:50 PM on January 20, 2011


I'd actually be interested in drinking a cocktail in which the cubes themselves have been cleverly made out of different drinks, so as they melt the flavour of the cocktail changes. THe different cubes could be different sizes & shapes, to melt & different rates & give you an ever-changing cocktail.

Of course, spirits don't freeze at normal freezer temperatures, so you'd have to make the cubes in liquid nitrogen or similar. They'll stick to your tongue & maybe rip a few shreds off it, but it would be a small price to pay for the novelty.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:52 PM on January 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


The Atlantic ran a variation on this same article in 2009 about Chicago's Violet Hour.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:54 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Chilling without dilution should be a solved problem. Can't you get yourself some liquid nitro and make 40% abv cubes of the spirit of your choice? er...on preview what UbuRoivas said.
posted by juv3nal at 2:54 PM on January 20, 2011


> ice will become yet another staus/taste signifier for assholes.

Don't worry, I am sure they will come out with more affordable ways for you to keep your asshole status.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:54 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


He fills two Old Fashioned glasses with ice... and tops them with a dram of good whisky (his spirit of choice is Laphroig)

Die.
Whisky-ruining.
Laphroaig-misspelling.
Yuppie.
Scum.


just going to brag a little bit here: I was looking at the dessert menu with the fiance in november at a restaurant we both love and she casually lets out "hmmmm....They mispelled Laphroaig in their scotch menu"

so, so proud
posted by slapshot57 at 2:56 PM on January 20, 2011 [18 favorites]


the water is then frozen in pans, where it is aged for at least 48 hours, increasing its density and making it colder and stronger

It matures in the freezer? Like a fine wine in a cellar?


Just wait until somebody starts importing 100,000 year aged ice, drilled from the purest source in remotest Antarctica.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:59 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jeez, haters, a big crystal-clear piece of ice is not a bad thing. My few experiments indicated that distilled water, as sold in the grocery for use in irons, comes out more clear than Brita-filtered water.

That cloudy part in the middle is composed of the concentrated salts in your water. If you drink while it the ice melts down, the taste gets increasingly salty. Who likes salt in their tasty drink?
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:00 PM on January 20, 2011


What the fuck is "cocktail culture"?
The term hipsters use to avoid admitting to their binge drinking.


From Wikipedia: Nerd is a term that refers to a person who avidly pursues intellectual activities, technical or scientific endeavors, esoteric knowledge, or other obscure interests, rather than engaging in more social or conventional activities.

Hand carving ice for experiments involving alcohol, fresh ingredients, and the wonder that is one's own palate? Sounds like a booze nerd. I'm a booze nerd. Actually, I'm just a nerd, but that includes food and drink as well as programming and music. Nerds are nerds. We get into shit, and we take it waaaay to seriously. In this case, some of us nerds got into ice. And what is wrong with that? DIE YUPPIE SCUM? This isn't yuppie stuff, this is for booze nerds. Yuppies want Grey Goose + Cranberry juice (barf), Hipsters want whatever is in the well + soda water (slightly less barf), and only food/drink nerds are going to care about this speciality cocktail niche.

I'm also a bartender in a dive bar that serves old fashioned cocktails and serves em right. I make my own bitters, I use all fresh ingredients, I stock esoteric alcohols... and oddly enough, I cater to a lot of different people... my regulars run the gamut from arborists to carpenters to the homeless brother of a locally famous tattoo artist. LEAST of all, yuppies. Yuppies don't like my bar; we don't carry the trendy-party-bar alcohols.

So, yes, this article is poorly written and seems trite - but the subject matter is really interesting. I'm going to get some specialty ice now and experiment with it. I can't wait. :)
posted by special agent conrad uno at 3:05 PM on January 20, 2011 [33 favorites]


Yeah, I have no idea why people here think that selling ice that doesn't change the taste of drinks and that melts slowly is something that is worthy of scorn.

Jesus.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:05 PM on January 20, 2011


Cocktails make people annoying. Cf. this recipe for a Martini.

I know. Vodka in a martini? What are you an animal?

(I know James Bond drinks a vodka martini, but he's a fictional character, therefore it's a fictional cocktail)
posted by device55 at 3:05 PM on January 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


And by "get some specialty ice" I mean make it. Cause there sure as shit ain't a 'specialty ice distributor' in Olympia Washington.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 3:08 PM on January 20, 2011


Get your fucking ice out of my fucking drink. If I wanted water, I'd drink it.
posted by Eideteker at 3:08 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


They have been doing hand carved ice spheres in Japan for a while now...

Jesus! So that's why god gave us opposable thumbs, mrzarquon!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 3:10 PM on January 20, 2011


So glad to see Alcademics get some love. That is one great cocktail blog.

The return of cocktail culture pre-dates the popularity of Mad Men. This article in Bon Appetit helped show off what Japan was doing at the time... but Milk & Honey opened in 2000. Bourbon & Branch opened in 2006. Violet Hour opened in 2007.

While the rest of America was soothing their 80's hangovers (from Kamikazes, Zimas, and Long Island Iced Teas and whatever else a TGIFriday's "flair master" could deliver) with sticky-sweet swill (thanks, Candace Bushnell) that made us overlook the bastardization of words like Martini, dedicated bartenders were quietly making their own tonics, cordials and mixers from scratch, and giving loving resurrections to classic recipes like mojitos, Manhattans, and French 75s. Ancient ingredients were dug from the back of shelves and given new life.... like bitters, sweet vermouth, Campari, creme de cassis. The stuff your grandparents drank. This has all been going on for over a decade. It's not about being a pretentious douchebag; it's about getting back to our roots.

While the designer icehole should be mocked for the sheer excess and waste he brings to the scene, it's not a new scene, to be certain. I for one am glad it's back. I'm glad that bartenders know drink histories now. I am glad that they know why I ask for a lemon twist, and why a lemon wheel would never ever be an acceptable substitute. I am glad I no longer have to order a Gibson with a huge long explanation. ("It's a Martini with onions instead of olives. Cocktail onions. Not pearl onions from the kitchen." "Sorry, can you take that back to the bar? It's a gimlet.")

And if I sound slightly defensive, it's because I have special ice trays that create perfectly square cubes, and before company comes, I do indeed fill them with purified water so that my guests don't get funky freezer ice that smells and tastes like my Chinese food leftovers. It's a taste thing, and it's an aesthetic thing.

Also, I really like cocktails, so there.

Also, what special agent conrad uno said.

posted by pineapple at 3:10 PM on January 20, 2011 [10 favorites]


Well, give ice a chance. It's certainly important in G&T, and G&T is one of the universe's great drinks (as Douglas Adams noted). It may well be an act of unspeakable horror to put it in a decent scotch - although with a so-so blend, what's the harm? - and with most cocktails its job is strictly catalytic, but for its one starring role in G&T, ice earns its right to life.

But as the important thing is that it shall not melt - the ice should be very cold, as should the gin and the tonic - it doesn't really matter whether it's clear, cloudy, made of tap water or hauled from the edge of Lake Vostok by naked geologists with tongs made from moonrock.

Over many years hard work and dauntless experiment, I have approached (I believe) the ideal quotidian G&T. Of the components, the ice is by far the least important - it comes from the tap, it freezes in the tray I got with my refrigerator, and it sits in the freezer compartment in a plastic bowl until the call comes.
posted by Devonian at 3:10 PM on January 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


So look, I'm biased. I drink fancy cocktails. I like huge solid chunks of ice. I'm not talking ice that was frozen in a vintage tin pan from the 1920s and hand-chipped by a guy with a mustache, but ice that is certainly a little more solid than that crap you find at Applebees with the holes in it that you can slip your straw through, you know what I'm sayin?

My favorite bar uses a Kold-Draft ice machine, and I think it's perfect. Big solid cubes (in the geometric sense of the word, a nice square hunk of ice) that dilutes slowly. That's all you need. All this reverse osmosis double deionizing column charcoal filtered shit is ... well, it's exactly what you think it is - dumb showoff poncery. I don't subscribe to it and I don't think anyone should.

But I can't sit here and let people snark and grar and pretend that ice doesn't matter in any way, shape, or form. Are there different quality levels of beer? Or whiskey? And do some of them go way beyond what we're willing to spend, or even tolerate the inherent snobbery that they have attached to them by "connoisseurs"? Yes. Does the existence of said snobbery level negate the perceptible value changes for the levels below? No. Same for ice.

All I'm saying is that I myself have personally sat down to two cocktails, one with Kold-Draft sitting in it, and one with regular bar ice. The difference is appreciable and able to be appreciated.

So please, grar to your little black grar-heart's content, but don't say that it can't change a drink, because it can.
posted by komara at 3:11 PM on January 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


If this catches on, I may go into the custom hand-woven toilet-paper business.
posted by jonmc at 3:12 PM on January 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


A friend in Nova Scotia ropes in bergy bits near his seaside home and then uses a core saw to make huge cubes for his malt.

Made me think of Iceberg Vodka, which is made using "pure" icebergs off the East Coast. They also bottle Iceberg Water, which would probably be a hit with these gourmet ice types.

CBC report about Iceberg Vodka (warning: scenes of icebergs getting shot)
posted by Kabanos at 3:14 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oneirodynia wrote: Ice does not cool things without melting; it's not possible for there to be the same amount of chill from a smaller amount of ice melting.

That's not necessarily true. If your ice is sitting in a pool of water then yes, the ice is at 0c, and it can only cool things by melting further. If you take your ice directly from a freezer then it's probably below 0c, and it can cool things before it melts. Big blocks of ice will take longer to warm up once out of the freezer, and so a large block is more likely to have remained below 0c. Big blocks will also take longer to cool your drink, which is probably a good thing: you don't want your drink to be too cold, and a slower rate of cooling will let your drink reach a higher equilibrium with the room temperature.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:16 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also I should add that according to the Scottish RAF boys and their two distiller friends I was drinking whiskey with until 4 am at the fiance's cousin's wedding, the only two acceptable ways to drink scotch are neat or with a big honking cube.

They will laugh at you if you put water in it (the distiller from benromach said it changes the surface tension and kills the flavor, whereas ice will simply cut the bite of lesser whiskies but maintain the flavor for the most part). Obviously greater whiskies should be left untouched.
posted by slapshot57 at 3:19 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


StickyCarpet: That cloudy part in the middle is composed of the concentrated salts in your water.

I'm pretty sure the cloudy part is gas that was forced out of solution, not salt. Unless you have really, really salty tapwater. Or you're putting sea-ice cubes in your drinks.
posted by hattifattener at 3:21 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Of course, spirits don't freeze at normal freezer temperatures, so you'd have to make the cubes in liquid nitrogen or similar.

This isn't a joke: I have made "vodka cubes," frozen with the aid of liquid nitrogen, and made a screwdriver that got stronger the more I drank—carefully, because the tongue-on-a-January-flagpole factor is indeed a concern.
posted by Zozo at 3:21 PM on January 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Also I should add that according to the Scottish RAF boys and their two distiller friends I was drinking whiskey with...

If you were drinking whiskey with them, rather than whisky, perhaps they were crypto-Irish. That would explain their attempt to sabotage your enjoyment of whisky.
posted by gurple at 3:22 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


this recipe for a Martini.

How can that be a martini? There's hardly any vermouth in it at all.

This?
The Soda enables the trace amount of Vermouth in the drink to cling to the side of the glass surrounding the pure slurry of Vodka and imparting a hint of taste with each sip.
Bullshit.

Congratulations: You've just spent 20 minutes making vodka garnished with an olive.
posted by muddgirl at 3:23 PM on January 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


But.... what sort of water do they use to clean the glasses?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:24 PM on January 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


Christ, what an icehole.
posted by Ratio at 3:24 PM on January 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


That cloudy part in the middle is composed of the concentrated salts in your water. If you drink while it the ice melts down, the taste gets increasingly salty. Who likes salt in their tasty drink?

That's not actually true. The cloudiness is from dissolved gases. The solubility of gases decreases as temperature increases, which is why you can make extremely clear ice by just boiling the water before pouring into the tray. This is also why a Brita would make it a lot worse, you are basically increasing the water surface area so that if it isn't yet saturated with gases, it will be after the Brita.

There are some salts that may cause slight cloudiness, but everywhere in the US this is usually to small an amount to actually precipitate out.
posted by roquetuen at 3:26 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you were drinking whiskey with them, rather than whisky, perhaps they were crypto-Irish. That would explain their attempt to sabotage your enjoyment of whisky.

that's it, not sharing any of the scotch I brought back
posted by slapshot57 at 3:28 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or what hattifattener said (I will preview before posting).
posted by roquetuen at 3:28 PM on January 20, 2011


which is why you can make extremely clear ice by just boiling the water before pouring into the tray

Urban legend, at least according to Alcademics. The last bit of the ice that gets frozen will always be cloudy.
posted by muddgirl at 3:29 PM on January 20, 2011


Whoops, forgot the link: Hot vs. Cold water

Here's a good round-up of everything that was tried, and what was ultimately successful.
posted by muddgirl at 3:31 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


whenever i hear the words "cocktail culture", i reach for my beer
posted by pyramid termite at 3:34 PM on January 20, 2011 [13 favorites]


There is a distinction to be made between making tasty cocktails and engaging in snooty conspicuous consumption. Cocktails for the masses, that's what I say.

(Actually, I blame Robert Hess for a lot of this nonsense.)
posted by warbaby at 3:36 PM on January 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


whenever i hear the words "cocktail culture", i reach for my beer

What kind of ice do you use in your beer?
posted by gurple at 3:37 PM on January 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


I once went to this fancy coctail bar and ordered a whiskey on the rocks. The ice was an almost perfect sphere that fit right in the center of the whiskey glass. Only the bottom had a flat surface. It was neat, and a short topic of conversation when we questioned how they had made the ice sphere.

But not worth getting excited over. If I need ice for my drinks, I crack the ice cubes from my ice cube tray in the freezer. And I don't even filter it first.
posted by zardoz at 3:40 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


What kind of ice do you use in your beer?

you, sir, are a heathen
posted by pyramid termite at 3:40 PM on January 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


this recipe for a Martini.

How can that be a martini? There's hardly any vermouth in it at all.


It's not a Martini. A Martini has Gin. The IBA says so.

Okay, so the IBA also lists a vodka martini, but let's not bullshit ourselves. There are three gin recipes to one vodka.
Also, bleu cheese in your drink? grar.

posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:41 PM on January 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


NO ICE FOR ME-- I LIKE MY LAPHROAIG BOILING HOT
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 3:48 PM on January 20, 2011 [26 favorites]


For a given amount of chilling, there will be a given amount of melting

Which is also why the cold rocks won't chill your drink nearly as much as the equivalent amount of ice. It is the phase change much more than the temperature of the ice that chills the drink.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 3:50 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Die.
Whisky-ruining.
Laphroaig-misspelling.
Yuppie.
Scum.


It's really funny to hate someone who has expensive or sensitive taste while simultaneously asserting one's own expensive taste.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:05 PM on January 20, 2011 [20 favorites]


If you take your ice directly from a freezer then it's probably below 0c, and it can cool things before it melts.

While this is technically true, the effect is small in reality. Ice at -16C warming to 0C absorbs roughly 1/10th the energy required to melt ice. So unless you add a very small amount of liquid to a large amount of ice, melting is doing most of the work for you. Also, ice is not a great heat conductor, so if you have a large block of ice, the surface will be 0C and melting while the interior is still cold.
posted by ssg at 4:05 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


What kind of ice do you use in your beer?

I WAS WATCHING AN EPISODE OF "MYSTERY DIAGNOSIS" AND THERE WAS THIS LADY ON THERE THAT HAD SOME KIND OF DISEASE WHERE SHE COULDN'T RETAIN SALT SO SHE HAD THESE REALLY BAD SALT CRAVINGS AND USED TO DRINK GLASSES OF BEER WITH SALT AND ICE CUBES AND I THOUGHT THAT WAS KIND OF WEIRD BUT YOU KNOW MAYBE IT'S PRETTY GOOD FOR ALL I KNOW
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:07 PM on January 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


ALSO ALL THIS TALK OF DRINKING IS MAKING ME AWFULLY THIRSTY AND I COULD REALLY GO FOR A NICE FROSTY GLASS OF LAPHRAEIOUG AND COKE RIGHT ABOUT NOW
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:09 PM on January 20, 2011 [21 favorites]


/Gasps for breath
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:10 PM on January 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


I like it. Not the hand-cut bullshit but the clear part though ice is best for clear Spring and Summer cocktails; a gimlet with your favorite magazine by the pool (we have a rooftop pool) or a gin and tonic or two.

For Fall and Winter the darker liquors that taste of smoke and decay are best but for fuck's sake just sip them unadulterated at room temperature rather than insult them with a diet coke and ice.

Rum is an outlier and there is another set of rules when accompanying cocktails with meals.
posted by vapidave at 4:13 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was at the Pizzeria Uno's in Porter Square one day and sat at the bar next to a guy who put salt in his beer. The guy was dressed all in black and was wearing rubber gloves. He had a fedora on, pulled low, and dark sunglasses "I don't see people do that much anymore," said the bartender.

I was like 1) YOU USED TO SERVE DRACULAS? and 2) Man, Draculas don't know how to drink beer.

True story.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:14 PM on January 20, 2011 [24 favorites]


Ice in beer is about as good as ice in soda. No problem there.

There is a distinction to be made between making tasty cocktails and engaging in snooty conspicuous consumption.

And only YOU can make that distinction!
posted by mrgrimm at 4:16 PM on January 20, 2011


I COULD REALLY GO FOR A NICE FROSTY GLASS OF LAPHRAEIOUG AND COKE RIGHT ABOUT NOW

A bourbon and coke on the rocks does sound pretty good right about now. ... I'll see you guys later ...
posted by mrgrimm at 4:17 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you chill your Islays, then all the smokiness goes away, and where's the fun in that?
posted by rtha at 4:19 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Drink in Boston makes very tasty drinks with very pretty ice in them. It's hard to separate presentation from taste, and it's hard to separate ice taste from the rest of the drink taste, but honestly, I don't care, I like the whole package.
posted by aubilenon at 4:19 PM on January 20, 2011


which is why you can make extremely clear ice by just boiling the water before pouring into the tray

What kind of a goal is that? The cloudy part of the ice is the best part. What can we do to MAXIMISE cloudiness?
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 4:26 PM on January 20, 2011


You know, for many years now, I have borne my secret shame with head hung low, always reviled and shunned by one and all when I get up the courage to reveal my twisted desires. I've tried to change - tried so very hard to deny my deep-seated feelings and turn away from the perverse in me, but it's no use. I've tried denial, just avoiding all interaction with the items that trigger my shameful desires. I've tried anonymity, going across town to indulge my cravings where no one will know me.

Well, no more. Today, I stand before you to declare:

I like ice in my fancy pants single malts.


There. I said it.

And damnit, I WILL HAVE ice in my fancy pants single malts. Even Laphroaig, (my favorite.)
You can sneer. You can scoff. You can ostracize me and you can titter behind your fans and you can fear for my immortal soul. But damnit, it's my Scotch and if I want to sully it with ice, even regular normal non-osmosified bar ice, I will. And to hell with all of youse!
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:28 PM on January 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


If you chill your Islays, then all the smokiness goes away, and where's the fun in that?

It's in the smoky surprise when it repeats on you.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:29 PM on January 20, 2011


I read that "fucking shitty ice" line and it sounded in my head in the voice of a professional-grade curmudgeon I know whose wife has taken a bunch of cocktail classes. That's just the sort of thing he'd say, and I know they've done some research into better ice (different shapes of ice cube trays and so on).

Somebody upthread said something about booze nerds or cocktail nerds, and that's what people who care about this sort of thing are. It's not my thing, but I won't be surprised if I let them make me a drink their way, I won't enjoy it a lot more than a mixed drink from our local karaoke bar.
posted by immlass at 4:29 PM on January 20, 2011


I think you can tell when someone is a pain in the ass when they tell you that you're having fun in the wrong way.
posted by cell divide at 4:38 PM on January 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


The best part of the food service industry is finding new ways to rub someones ego, all the while knowing that the person is spending an assload of cash on something that was routinely invented by a crack addict.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:42 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just wait until somebody starts importing 100,000 year aged ice, drilled from the purest source in remotest Antarctica.
And then we'll start paging CStross again.
posted by verb at 4:46 PM on January 20, 2011


It's sad to realize that part of the high price you're paying for an Islay malt is the result of demand from poseurs using it in old fashioneds. It's actually the opposite effect of people who can't take a picture buying Canon 1Ds; demand for manufactured goods can engage economies of scale and can actually drive the price down. Especially when said dumbasses sell them again later on eBay. But there's only so much proper malt made in any given year.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:48 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think you can tell when someone is a pain in the ass when they tell you that you're having fun in the wrong way.

Yeah, like all those pains in the arse who criticised that awesome diesel-fume-spewing rat rod the other day.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:50 PM on January 20, 2011


I think you can tell when someone is a pain in the ass when they tell you that you're having fun in the wrong way.

I want to be absolutely clear, since I was one of the main ass-pains up above, that I don't actually look down on anyone for drinking things in whatever way and I was just having fun with the article's pretensiousness andHOLY CRAP NO! NO! DROP IT! GET THAT [TOMATO JUICE | COKE] AWAY FROM THAT [BEER | RED WINE]!
posted by gurple at 4:55 PM on January 20, 2011


What kind of a goal is that? The cloudy part of the ice is the best part. What can we do to MAXIMISE cloudiness?

Flash freeze tonic water.
posted by dibblda at 4:57 PM on January 20, 2011


Metafilter: having fun in the wrong way
posted by Lanark at 4:57 PM on January 20, 2011


I've always spelled it "Lafrog".

Can't really understand all the whine in this thread. Yeah OK, the guy in the article comes off as a dick and his product is over the top, but to hate on the very concept of quality ice is bizarre. You like beer? Great, me too. You don't put ice in your single malt? Awesome--I was taught never to add water because whisky is "diluted enough as it is". But damn, if I'm going to pay for a top of the line cocktail (I used to recommend the Dukes Hotel bar, until they shrunk the glass without shrinking the staggering price) I would love me some proper ice. They have that shit sorted in Japan, and I don't see why it shouldn't part of a bartender's arsenal.

Pretentious but delicious? Sure. But bad ice can ruin a drink, and who can stand that?

Not I, thinks he, confidently sipping his Tahitian Tee-Hee.
posted by Chichibio at 5:04 PM on January 20, 2011


Best cocktail I've had was in Greenland: a little glass of whiskey with million-year* old ice freshly harvested from the icebergs floating near Ilulisat. I also had iceberg ice in Iceland. Lovely.

This cocktail culture icecube rage in NYC and LA? Amateurish.

*actual age may vary
posted by seawallrunner at 5:05 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


pineapple, when I can order a Gin Ricky and not have to explain what it is and how to make it "Gin and soda water and lime juice. No, more lime juice. No, not that mu... nevermind. Should have just ordered a gimlet" then I'll believe in cocktail culture.

Also, just as Orwell gave us the perfect cup of tea, Churchill gave us the perfect martini. "Shake gin in a cocktail shaker with cracked ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and look at the bottle of vermouth. Garnish with olive." Or, if you like, there's Tom Lehrer's version:
Hearts full of youth
Hearts full of truth
Six parts gin to one part vermouth

I can understand the bit about stinky ice, but that's why I wash the ice that comes out of my freezer before I throw it into anything, including just a glass of water. Just run it under the faucet for a second and melt off the outside layer.

Has anyone ever tried to use dry ice as the ice cubes in a cocktail? As long as you have adequate ventilation, I can't see a problem with this.
posted by Hactar at 5:09 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's sad to realize that part of the high price you're paying for an Islay malt is the result of demand from poseurs using it in old fashioneds.

This is doubly ridiculous. Who would use Scotch instead of bourbon in an old fashioned?

And of all the Scotch flavor profiles available, why go with a peaty, smoky one like Islay?


They will laugh at you if you put water in it (the distiller from benromach said it changes the surface tension and kills the flavor, whereas ice will simply cut the bite of lesser whiskies but maintain the flavor for the most part). Obviously greater whiskies should be left untouched.


I know many Scotch connoisseurs who insist the opposite: that water lets the nose open up and the flavor mellow, but that it's the chilling that ruins the flavor and palate. So clearly it's a YMMV thing.

USED TO DRINK GLASSES OF BEER WITH SALT AND ICE CUBES AND I THOUGHT THAT WAS KIND OF WEIRD BUT YOU KNOW MAYBE IT'S PRETTY GOOD FOR ALL I KNOW

It is good, and this is a real thing. It's called a michelada. (It will cure any hangover that ails you too, especially alongside some huevos rancheros or barbacoa tacos.)
posted by pineapple at 5:09 PM on January 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


pineapple, when I can order a Gin Ricky and not have to explain what it is and how to make it "Gin and soda water and lime juice. No, more lime juice. No, not that mu... nevermind. Should have just ordered a gimlet" then I'll believe in cocktail culture.

True dat. Come round tomorrow about 5:00 and I'll fix you up. We'll drink, and lament the fact that not enough bartenders know the classics.
posted by pineapple at 5:13 PM on January 20, 2011


The whole idea of putting frozen water in a drink is wrong. If you want a cold drink, put the ice around the drink.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:17 PM on January 20, 2011


I have been drinking for a long time, in low places and high places. Frankly, I think I may have coined Die, yuppie scum in late 1980, at Hurrah in the west 60s, I swear, in a very hyped-up conversation with Hamilton Jordan. On the other hand, I like nice ice. Why not? Nice ice sounds good to me.
posted by thinkpiece at 5:20 PM on January 20, 2011


Scotch nerds are nerds. So they argue about the minutia until they are blue in the face, because that is what nerds do.

I prefer my scotch neat, unless it is a cask strength, where the proof is around 100+ so you want to cut it a little with water so you can taste the flavors along with the booze. I've tried it both neat and with water, and cask strength with a bit of water makes it a more enjoyable experience.

My test of late is to see if my manhattan comes with a frothy top or not. It's not a baby, it's not meant to be shaken.
posted by mrzarquon at 5:20 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: lick the salt off my rim.
posted by jquinby at 5:26 PM on January 20, 2011


Has anyone ever tried to use dry ice as the ice cubes in a cocktail? As long as you have adequate ventilation, I can't see a problem with this.

You don't really want dry ice in your mouth, not to mention the possibility of splashy gas bubbles rising in your drink.
posted by ssg at 5:42 PM on January 20, 2011


Who needs ice? Just stick your six pack of scotch in the fridge for a bit.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:58 PM on January 20, 2011


What the fuck is "cocktail culture"?

The term hipsters use to avoid admitting to their binge drinking.

posted by Thorzdad at 2:20 PM on 1/20 [12 favorites]


Yeah, 'cuz hipsters are well known for drinking bougie cocktails with artisnal ice and not cheap ass shit like PBR.

Come the fuck on. At least be consistent with your strawmen.
posted by defenestration at 5:59 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Put the ice around the drink.

Or.


I stumbled on that trying to find evidence for the idea that lowering the temperature of vodka to extremes causes the alcohol to go to the top, and that this has lead to accidental alcohol poisoning (of Russian ice fishers, for example). Any physicists out there care to comment?
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 6:02 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow. I sure killed that party!
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 6:25 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The next time I have a lovely cocktail at the Violet Hour here in Chicago I will gaze upon my hand-chipped sphere or perfect cylindric tube of ice as I raise my glass and toast all the haters in this thread.

And then I shall drink my awesome, awesome cocktail and be glad I am not any of you.
posted by Windigo at 6:31 PM on January 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


yeah, 'cuz hipsters are well known for drinking bougie cocktails with artisnal ice and not cheap ass shit like PBR.

Actually, all the hipsters I know like both in equal measures. Drink your cheap PBR so you don't feel so guilty when you drop 12 bucks on a single cocktail.
posted by Windigo at 6:33 PM on January 20, 2011


I only make drinks with ice from which stranded polar bear died upon.
posted by Kloryne at 6:38 PM on January 20, 2011


Recently ate at Chez Panisse we were offered a choice of still or sparkling water.
posted by pianomover at 6:54 PM on January 20, 2011


Kloryne, that's soooooo 2007. (Unless you bought the limited edition sterling strainer from Sur La Table with the special polar-bear-hair-removal attachment? No? Mmm... pity.)
posted by pineapple at 6:54 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Right now I am enjoying a cocktail of Tang, gin and ice I chipped out of my freezer. I made it in a sterling silver shaker from Takashimaya so it has that going for it.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:10 PM on January 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ahem.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 7:37 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, wow, HumuloneRanger.

So, see you guys all back here in about 14 months for the exact same conversation?
posted by pineapple at 7:55 PM on January 20, 2011


As we approach the bankruptcy of many state budgets, as we are confronted by global warming and peak oil, as we watch our government abandon all but the rich and powerful, as we score lower and lower on tests, as our manufacturing and jobs are sent overseas, as racists drive our politics, we get....................... Gourmet ice.

Thank God.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:00 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


this thread had two good results. 1) I found an ice ball mold on ebay and 2) at the liquor store, I complained (very mildly, not nearly as bitterly as I feel about it) to the clerk that I was looking for Benedictine. She very kindly stole a bottle from a case special ordered by a snooty restaurant.

This is in Washington State where the state liquor control monopoly was organized by worshippers of Joseph Stalin. In other state liquor stores I was told that I would never see any because it was only available if I bought it by the case, the corrupt thieving bastards.

My last bottle of Benedictine lasted four years because I only use it for Straights Slings (a slightly fancied up Singapore Sling with Benedictine and cherry brandy added.) Lovely on a hot day.

I liked watching the video of the fellow chipping the ice ball. I have to wonder what that drink cost since he was at it for at least five minutes.

And I have made clear ice cubes by using boiled water. It helps if you pre-chill in refrigerator before moving to the freezer. It usually works and when it doesn't I don't know why.
posted by warbaby at 8:21 PM on January 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


SURE. We love booze. We love talkin' 'bout booze, and we love drinkin' booze. And we love arguin' about booze, because a) this is Metafilter and b) seriously who puts Laphroaig in an Old Fashioned WHO. DOES. THAT.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:24 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bad people.
posted by enn at 8:25 PM on January 20, 2011


Yeah, it's best reserved for a Rusty Nail.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:36 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


warbaby- if it makes your exile to northern washington state any better, you can hop over the border to Vancouver in March, and get your cocktail nerd on in style.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:03 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The water is filtered twice, using reverse osmosis, through which he says the company loses about eight ounces of water for every one ounce preserved. Once purified, the water is then frozen, where it is aged for at least 48 hours, increasing its density and making it colder and stronger."

Woo alert!

Almost right up there with magnetic bracelets and air ionizers.
posted by Sallysings at 9:04 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


As we approach the bankruptcy of many state budgets, as we are confronted by global warming and peak oil, as we watch our government abandon all but the rich and powerful, as we score lower and lower on tests, as our manufacturing and jobs are sent overseas, as racists drive our politics, we get....................... Gourmet ice.

We got to this state while using regular old ice. It's pretty clear that while probably not the cause, shitty ice is part and parcel of the malaise that has descended upon our nation. If we are to take pride in anything, in our families, in our nation, we must be able to take pride in that most humble symbol of civilization, ice. A society is measured by the quality of it's ice, and a society with no great ice, cannot, and should not stand.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:14 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Case in point: here's how ice is delivered to businesses in India.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:22 PM on January 20, 2011


okay so I don't mind if gourmet bartenders make gourmet cocktails with gourmet ice. I think it's kind of cool, really, more power to them. What bugs the hell out of me, though, is the smarmy-ass buzzword journalism that has sprung up on every locavore-blogosphere-organohipster-urbanfarmer-greeningthecity trend. Reputable magazines and newspapers seem to be scrambling to document every little development among a certain twee population of white urban settlers. It seems like a very misguided attempt to project a "cool" image, but it's sad, because by the time any of this stuff gets written up in, say, the Atlantic or the NY Times, it is most definitely not news anymore to anyone who actually cares about it, which paradoxically makes the journalists seem even stodgier and more out of touch. And it's all delivered in this smug, "this is what those kids in Brooklyn are doing!" tone. Like quoting the bartender's gratuitous f-bombs. Give me a break, you're not edgy, you write for the goddamn Atlantic. It's embarrassing.

phew. had to get that off my chest.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 9:34 PM on January 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


I know a few people mentioned it, but it bears repeating. Losing eight ounces of potable water for every ounce you keep is ridiculous. Aren't wars being fought over water? On a more local scale, he's from Los Angeles. I know Los Angeles doesn't have water to throw around like that.
posted by aniola at 9:52 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bad people.

I was gonna say "people who wanna to act all fancy, but don't really know what they're doing" but yeah, that about covers it.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:06 PM on January 20, 2011


I only use naturally harvested organic ice like they had in the good old days.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:09 PM on January 20, 2011


While we're on the subject of ice, does anyone have an idea why icecubes occasionaly make my whiskey stink? We're talking a vile chemical stink you can feel at the back of your mouth, like something that must have leaked out of a transformer.
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:56 PM on January 20, 2011


this is a real thing. It's called a michelada.

QUIET! DON'T TELL THE HIPSTERS THESE EXIST!

I even now dread the surely impending summer when, the elderflower fad having finally permeated even the new drinks menu at Applebee's, we start seeing microbrew-cheladas with squeezed-to-order Meyer lemon juice and bar-made hot sauce and French fleur de sel around the rim. But I will probably drink them when they come, and like them better. In a merciful universe at least if it happens it'll only last as long as the caipirinha fad of 2005 or whenever that was.
posted by RogerB at 10:58 PM on January 20, 2011


I am not a cocktail nerd, only because I can't afford to be, but, I buy ice from one store for drinks, as they have the perfect clear, large, rounded edged cubes. In the winter, I can buy a bag, leave it on my porch in a cooler for a week and be good for the whole week.

I need to get a freezer by summer (our fridge top freezer is tiny) so I can have lovely ice all week. But, I pay 2.04 for a 10 pound bag of it.
posted by SuzySmith at 11:19 PM on January 20, 2011


If anyone near Philly wants a free freezer PM me, I thought it was a mini-fridge but it froze all my beer. Just carry it out I'm not helping.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:34 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


here's how ice is delivered to businesses in India.

On the delivery of ice.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:07 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is this the thread where I mention I recently discovered scotch? Until a few weeks ago, I never much appreciated it. To me, it seemed nothing more than a pricier, snootier cousin of bourbon or rye. Which it is, I suppose. But scotch never struck me as the sort of drink one could fall in love with. It was just another brown liquor, not exceptionally different from all the others.

But how could I be sure I didn't like scotch unless I tried every type? Only then could I dismiss it with certitude. With that goal in mind, I entered the local Beverages & More and announced that I needed some scotch. "Um, what kind of scotch?" asked the employee at the glass cabinet. "All kinds of scotch, please. Here is my shopping cart."

Against all odds, that poorly planned and ridiculously profligate impulse purchase has been truly rewarding. I have discovered a thing called Islay malt whisky.

From the instant I uncorked a bottle of Laphroaig, I was captivated by its intoxicating fragrance. Its scent is incredibly familiar to me, capable of evoking a great many fond memories of my childhood and adolescence. The smell is phenol, a chemical released by both burning peat and malfunctioning electronics. Its sweet aroma warms my heart and recalls the joy of building circuits.
posted by ryanrs at 12:17 AM on January 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


No good whiskey or whisky ought to have ice in it. ONE and only ONE drop of water to open the flavor. My personal preference us for NO water.

Now to discuss the državani, state liquor store to thise of you whi do not live in The Soviet of Washington, you can get slivovica, and a good brand of it, but maraskino, produced by the same company is totally unavailable. I had some in Dubrovnik, and it is the most awesome stuff.
This 'buy it by the case or fuck off!' attitude might be sensible if people are all wanting stuff that could sit on the shelves awhile, but it is MEAN.

All efforts to get rid of the Stalinist/Wahabbi državani have been totalmente a fail. The State claims they would lose money if they scrapped it, but there have been accounting errors. I wonder how they would not make MORE money letting liquor be sold more places and raking in the taxes. Well I'm just an old baba, I don't get the complicated arguments. My friends and I all voted to end the state stores, to no avail.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 12:24 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is maraskino the same as maraschino liqueur?
posted by ryanrs at 12:37 AM on January 21, 2011


How can that be a martini? There's hardly any vermouth in it at all.

That's the point isn't it? There's a bar I go to which makes my martini just the way I like it: they pour a small amount of vermouth into the shaker with ice, stir it around briefly, and then pour it away before adding the real booze.

The thing about a martini is, the flavour is so delicate and simple that a very small amount of vermouth makes a big difference to the taste. At least, that's the way I see it.

On a somewhat related note, my stomach hurts today because I drank manhattans last night. Lots of them. Mmmmmmanhattans.

posted by Ted Maul at 3:21 AM on January 21, 2011


Also I'm too hung over to close my tags.
posted by Ted Maul at 3:21 AM on January 21, 2011


Yeah, anybody who would put ice of any kind in Laphroaig is deeply, deeply disturbed.

Agree 1000%

Why bother with the good stuff if you're going to mix/chill/dilute it?

People. Bah.
posted by freakazoid at 3:35 AM on January 21, 2011


I have discovered a thing called Islay malt whisky.

Hello, my friend! Welcome to the smoky side!
posted by rtha at 5:44 AM on January 21, 2011


"The water is filtered twice, using reverse osmosis, through which he says the company loses about eight ounces of water for every one ounce preserved. Once purified, the water is then frozen, where it is aged for at least 48 hours, increasing its density and making it colder and stronger."

"We use only the finest baby frogs, dew picked and flown from Iraq, cleansed in finest quality spring water, lightly killed, and then sealed in a succulent Swiss quintuple smooth treble cream milk chocolate envelope and lovingly frosted with glucose."
posted by steambadger at 6:27 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stoli Vanil with a couple beans of Ohori's Kenya AA.

That is all.
posted by Balisong at 6:46 AM on January 21, 2011


The Iceman Cometh
posted by Trace McJoy at 6:51 AM on January 21, 2011


That's the point isn't it? There's a bar I go to which makes my martini just the way I like it: they pour a small amount of vermouth into the shaker with ice, stir it around briefly, and then pour it away before adding the real booze.

Yes, it's very popular to drink "dry martinis" nowadays - from 8 parts gin to 1 part vermouth, even with no vermouth at all, and for some reason absolutely no bitters. It's quite sad, really - imagine ordering a Manhattan, for example, with only a tiny amount of sweet vermouth, no bitters, and a thoroughly de-flavoured cherry - wouldn't that just be cold rye whiskey in a silly glass?

I wonder if it has to do with the fact that it's hard to find decent vermouth and decent bitters? But then I see these fancy recipes with fancy vermouth that still call for homeopathic levels of it.
posted by muddgirl at 7:01 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


QUIET! DON'T TELL THE HIPSTERS THESE EXIST!

This is the same reason I shall not publicly share my secret source for excellent summer party ice. It's already a thing in Texas, but we are all keeping quiet.
posted by pineapple at 7:11 AM on January 21, 2011


I saw the title of the article and thought, "Hey! Bartendergirlfriend will be interested in reading this!" Then I read the article and thought, "Good god, Bartendergirlfriend will die of rage if I let her read this article!" YIKES.
posted by honeydew at 7:18 AM on January 21, 2011


While we're on the subject of ice, does anyone have an idea why icecubes occasionaly make my whiskey stink? We're talking a vile chemical stink you can feel at the back of your mouth, like something that must have leaked out of a transformer.

Well you need to stop drinking Old Crow. All joking aside, there might be something weird in your local water.

From the instant I uncorked a bottle of Laphroaig, I was captivated by its intoxicating fragrance. Its scent is incredibly familiar to me, capable of evoking a great many fond memories of my childhood and adolescence. The smell is phenol, a chemical released by both burning peat and malfunctioning electronics. Its sweet aroma warms my heart and recalls the joy of building circuits.

Wow, the exact same thing happened to me about a month ago. After my car quit, I got fed up and decided to vary my drinking habits and get something fancy. Little did I know that I'd fall in love.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:18 AM on January 21, 2011


I read somewhere that the technical term for the taste of Islay single malts like Laphroaig is "medicinal".
posted by steambadger at 7:43 AM on January 21, 2011


So happily at home I have about 2/3rds of a bottle of Templeton Rye. The rye is quite nice. But aside from drinking it straight up I don't know quite what to do with it. Some reviews say it makes a great old-school Manhattan, since it's a rye and all, and it's a good rye, not one of the crap ones most people think of when they think rye whiskey. But I don't know how to make a Manhattan.

My neighbor is a retired bartender. He has a good collection of fixings with which he can make any number of things. I don't even know where to start. It seems kind of dumb to run out and buy everything I need to make one drink unless I can also make different things with that set of ingredients too. I keep thinking at some point the ability to whip up a few decent cocktails would be great, but there are so many out there that it's hard to know where to start. Where does a novice like me find a good, staple set of beverage recipes I can work towards? Something like "Get these 5 ingredients, preferably in these brands, and then you can make these X different cocktails hooray". If it helps any, aside from whiskey/bourbon/scotch I'm partial to a good gin and generally try to have vodka around because my wife likes a good bloody mary once in a while.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:45 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean, it's not sad that people want to drink cold gin in a silly glass with an olive in it - that's perfectly fine. I like straight gin myself. It's just sad that a whole generation of cocktail lovers are being raised with a taste aversion to vermouth and bitters.
posted by muddgirl at 8:03 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


wouldn't that just be cold rye whiskey in a silly glass?

I'm not seeing a problem here, other than the silly glass.
posted by electroboy at 8:30 AM on January 21, 2011


Hello, my friend! Welcome to the smoky side!

Yes, albeit a bit late arriving. Here's the problem: all introductions to scotch whisky take great pains to steer the uninitiated away from the smoky malts. "Stay away from Islay whiskies," they all say. "You won't like Islay unless you enjoy licking ashtrays— and even then, you might find Laphroaig a bit much." And so the beginner is sent straight off to Speyside to delight in the delicate floral notes of GlenThis or GlenThat.

After reading descriptions of Islay whisky, I came away feeling I was not nearly enough of a curmudgeon to enjoy the stuff. But as it turns out, I am!
posted by ryanrs at 8:30 AM on January 21, 2011


I'm not seeing a problem here, other than the silly glass.

...and the fact that we called it a Manhattan... I'm not arguing against straight liquors in silly glasses, I'm arguing for proper terminology - When I order a Martini, I expect gin, vermouth, and bitters.
posted by muddgirl at 8:33 AM on January 21, 2011


Wow, the exact same thing happened to me about a month ago. After my car quit, I got fed up and decided to vary my drinking habits and get something fancy. Little did I know that I'd fall in love.

Same here. A friend shared his flight of scotch at the Bar at the Peninsula Hotel here in Chicago last weekend. It was my first introduction to single malt that wasn't Glenfiddich.

Wow. I am in love. The flight was Lavagulin, Caol Ila, and something else I can't remember but have written down at home. They tasted like a campfire! (The flight was called "peat monsters" so I'm sure they were an especially smokey bunch.) They were served, if anyone was wondering, with a small carafe of water to add if you'd like, but we chose not to add any. No ice, fancy or otherwise.

Now that I know how delicious and complex and surprisingly smooth good quality scotch can be, I'm excited to explore the genre.
posted by misskaz at 8:45 AM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm arguing for proper terminology - When I order a Martini, I expect gin, vermouth, and bitters.

Then you want to ask for a martini with bitters. The standard recipe hasn't included bitters for some time.
posted by electroboy at 8:47 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do I need to remind everyone that packaged ice is a food?
posted by moonmilk at 8:56 AM on January 21, 2011


Also, I'm not a huge scotch fan, but Cardhu single malt is quite nice.
posted by electroboy at 8:59 AM on January 21, 2011


True, forget the bitters (sad face).
posted by muddgirl at 9:05 AM on January 21, 2011


But I don't know how to make a Manhattan


Cocktail Boothby's
AMERICAN BAR-TENDER
-- The only practical treatise on the art of mixology published. --
1891.

26. MANHATTAN COCKTAIL

Into a small mixing-glass place one-quarter teaspoonful of sugar, two teaspoonfuls of water, three drops of Angostura, one-half jiggerful of whiskey, and one-half jiggerful of vermouth; stir, strain into a small bar glass, twist lemon peel and throw in and serve with ice water on the side.
___________________
William "Cocktail" Boothby was a famous San Francisco bartender in the late 1800s.


Tastes have somewhat changed in the last 120 years. It is now customary to omit the sugar and lemon, and garnish with a maraschino cherry. Also the proportion of vermouth and bitters has been reduced. The International Bartenders Association gives the standard recipe.
posted by ryanrs at 9:08 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Caol Ila is what they serve in heaven. But not to just anybody. To the really good ones.
posted by gurple at 9:13 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well you need to stop drinking Old Crow.

I WILL NEVER STOP DRINKING THE CROW AND ALSO YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:23 AM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


The standard recipe hasn't included bitters for some time.

Boothby's martini cocktail called for sweet cordial gin, 50% vermouth, and 4 drops of Angostura bitters.

If the martini no longer contains bitters, does it not cease to be a cocktail, in the original sense of the word?
posted by ryanrs at 9:40 AM on January 21, 2011


"You won't like Islay unless you enjoy licking ashtrays— and even then, you might find Laphroaig a bit much."

If you like licking the inside of a fireplace (while the fire is still burning), as I do, you might totally love Bruichladdich's Octomore II. We had a taste at the distillery on Islay (YOU MUST GO TO ISLAY) last spring and promptly bought a bottle. Bruichladdich and Laphroaig did the best tours and tastings, of the ones we went on (we couldn't get to all the distilleries on Islay, so we'll have to go back).
posted by rtha at 9:43 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I use a single snowflake in my drink of whisky so that I can offend both the anti-ice and the anti-homeopathic quotient of MeFi commentators.
posted by longbaugh at 9:46 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's curious how there's such a constant hardon here for Laphroaig in particular. Are other Islays not available in the US or something? Ardbeg, Bowmore & Lagavulin are at least as commonly seen in these parts.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:47 AM on January 21, 2011


It may just be down to price — the basic bottle of Laphroaig (10-yr-old) costs about half what the cheapest Lagavulin (16) does in most US stores, with e.g. Talisker and Ardbeg falling about halfway between, so the regular Islayphile tends to drink a bit more Laphroaig than the others just on account of the higher peat-to-dollar ratio.
posted by RogerB at 9:54 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, that might explain it. These kinds of things are usually duty free purchases for me, so I don't notice the price as much, other than that it's about half retail price, but for a 1 litre bottle instead of the usual 700mL.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:08 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Boothby's martini cocktail called for sweet cordial gin, 50% vermouth, and 4 drops of Angostura bitters.

I think you might be confusing the original martini recipe for a Martinez, since that uses sweet gin. The IBA recipe for a martini calls for dry gin, vermouth, olive and that's it. Boothby's appears to call for dry gin, vermouth, bitters and a lemon peel/olive garnish.
posted by electroboy at 10:13 AM on January 21, 2011


The phenols in the Laphroaig 10 are sharper and more focused than in the Lavagulin or Talisker. I would describe it as piercing.

I've mostly been smelling my Laphroaig and drinking Talisker.
posted by ryanrs at 10:30 AM on January 21, 2011


From the 2009 reprint of the 1891 edition,

27. Martini Cocktail.

1/2 Old Tom Cordial Gin
1/2 Italian vermouth
4 drops Angostura Bitters
twist of lemon peel
posted by ryanrs at 10:42 AM on January 21, 2011


"Optimal dilution"? Isn't that zero? Seems to me what the yuppie wants is something cold (with a high heat capacity) that's not going to melt and dilute the drink. Unfortunately water/ice has the highest heat capacity as well as a large latent heat of fusion... but iron is not bad. Reusable iron "ice" cubes!

Not that I care. When I drink liquor it's only Belvedere vodka with nothing in it -- no ice, fruit, vegetables, or umbrellas.
posted by phliar at 10:53 AM on January 21, 2011


A conversation I'm having in Mefi-mail reminded me that the one thing I hate hate HATE about "cocktail culture" (an irritation that was spurred by that Coudal's "classic martini" link) is this idea that there's one true proportion between elements in a drink (an idea that I myself have perpetuated in this thread); furthermore, it leads to these ideas that there are only "set" cocktails like martinis or manhattans, and everything else is a bastadization, and it sometimes causes people to think that there's something hard or complicated about mixing cocktails.

It's just liquor! Sometimes I mix up a martini using sweet vermouth! Sometimes I make a giant pitcher-full of stirred martinis for friends! Sometimes I make martinis in a shaker! Sometimes I try way too much vermouth with a cocktail onion. All these things probably have names other than "martini", but by that point I'm too drunk to look them up.
posted by muddgirl at 11:01 AM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Have you considered using ammonium nitrate?
posted by ryanrs at 11:02 AM on January 21, 2011


I am kind of an amateur bartender. In various bars around the city when it dies down a bit we take turns making up drinks and passing them around. Most of them are only slightly different than a standard drink and alot of them suck. I've only invented one drink that became "popular" in that the bartender started making it for other people. I'm not a big fan of "mix it like the book and learn to like it", I'm more of a drink it how I like it kind of guy, so I drink black label and put ice in it.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:30 AM on January 21, 2011


Reusable iron "ice" cubes!

Supposedly Hemmingway used ball bearings.

FWIW places that serve flights of vodka serve them halfway buried in a bed of crushed ice.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:36 AM on January 21, 2011


FWIW places that serve flights of vodka serve them halfway buried in a bed of crushed ice.

You should go to those places and tell them that the only legitimate reason to do a "flight" of vodka is if you are eating a ton of caviar.

Most people can't even tell the difference between grain vodka and potato vodka in a blind testing. I shudder to imagine the blissfully ignorant pomposity of the folks who order a vodka flight.

"Now, Glass 1, this one really captures the odorless, tasteless essence of the liquor."

"Yes, but wait till you give #2 a go." /swirls shot glass/ "It really manages to smoothly distinguish itself from Everclear. There is far less burning of the soft palate."

There is a reason that vodka is the liquor of choice for closet alcoholics and home-infusers of Schnapps. It offers nothing but ethanol, until you add something to it.
posted by pineapple at 11:55 AM on January 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


You should go to those places and tell them that the only legitimate reason to do a "flight" of vodka is if you are eating a ton of caviar.

Yes they are usually infused vodkas paired with caviar. I am talking about places like
Pavda or Russian Vodka Room. If anyone wants to hate on these places knock yourself out, they are not really my thing
posted by Ad hominem at 12:02 PM on January 21, 2011


Yeah, I think the Russians really get a pass on however they want to drink their vodka.

and not because they might be listening
posted by pineapple at 12:09 PM on January 21, 2011


pineapple: "There is a reason that vodka is the liquor of choice for closet alcoholics and home-infusers of Schnapps. It offers nothing but ethanol, until you add something to it"

I favorited this so hard.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 12:26 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


If anyone wants to hate on these places knock yourself out

Fuck I hate places that bastardise the Cyrillic script into Latin. It shits me almost as much as the uber-cliched bastardisation of the Hindi Devanagari alphabet on every second Indian-themed business for westerners.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:27 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


furthermore, it leads to these ideas that there are only "set" cocktails like martinis or manhattans, and everything else is a bastadization, and it sometimes causes people to think that there's something hard or complicated about mixing cocktails.

Yeah, this. Guys, make your drinks in whatever way makes them taste the way you prefer. If you like your martini to be, like, 80% dry vermouth, go to it. IT IS NOT WRONG
posted by shakespeherian at 12:41 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


You guys worrying about the Michelada are too late. There's already a bar in Williamsburg (well, on the Williamsburg/Bushwick line, so I figured I wouldn't want to kill all the bar patrons when we stopped in) that serves them. They don't go out of their way to promote them, but they are there. And they are tasty. And I found out that they're better with Negro Modelo than Pacifico.

(The bar is Duck Duck for any New Yorkers who want to get one.)
posted by Hactar at 1:28 PM on January 21, 2011


StickyCarpet: That cloudy part in the middle is composed of the concentrated salts in your water.

I'm pretty sure the cloudy part is gas that was forced out of solution, not salt.


Alls I know, is taste that part of a tap-water ice cube. It tastes salty.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:40 PM on January 21, 2011


If this catches on, I may go into the custom hand-woven toilet-paper business.
posted by jonmc


Now jon, if you are honest with yourself, you'll realize that you've been in the custom hand-woven toilet-paper business for a long, long, time.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:43 PM on January 21, 2011


My sources tell me the Michelada is retro, almost paleo-hipster. They reached their peak 10 years ago .
posted by Ad hominem at 1:53 PM on January 21, 2011


hey, special agent conrad uno (aka ian), you still working at the lounge at QB? I might actually have go out for a drink sometime. :)
posted by epersonae at 2:14 PM on January 21, 2011


If it's Negra Modelo or Pacifico, then it's not the michelada I fear. That's just hipster cooptation of the bare-bones michelada, the way they drink PBR. What I truly dread is its incipient foodiefication.
posted by RogerB at 2:29 PM on January 21, 2011


hey Elaine, heck yes I am. You and Chad should come in sometime, I'll buy you a drink!
posted by special agent conrad uno at 5:32 PM on January 21, 2011


Regarding the ice lovers/haters, well, meh. If your water is nasty, your ice will be nasty, and your cocktails will be nasty. Doesn't matter if you're at El Bulli or McDonalds, who wants nasty water? And crystal-clear ice is certainly prettier (assuming there is ice actually served in the drink, not just in a shaker or whatever). The whole thing about big-vs-small cubes and melting and diluting certainly appeals to my nerdy scientific side, and makes me want to do an experiment. I guess I would only get grar about this when it slips into "woo" territory, or if you try to charge me a couple of extra bucks for your extra-special ice cubes.

On the Manhattan front: 4-to-1 Wild Turkey 101 rye to sweet vermouth. If it's too sweet, keep the same ratio but replace a little of the sweet with dry. Keep your vermouth in the fridge or it will get nasty, especially the sweet. Carpano Antica is awfully tasty vermouth for this, but it's expensive. Couple of shakes of bitters. Find cherries that you like (they vary pretty wildly). Little bit of the cherry...juice?...with the cherries. And frankly I actually like my Manhattans best when I just build them right in an old-fashioned glass and then pile a bunch of ice cubes in.

On the Scotch front, I do have one fine use for Laphroaig in cocktails -- trying to approximate the Violet Hour's "Blue Ridge Manhattan". It's like I'm standing in a peat bog, drinking a Manhattan, and I'm on fire.
posted by madmethods at 6:34 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't know about you, but this thread turned all Laphroaig Blue-y for me. I thought Glenfiddich (or any 10-15 yr old single malt) was as good as I would ever need, but after reading through these posts well..let's just say I'm just back from the liquor store with a bottle. Only been drinking scotch for a couple of years and really don't have the palate. Cheers and goodnight.
posted by HyperBlue at 7:09 PM on January 21, 2011


Anyone interested in a SF Bay Area scotch tasting meetup? My apartment is too small, but if someone else offers a venue, I can bring whisky and glassware.
posted by ryanrs at 9:17 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


ryanrs -- you can count rtha and me in for that!
posted by gingerbeer at 10:32 PM on January 21, 2011


Great! Know anyone who might be interested in hosting? Maybe I should post a meetup thread to solicit volunteers.

I haven't been to a meetup in quite a while. What's average attendance been like?
posted by ryanrs at 12:18 AM on January 22, 2011


ryanrs and gingerbeer: a co-worker of mine just hosted one of those the other week, but I’m always down to taste more scotches. Holler if we get a place to do it. Alternately, I haven’t managed to try Bourbon and Branch yet. Perhaps a smallish meetup there?
posted by spitefulcrow at 1:07 AM on January 22, 2011


Meetup proposal.
posted by ryanrs at 2:13 AM on January 22, 2011


On the strenght of incessant exhalting of peaty whiskies on mefi I've tried Connemara whisky today (Irish but peaty).
I was hesitant since I too bought a Merkur rasor on the strength of mefi recommendation to my regret.
The whisky smells like drinking latakia tobacco.
The phenol scent is nice in moderation but I don't imagine that more phenol is more enjoyable necessarily. So I'm not sure I'll be seeking out Lagavulin, Ardbeg or Laphroaig.
Can it be that a whisky that's off mainstream in its taste and that's rarified because it hails from a small island appeals to the snob impulse?

For those snobs I present two related beers:
- purity of ice to go with whisky relates to purity in beer. Germany and Austria have a strong beer culture and they have the Reinheitsgebot. But yet they drink their beer mixed with cola (a diesel), lemonade (a radler) or raspberry sirup (a berliner weiße). Shocking. Just like they drink their white wine with mineral water. That last one is quite sensible actually but still forbidden by wine afficionado culture.
- in Bamberg Germany they have been making beer for centuries that's made from smoked barley. (f.i. Schenkerla Rauchbier) Its taste is reminiscent of bacon.
posted by joost de vries at 8:20 AM on January 22, 2011


The phenol scent is nice in moderation but I don't imagine that more phenol is more enjoyable necessarily.

Well, to some people it is. Just like some people enjoy their steaks bloody and some don't, or some people like huge Cabs while others prefer gentler Pinots, or some people prefer hoppy beers while others like maltier ones.

So I'm not sure I'll be seeking out Lagavulin, Ardbeg or Laphroaig.

That's cool. More for them of us what enjoys them. But don't knock 'em till you've tried them.

Can it be that a whisky that's off mainstream in its taste and that's rarified because it hails from a small island appeals to the snob impulse?

There are always going to be people who are douchey about only drinking 25-year-old Islays or whatever and doing so because they think it makes them cool. But I challenge your assertion that the Islays are "off mainstream" or rarefied because they're made on a small island. Off mainstream to whom? Not the Scots, certainly - there are currently eight distilleries on Islay, most of which were founded 200 years ago (or more). And over the centuries, there were nearly 20 more distilleries, which have been closed or absorbed into the still-active distilleries.

Can a whisky be considered rarified if you can buy it at BevMo? That's where we get ours, thanks to the global beverage companies that own and/or distribute a lot of them.
posted by rtha at 9:00 AM on January 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Has anyone ever tried to use dry ice as the ice cubes in a cocktail? As long as you have adequate ventilation, I can't see a problem with this.


If you don't see the problem, it may be because you haven't tried it ;-)

I have tried this. I will not try it again.

The problem is that the CO2 in gaseous form combines with the water to form carbonic acid, which is not very tasty :(
posted by kcds at 10:01 AM on January 22, 2011


The phenol scent is nice in moderation but I don't imagine that more phenol is more enjoyable necessarily.

Try giving the stronger ones a second pass through the reverse-osmosis filter.
posted by ryanrs at 10:50 AM on January 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Try giving the stronger ones a second pass through the reverse-osmosis filter.

And with that single, perfect joke

the thread has ended.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:57 AM on January 22, 2011


It's like I'm standing in a peat bog, drinking a Manhattan, and I'm on fire.

If I'm a good person, this is how I want to spend my eternity after I die.
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:01 PM on January 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


CO2 in gaseous form combines with the water to form carbonic acid, which is not very tasty soda water. If you're drinking something that you'd consider adding soda water to, then dry ice shouldn't be a problem, at least flavor-wise. (Could still be a problem freezing-your-tongue-wise, but I've done it more than once without trouble. A little care and the Leidenfrost effect go a long way.)
posted by hattifattener at 1:16 AM on January 23, 2011


Yeah, 'cuz hipsters are well known for drinking bougie cocktails with artisnal ice and not cheap ass shit like PBR.

I dunno, I knew a hipster-type who liked cocktails and oxygen bars (oxygen bars ffs). I still chuckle at the memory of him going into a provincial vodka bar and trying to convince the baffled barperson to pour in a little of the brine into the martini, because apparently dirty martinis were The New Thing.

Until then, cocktails were what my university society got shitfaced on in someone's dingy shared house in ironic black tie.
posted by mippy at 7:27 AM on January 25, 2011


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