Cocktail Science: 5 Myths Associated With Using Ice Busted
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In a cocktail, ice is one of the ingredients that is crucial for many recipes. In an ideal scenario, cocktails are best served chilled, with the usage of ice that aids in achieving the desired temperature. Not only does ice dilute the cocktail as it melts, in order to balance flavours, but mellow out the alcoholic bite, allowing the other flavours in the drink to shine through more prominently. Ice can have a great influence on the mouthfeel of a cocktail, making a drink smoother to sip. Different types of ice – like cubes, crushed ice or spheres – can be used depending on the specific requirements of the cocktail recipe and the desired drinking experience.

Impurities = Cloudy Ice

Contrary to what most perceptions might seem, the minerals or dissolved gases in the water used to freeze ice is what makes it cloudy. If the freezing process involves crystals forming within different parts of a cube without aligning with one another, chances are that the ice will be opaque. In addition to this, using quick methods to produce a larger amount of cubes, instead of letting the water take its course could also contribute to a cloudy frozen output.

Large Ice Cubes Take Longer To Melt

As one of the most common myths associated with using ice to change temperatures in cocktails, larger ice cubes tend to have a higher percentage of surface area in contact with the surrounding environment. As temperatures around the large cube are significantly higher, chances are that there might be an inconsistency in the manner of which a drink cools down. This means that a cocktail or liquor would have to be stirred periodically before a sip is taken.

No Ice In Scotch

While staunch believers in drinking neat Scotch might claim that the addition of ice dilutes the aromas and flavours of the spirit, certain makers of the liquor also acknowledge that a slight dilution could help in dimming any unpleasant tastes, thereby highlighting the flavours that need enhancement. In the most obvious way, having a cool drink of scotch also reduces the burn that beginners might experience after a sip, allowing for a smoother taste to persist.

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Avoid ‘Bruising’ A Gin Martini When Shaken

Since the foundational principle of using ice in cocktails means that it does not lower the temperature of a drink unless it melts, shaking also aerates the drink – causing a change in texture and taste. The molecular compositions of oxygen and carbon dioxide remain dissolved due to the movement, reducing the capacity of the flavours of the ingredients to realise their full potential.

‘Dry Shake’ Egg-Based Drinks

Shaking up a cocktail without ice – also known as a dry shake – is mostly beneficial to drinks that contain egg whites. The vigorous movements allows for them to develop a frothy texture, giving the cocktail a creamy mouthfeel. However, if a drink demands for a whole egg to be used, the fat content in the yolks would remain unaffected, and hence not allow for a homogenous mixture to be created.