Hear me out—if you’re not working with some big ass ice, you’re seriously missing out. Ice is ice, you might say. Wrong. If you work in the restaurant or cocktail industry, you know ice comes in myriad forms—all with a specific purpose. I’ll give you the cheat sheet—but if you want to get into the nitty-gritty of which cube to use and when, I recommend this helpful guide.
Basically, the bigger the cube, the slower it melts, resulting in colder, less diluted cocktails, and a hell of a lot more to sip. A giant ice tray, be it round or cube-shaped, will change your life in ways you didn’t even know were possible. Lost the chill on your glass of rosé? Never again. A watered-down old-fashioned—not in your house! Serious sommeliers and snobby wine drinkers tend to look down on putting ice in your glass of wine—that’s because regular cubes melt quickly and change the entire flavor of a nice oaky-chard or subtle riesling (also, wine ice cubes, anyone?). A big hunk of ice will allow you to enjoy your glass of vino straight off the shelf, as it will cool your bev before totally altering its flavor. Plus, you can use gigantic ice trays for creating works of edible art with infused ice, or even adding a touch of whimsy with sports-themed cubes, and even a cute frozen bulldog. It sounds difficult, but could not be easier to make—all you need is water, herbs, and a freezer.
For the real cocktail connoisseurs, they even make clear ice molds, so you can impress your legion of die-hard whiskey drinkers with perfectly see-through cubes, which you used to have to special-order, as they’re typically cut from one larger block. The special foam insulation on these molds causes the ice to freeze slowly, resulting in completely clear cubes, not to mention the foam barrier does an excellent job of keeping unwanted flavors and smells out of your ice—because nobody wants wants a negroni that tastes like the back of your freezer (blech). So if you’re ready to level-up your cocktail game, or even just your arsenal of useful kitchen gadgets, the key is some fancy big-ass ice.
Extra-large cubes are also perfect to use while cooking or baking for rapidly cooling ingredients without compromising them—especially if you don’t have one of those fancy Iron Chef blast-chillers. I recently used a few large cubes to quickly chill down fresh-made gazpacho (which slapped) and was able to serve it to my guests right away, instead of distracting them with song and dance, while we waited for it to reach ideal eating temp.
I also use my big-ass trays for conveniently portioning out ingredients for smoothies (30-second breakfast anyone?), broths, sauces, or any other pantry staples that I know might get tossed in a few days if I were to leave them in the fridge. One of the reasons these trays are so exceptional for meal prep is that each cube mold holds exactly one cup, making measuring ingredients incredibly easy.
Stay frosty, my friends.
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The post These Giant Ice Cube Trays Have Saved My Cocktails and Kitchen Prep appeared first on VICE.