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Mar 28, 201811:18 AM
Drink Up, NOLA

Changing the way you cocktail in the Big Easy

Ice, Ice Baby

 

It may sound silly, but ice matters. In bar language, if you order something on ‘the rocks’ you are getting your favorite spirit over ice.

Now it’s time to explore the marathon debate, should you dilute your spirit with ice, or enhance it?

Many bartenders will tell you there is no right or wrong answer. After all, it is your drink and you should have it served the way you like it. We all know the purpose of ice is to chill a drink and often it replaces the splash of water some may add. It just all comes down to personal preference.

Remember ice is very important, especially the shape, size and clarity. It’s arguably the most important ingredient. Believe it or not, there are different styles of ice. Clear, larger ice is often best because it is likely free from impurities and lasts longer. The idea is to keep the ice as cold as possible because fresh ice cubes will preserve your drinks longer without diluting them.

The smaller the cubes, the faster it will melt. When you are at home making a cocktail, don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t taste the way your bartender makes it – they know a few tricks. You just need to respect the idea of ice and you too can make killer cocktails.

Lets take the stirred cocktail. Make sure to watch the edges of the cubes. When stirring they will begin to loose their sharp edges and that’s when you know the drink is ready to be poured.

If you are shaking cocktails, look for the slight frost on the outside of the tin or metal shaker. That’s your cue that its ready. Cocktail lovers, make sure to remember this, ice at home can often pick up flavors from the food in your freezer. If you're from Louisiana that can be fish, shrimp or other seafood or meat. When entertaining, most bartenders will suggest getting a fresh bag of ice from the convenience store on the corner. But there is no better ice that the large square cubes and spheres used by bartenders in many craft cocktail bars.

Have you seen the whiskey ball - large ball of ice - mainly made in a mold? These are good because they melt slowly and it will limit the dilution of water in your drink. Crushed ice is very popular in modern drinks. You’ll find it in mojitos, Moscow mules, mint juleps, tiki and frozen drinks.

It cools the drink faster and it works miracles if you’re putting in a beautiful garnish like mint, basil or your favorite fruit. So, when ordering always keep in mind, ice to a bartender is like a hand in a glove. It has to have the perfect fit. If in doubt, ask the star behind the bar what they think. They should be happy to tell you the theory behind the ‘ice culture’ and why ice can be the difference between a good cocktail and an unforgettable one.

If you have a great ice story or bar that has a great ice theory, let us know so we can check it out and share it with imbibers everywhere.

 

 

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Drink Up, NOLA

Changing the way you cocktail in the Big Easy

about

Daniel Victory is creator and owner of Victory and New Orleans Drink Lab. He has been lauded as a pioneer of the New Orleans "craft cocktail" emergence and is considered one of the most engaging ambassadors of the Crescent City. 

His dedication to preserving the artistry and sophistication of classic cocktail creation, as well as the ambiance and high standard of service set forth by many generations old bartenders, sets Daniel Victory apart from the rest. 

Daniel Victory said, “If bartending was a science then every martini would be the exactly the same (at least everyone using the same brand). Exact measurements of all the ingredients would yield exactly the same drink. It’s simple scientific method — a system of repeatable experiments that yield the same results. However, anyone who has ever had martinis will tell you, they are not all the same.”

To Victory, bartending is an art form.

By 2009 Victory garnered international acclaim after being recognized as one of the top 5 bartenders in GQ Magazine/Bombay Sapphires “Most Inspired Bartender” contest. After appearing in the December 2009 issue of GQ, Daniel traveled the world as a National Ambassador for Bombay Sapphire. After a year of never being in the same place more than 3 nights and a whirlwind of knowledge he decided it was time to return home, plant his roots and explore cocktail consulting.

In an effort to preserve everything he learned, Daniel became one of the founders and lead educators of the Crescent City School of Bartending and influential in establishing The Flo Woodward Memorial Scholarship.

Daniel is a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program and the Goldman Sachs & Bloomberg LP Business Coaching program.

The next step in leaving his imprint on his hometown is Victory. Nestled in between the Central Business District and New Orleans’ famed Canal Street, stands the physical combination of his aesthetic, travels, smarts & history. Victory has high standards and is often found molding the next generation of bartenders.

In 2015 Victory expanded his vision and yet again put his skills to work. The Old New Orleans Drink Lab is born. A groovy, old world feel where cocktail history and education are his top priority. Here you'll learn to make Crescent City classic cocktails and get the history along with it.

With Victory constantly mixing things up, there’s no sign of slowing down.

 

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