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Iced

I have never been too much of a social deviant, but last year I became a bit more of one. I don’t know if I should be embarrassed to mention this in public, but I started drinking my Sazeracs on the rocks. The same goes for old fashions, Manhattans, Negronis and my usual stable of favorites.

While there’s no strict law against having these and other mixed drinks over ice, protocol usually suggests otherwise – especially since they’re often poured through a shaker that introduces its own chill.

My reason is part psychological. Sometimes the drinks are served in what’s far less than a full glass. Since the serving contains alcohol, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the drink to be modest in size, but the ice makes the drink seem fuller – all the better for slowly sipping.

Also, sometimes the drink may be a bit too strong – the ice helps neutralize. On the other hand if the drink is done perfectly, it won’t last long enough for the ice to make any difference.

This month’s edition looks at innovative cocktails from bars around town. I appreciate creativity, but it’s good to have old favorites. Booze and sentiment can mix well, chilled or not.
Asking for ice can leave you out in the cold among accomplished drinkers, but there are occasional surprises. At a recent dinner party I was offered a Sazerac, which of course I accepted. When I asked for ice the hostess didn’t pause but simply responded, “cubes or crushed?” I was so taken aback I stammered for an answer and selected the latter. That did raise a question though. Can slivery crushed ice properly be called “the rocks?”

That is a question worth sipping to.

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