When it comes to making a perfect drink, ice can be a bit of a controversial topic, regardless as to whether you're talking about coffee, refreshing and booze-free summer drinks, or cocktails. That's why Adam Rogers, articles editor for Wired magazine, set out to find the scientific way ice can improve your cocktail. He assembled his findings into a video for the publication's Booze Science web series, and it turns out that ice can actually be used as a tool to make your favorite cocktail into the perfect drink. There's no science like booze science!
Of course, it seems silly that something as seemingly benign as ice can be so divisive, but people have been making bold claims for centuries that it weakens coffee, dilutes soda, takes the flavor out of lemonade, takes up too much space in our Starbucks drinks and, most tragically, ruins our cocktails. Especially in recent years, with the rise of artisanal ice, the discussion surrounding icing your cocktail — how to do it, whether you should do it at all, and so on and so forth — has gained momentum in the world of trendsetters who are willing to pay 15 dollars for a vodka gimlet just because it comes with fancy ice. But despite the ice-in-cocktail naysayers, Rogers and Jen Colliau, the beverage directors at a bar called The Interval in the Bay Area, help us understand how to properly ice a cocktail so that you get the perfect drink every time.
Here are some important takeaways from Colliau's discussion of ice to help us understand the science of the iced alcoholic drink. Scroll down to watch the full video.
1. Many Cocktails Are Best Served Cold
This is just a basic, well-known fact that we don't really need science to tell us. It's still a helpful reminder, though.
2. The Temperature of Your Ice Is Really Important
Your ice should be 32 degrees Fahrenheit — that is, exactly the temperature at which water freezes. However, that doesn't mean your drink will be that cold. Because of the thermal energy expended as your ice melts, your drink might actually be a lot colder than 32 degrees.
3. The Way the Ice Melts Impacts More Than Just The Temperature Of Your Drink
It can have an impact on the texture, strength, and taste of your drink. That being said, though...
4. Dilution Is Important
Alcoholic drinks don't often call for water, but they do call for being diluted with shaken or stirred ice. This dilution process helps to unify all the flavors and textures for a robust drink. In order to measure dilution, you can measure the temperature of the drink as you stir it down by using a thermometer as your stirring stick. Different temperatures correspond to what makes different drinks perfect: What their components are, how they're served, etc. Manhattans, for example, don't need much dilution, whereas a gin gimlet can go as low as 28 degrees.
So go out, take advantage of whatever amount of summer you may have left, and make yourself some perfectly iced cocktails while it's still hot out. Check out the full video below.
Images: Pexels; Giphy (4)