ManMade Guide: Step Up Your Summer Drinks with Grown-Up Flavored Ice Cubes
Around here, we’ve moved past the short glass – the whiskey in a tumbler, the shaken 3 oz. cocktails of spring -and opting for the long and tall. With sunshine comes all-day drinks: those mixed with plenty of ice and fresh ingredients to keep you cool.
Of course, it’s ice that keeps ’em cool, and when your glass sits around in the heat…well, ice melts. So, this summer, make that a good thing. We’re sharing our technique and recipes to allow the ice to actually contribute to the flavor of a drink or cocktail, not just its temperature or dilution. Check it out!
First off, making flavored ice cubes is super easy. It’s like making regular ice, but, you know, with not just water. The process is simple: flavor a liquid, and freeze it. Good to go.
For tools you’ll need:
- Measuring cups and/or spoons
- Sauce pan
- Ice cube trays (we recommend silicon trays as they are easier to handle and won’t break your ice cubes to pieces). These are our favorites.
- Liquid (e.g. juice, water, wine)
- Flavoring/infusing agents (spices, tea, aromatics)
- Sweetener (agave syrup, rice syrup, honey)
1. Infuse: heat or boil liquid with add-ins, or let them sit together in the fridge overnight for 24 hours.
2. Cool liquid, strain, and place in ice trays.
So… easy, right? Now here are a few extra tips:
- Ice is only good as the water it came from. Consider using filtered water, spring water, or boiled water to remove cloudiness. Don’t go crazy – the 80¢ gallon jugs from the grocery store work perfectly.
- For ice cubes you want to infuse the liquid as much as you can. The cold makes the flavors harder to detect, so if you’re gonna do it, go big.
- Taste the liquid before freezing and make sure it’s strong, and we mean STRONG. Since it’s going to slowly melt you want the flavour to really come through. So don’t be shy!
- If using spirits, heat them up for to remove most of the alcohol so it can freeze. Spirits with high levels of alcohol should simmer longer. And, of course, choose something with flavor…Vodka-flavored “ice” is really only cold vodka. If you’re gonna reduce the liquid, make sure there’s something besides ethanol and water.
- Always strain your mix before freezing, as sediments could settle at the bottom of the cubes making them gritty.
Dark Chocolate Ice Cubes
These cubes are the perfect companion for a cold-brew coffee, a white russian cocktail, or even with plain cold milk! Super tasty, and all homemade.
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup agave syrup
- Place all ingredients in a heavy-bottom pan and whisk until combined. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.
- Let mix cool completely and place in ice cube trays.
- Remove from trays and serve with your favorite drink (or even munch on them!)
Cinnamon, Anise, and Cardamon Ice Cubes
These flavourings are perfect for straight up cocktails like an Old Fashioned, a manhattan, or even a whiskey on the rocks. You can also add them to your favourite iced tea to spice it up.
- 2 Cinnamon sticks
- 1 Star anise
- 8 Cardamon pods
- 2 cups of water
- 3 tablespoons of agave syrup
- Brew all ingredients for about 5-10 minutes, until fragrant.
- Strain, let brew cool down, and place in ice trays. You can add a cardamon pod in each cube as garnish.
- When ready, remove from tray and immediately place in your drink.
Angostura, Black Tea, and Thyme Ice Cubes
Use in everything.
- 2 cups water
- 2 black tea bags
- 20 dashes Angostura bitters
- 5-6 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
- Heat water to a boil, turn off the heat, then add tea and bitters. Allow to cool a bit, to 150-160° or so, then add thyme leaves. Cool to room temperature.
- Remove tea bags, and pour into ice trays to freeze.
If you’re a fan of this idea, please help us out by sharing the image below on Pinterest (thanks!):
There you have it. Let us know your ideas for flavor combos in the comments below. Enjoy!
This ManMade post was originally published on June 17, 2o14. We’re sharing it again because it’s summer!