Would you like ice with that?

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We get it. It’s November, and it’s freezing (where we are, at least!) When you want to enjoy your favourite cocktail, it can be tempting to leave out the ice to try and keep the cold at bay.

But ice is one of the most important ingredients in any cocktail. Of course, it plays a vital part in keeping the drink cold, but the slow dilution of your cocktail is also part of the experience.

And there’s a very good reason behind the types of ice used too. Chances are, you’ve watched in dismay at some point when a bartender has overfilled your glass with ice before adding your drink. Trust the process – they know what they are doing!

More Ice Please!

The more ice in your glass, the slower it melts. Ice melts by drawing in heat from its surroundings. If it is surrounded by more ice, there is less heat for it to draw upon. This maintains the temperature in your glass for longer. If you don’t want your drink watered down, ask for more ice, not less!

Most bars use cubed ice. However, if you really want to get the most out of every bit of ice, iced balls last longer. They are more aesthetically pleasing and easier to stir if you do want to dilute your drink a little more.

What about crushed ice?

Lots of cocktails call for crushed ice, and there are definitely some benefits to this. Crushed ice is better for cocktails that rely on the added dilution, adding texture and an extra-refreshing edge to stronger drinks. Crushed ice also helps spread the coldness more evenly through the drink.

Pardon the interruption

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If your recipe calls for crushed ice, you can easily make your own at home. You can blend ice cubes, adding a little bit of water to avoid burning out the blender. Do it in short bursts so you get the right texture. When it looks right, strain the ice and use it immediately.

Alternatively, wrap your ice cubes in a clean tea towel or place them in a plastic bag and smash them with a rolling pin.

It's important to note that if a cocktail requires shaking, ice cubes are best. When pouring that drink, it should usually be done over fresh ice cubes in the glass. If you really don’t want to use ice, you can always chill your glass in the fridge for a while beforehand, to make your drink cold without any danger of dilution.

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