Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The BIG Ice Cube -- It Rocks the Cocktail!

We usually dine at home, and I seldom find myself in a bar, so I know I am late to the party when it comes to discovering the BIG ice cube.  But I must say, what a marvelous innovation!  My first encounter with the big ice cube was earlier this year when I was dining at A-Frame in Culver City with my friend Jessica.  I ordered a Manhattan while waiting at the bar, and when the bartender placed in front of me a beautiful cocktail served over one giant ice cube, my eyes lit up.  I just thought it was fantastic, and so smart! Clearly what I had in front of me was a drink that would stay very cold for a long time without becoming watered down, since the volume to surface area ratio of one big ice cube was obviously much lower than that of multiple small ice cubes, or God forbid, a whole bunch of crushed ice.

A few weeks after discovering the big ice cube at A-Frame, I stumbled upon it yet again (to my delight) in a neighborhood bar where my friend Sue and I popped in for a birthday drink.  After these two encounters, I was spoiled and found myself snubbing my nose at establishments that do not serve their cocktails over a big ice cube.

Well last week, to my delight, I discovered that trays for making big ice cubes at home are now widely available.  (I found mine at Bed, Bath & Beyond.)  I had been contemplating our Thanksgiving menu and wanted to include an elegant seasonal cocktail -- the big ice cube would definitely be making an appearance.

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So after a bit of experimenting this afternoon (please excuse the typos!) I settled on an unsweetened vodka cranberry cocktail and a sweet vodka Gravenstein apple juice cocktail -- two simple, straightforward drinks that feature classic autumn/Thanksgiving fruits.  The vodka I chose was a quinoa derived vodka from France, marketed under the Fair label, which I thought was very cool.

The first drink features a shot of vodka and a splash of unsweetened cranberry juice, garnished with fresh cranberries and served over one or two big ice cubes. 

Alternatively, a shot of vodka poured over a big ice cube infused with fresh cranberries might be your preference.

The vodka Gravenstein apple juice cocktail served over a petite crimson gold apple-infused ice cube and garnished with the same tiny apple is both sweet and refreshing.

It's easy to get carried away with these oversized cubes.  I went to town freezing all sorts of items from my refrigerator, and thought all of them were cocktail-worthy!  Below I have pictured big ice cubes infused with blackberries, fresh mint, lemon, cranberries, and green apple slices. 


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