Jun 022010

Ice cubes are absolutely essential for cocktail parties. You’ll probably use six cubes of ice for every cocktail, at minimum.

But here’s the problem: ice cubes that are stored for too long in the freezer usually absorb some of the essence of the surrounding frozen food. You may have not noticed the difference in the taste, but your guests may notice — especially if the strange taste mixes with the various ingredients of a cocktail.

There are two ways to prevent stale ice cubes from reaching your guests’ glasses: buy a bag of ice cubes on the day of the party, or make ice cubes a day before the party. This way, all the ice that you’re going to use will be fresh and will have none of the awful taste associated with stale cubes. (Sometimes stale cubes taste like uncooked beef or, even worse, frozen fish.)

There are other kinds of ice, and each type of ice has its own peculiar characteristics:

1. Cracked ice – Cracked ice, compared to regular ice cubes, melt easier in room temperature. Cracked ice dilutes a cocktail faster than frozen cubes.

Some people prefer using cracked ice when creating crushed ice because frozen cubes tend to obstruct the smooth oscillation of a blender’s sharp blades. If you use cracked ice instead of ice cubes, a single tall cocktail will usually require 1 cup of this type of ice.

2. Shaved ice – Shaved ice is handy when you want to create liqueur-based snow cones. Cocktails that would look better if they had a thicker consistency can be made to appear thicker if shaved ice is used instead of cracked ice or ice cubes.

3. Japanese ice balls – As the name implies, Japanese ice balls first became popular in Japan. In busy bars in Japan, skillful bartenders create perfectly round ice pieces from blocks of ice manually with an assortment of ice picks. Japanese ice balls are notable for their resistance to melting, as opposed to ice cubes and cracked ice.

Cocktail lovers know that eventually, after a few minutes, a perfectly good glass of gin will taste like water if regular ice cubes or shavings are used. You can create your own ice balls with the help of ice ball molds that come in plastic or metal. Metal molds are more expensive, but are sturdier and last longer than plastic variants.

 Posted by at 11:00 pm
Apr 022010

Sometimes you’ll have guests who will ask for cocktails
without any alcohol. No need to fret! Below are some easy cocktail recipes that don’t require alcoholic spirits. Serve one or two at your cocktail party, and you’ll have no problem with non-drinkers.

Taste of the Caribbean

1. You’ll need one fourth cup of the following: fresh orange juice, fresh pineapple juice, and some sweet peach nectar. Combine these juices first in the shaker.

2. Add four teaspoons of plain cherry juice to the existing mix, and a small amount of fresh lime juice (one eighth cup should do). Once the citrus flavors have combined, add four tsp. of cream of coconut.

3. For the finishing step, add half a teaspoon of grenadine. Shake the final mix for just twenty seconds before straining. Pour the cocktail over four plain or garnished ice cubes.

The Dragon’s Lair

1. For this cocktail, you’ll need one third cup of any fruit-flavored tea (you need red tea for this one), one fourth cup of blood-orange nectar, and four tsp. of freshly squeezed lime juice. Combine these ingredients in a tall mixing glass.

2. Add an additional two tsp. of cream of coconut and the same amount of light almond syrup. With a long handled mixing spoon, stir the resulting mix well until the creation is evenly blended.

3. Serve the Dragon’s Lair in a Collin’s glass or a tall, plain glass. Garnish with fruit or a citrus twist.

Fruity Surprise

1. For this cocktail, you’ll need a good, old-fashioned blender. You’ll need one fourth cup of cantaloupe, one fourth cup of papaya, one fourth cup of mango, and one fourth cup of fresh orange juice.

2. After mixing the first batch of ingredients, add one fourth cup of nectar of the passion fruit and just four tsp. of lemon juice. As a finishing touch, add four tsp. of light almond syrup to the concoction. Add the equivalent of three ice cubes worth of crushed ice.

3. Blend the creation for a few seconds and pour into a tall glass.

Ginger Delight

1. For this recipe, you’ll need just one piece of ginger that has been preserved in sugar syrup. Take one piece from the jar and dice finely. Add this to the glass.

2. Next, add one tsp. of fresh juice from a pear (use a juicer). Add the same amount of grape juice. (Use white grape juice for this recipe.)

3. Pour just enough ginger ale in the glass to fill it past the half-full mark. Add three to four ice cubes, stir a little, and serve.

 Posted by at 11:18 pm