Why Clear Ice Makes a Better Cocktail

Eater visited with Richard Boccato, a veteran bartender, bar owner, and the proprietor of Hundred Weight Ice in Long Island City, Queens, who supplies clear ice for high-end cocktail bars in and around New York City. Boccato explains how the ice is formed, cut, and shaped by hand to a customer’s and a cocktail’s strict specifications.

If you’re going to pay top dollar for a superior cocktail, then the frozen water that goes into that cocktail should be as important an ingredient as everything else that goes into it. …We’re bartenders and this company was founded by bartenders for bartenders because now the big clear ice cube has become somewhat ubiquitous and almost de rigueur in cocktail bars that really care about their beverage program.

Boccato explained that he learned about frozen water from talented ice sculptor Shintaro Okamoto, who has a studio very close to Boccato’s Dutch Kills bar.

I learned that very close by to Dutch kills was Okamoto Studio who make ice as sculptors and certainly had a vast understanding and knowledge of frozen water that as bartenders, we didn’t necessarily possess. From learning and working with Takeo and Shintaro Okamoto, we were able to learn more about how the ice actually could be applied even better to our drinks.

He acknowledges that cutting ice into slabs, cubes, and globes is hard work, but clearer ice makes for a better cocktail.

A lot of bars and restaurants will buy slabs in different sizes and they’ll actually cut them down themselves behind the bar. …Clear ice is a good indication that your ice is devoid of impurities and oxygen bubbles, but the two most important factors really are size and temperature. The big ice melts slower, stays colder longer, and does not impart unwanted water content to a cup.

via Secret NYC

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.