Ice Snob

Cold Fusion
Wayne Curtis, The Atlantic, June 2009

David C. Sampson

David C. Sampson

This article could turn you into an ice snob, too. Instead of requesting the bartender use top-shelf liquor, I’ll now ask what is the quality of the ice.

“Ice is as important to a bartender as a stove is to a chef,” he explained, in the cadence of an oft-cited mantra. “With a chef, it’s a matter of heating things up. With a bartender, it’s a matter of cooling things down. You’d never tell a chef he could have only a stove-top burner or a fryer. And I couldn’t do without at least three or four different types of ice.”

From the first sip, the drink with cheater ice was like a debased “cocktail lite,” with thin flavors and watery insipidness. The chunk ice yielded a richer taste, and had a denser, almost velvety texture to it. After five minutes, the cheater cocktail was deadly flat (“quite foul, actually,” decreed Rubel after a taste), while the drink with chunk ice seemed to be opening up and blossoming. Only after about 20 minutes had the second drink begun to soften around the edges.

Cheater ice is so ghetto. :)

2 thoughts on “Ice Snob”

  1. I don’t think the ice is the only thing chunky here.

    If you’re this adamant about drinking alcohol you should probably start looking for help…

    1. Dear teetotaler who is too cowardly to post under their real name,

      This post is only incidentally about alcohol. It’s about the science of ice, its behavior in the beverages we drink, how it effects those drinks and our perceptions of those effects.

      Don’t be a douche.

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