Chefs and mixologists from Hyderabad gives us a sneak peek into the world of artisanal ice cubes
Ahoy! Clear ice
The season of hot, sweltering summer is here and so is the excuse of having chilled drinks too. But this time, there is a new entrant in the market to make your drinks look more attractive and taste better. Yes, we are talking about artisanal ice cubes, also known as clear ice as it looks like a crystal. When compared to normal ice cubes, artisanal ice cubes retain their shape for a longer duration and do not melt quickly. Interestingly, from the place of storage to the mold in which it is shaped, everything is way different from the regular ice cubes. We speak to chefs and mixologists from popular restaurants and cafes to know more about artisanal ice cubes, their usage in cocktails/mocktails and more.
Elaborating about how the artisanal ice cubes are made and why it is any different, Avinash Kapoli, mixologist at Voila café, says, “Artisanal or clear ice is the name given to a specific type of ice cube popular in craft cocktails. The water is frozen directionally, which prevents air bubbles from being trapped in the ice. Directional freezing is a simple method to make crystal clear ice by controlling the direction that water freezes.
As per the law of thermodynamics the dilution of ice is based on the surface area touching another liquid to melt hence when we use clear ice the surface becomes much smaller allowing ice to melt in the drink much slower than the regular ice which helps in retaining the taste and flavour of the cocktail or mocktail without much dilution. We use this in most of our cocktails and mocktails where the ice is cut to the desired shape which provides excellent aesthetic appeal to the drink as well as helps in maintaining the balance and taste if the drink.”
According to Chef Vikas Vumudi, head chef, Voila, using artisanal ice cubes has become a trend in fine dining restaurants. “It is generally made with a machine called cline bell machine, where it is frozen at a certain degree. One can put their stamp also on the cube to add more drama. We have different shapes and we source it from one of the suppliers in Bengaluru. It is also expensive, one sphere could cost around Rs 70. We put it in a thermocol box and deep freeze them in temperatures around -18 to -22,” shares Chef Vikas. The USP of artisanal ice cubes are that they don’t melt easily, concludes Priya Ranjan Sahoo Mixologist at Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre.
THE PHYSICS BEHIND IT
“Ice that had been made by using good quality water, a good freezing machine, available in multiple shapes rather than just cubes and which is much clear visually can be considered as artisanal ice. The regular ice cubes are made by using normal water or purified water with regular freezing equipment. These ice cubes end up cloudy due to minerals and impurities being trapped due to uneven freezing.
Unfortunately, we do not have artisanal ice producers in Hyderabad yet as there is not continuous demand. We import them from Bengaluru as per order. Using good quality water doesn’t alter the flavour of spirits when used in straight drinks or cocktails when used. They dilute slowly and add a good visual aspect to the drink”— Madhu Rajigani, Project Manager, Tulleeho Portals Pvt Ltd.