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Archive for Cocktails & Spirits

TIP OF THE DAY: The Best Irish Coffee Recipe?

Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee Glass

Irish Espresso

[1] The Irish Coffee recipe from Tim Herlihy of Tullamore D.E.W.. [2] The traditional stemmed Irish Coffee glass (photo courtesy Barmano). [3]Irish espresso, a riff on Irish Coffee (recipe #3 below, photo courtesy Tullamore D.E.W.)

 

January 25th is National Irish Coffee Day, and for that occasion we received an Irish Coffee recipe created by Tullamore D.E.W. Brand Ambassador Tim Herlihy.

Tim may have consumed more, different Irish Coffee recipes than anyone else. So when he created his own recipe, we paid attention. It’s now the off dial Irish Coffee recipe of Tullamore D.E.W., our favorite Irish whiskey, a version of the original

The first appeared in the U.S. in 1952 when journalist Stan Delaplane tasted it in Ireland and convinced his friend, the owner of the Buena Vista Café in San Francisco, to put Irish Coffee on his menu (it was made with Tullamore D.E.W.).

Tim crafted his version after the Irish Coffee first made in 1943 thrown together in 1943 for cold travelers in a chilly seaplane terminal in Ireland (the scoop).

Tim likes it as an after-dinner drink; but it can warm you up anytime. Bartender’s Tip: With all hot drink recipes, preheat the goblet or mug by first rinsing it with hot water (we use the microwave).

If you don’t like coffee, a recipe for Irish Hot Chocolate follows (recipe #3).

RECIPE #1: TIM HERLIHY’S TULLAMORE D.E.W. IRISH COFFEE

Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1½ parts Tullamore D.E.W. Original
  • 1½ parts strong brewed coffee (Tim’s Pick: any premium dark roast)
  • ½ parts demerara sugar (substitute other raw sugar or light brown sugar)
  • Lightly whipped heavy cream
  • Cinnamon or nutmeg
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT a clear-stemmed glass with very hot water. Add the sugar and brewed coffee and stir well until the sugar has melted. Then stir in the Tullamore D.E.W.

    2. GENTLY WHIP the heavy cream by shaking it in a blender bottle, a.k.a. with a protein shaker with blender ball. We love this shaker, for scrambled eggs, instant soups and drinks, etc. and mixes (Here’s our review).

    You want a still somewhat loose, not stiff consistency. (You can also achieve this with a hand mixer.)

    3. POUR the cream over the back of a hot teaspoon to create the top layer of the drink, and prevent the cream from penetrating the coffee layer.

    4. GARNISH with grated nutmeg or cinnamon.

    Variations From THE NIBBLE

  • For a less sweet drink, don’t add sweeten the whipped cream, as is common in the U.S.
  • Add some “green,” add 2 teaspoons creme de menthe instead of the creme de menthe (or in addition to it, for a very strong drink), mixed in with the coffee; or drizzle some over the whipped cream top.
  • Ditto, Bailey’s Irish Cream or other Irish cream liqueur.
  •  
    RECIPE #2: IRISH ESPRESSO (IRISH COFFEE SHOTS)

    Traditional Irish coffee combines whiskey, brown sugar, black coffee and heavy cream. In these shots, coffee liqueur substitutes for the coffee and sugar, and Irish cream liqueur takes the place of the whiskey and cream.

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 4 teaspoons/20ml Tullamore D.E.W. Original Irish Whiskey
  • 2 teaspoons/10ml premium coffee liqueur
  • 2 teaspoons/10ml heavy cream
  • Garnish: coffee beans (we substitute chocolate-covered coffee beans)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ADD the Tullamore D.E.W. and coffee liqueur to a mixing glass. Stir and pour into shot glasses.

    2. THICKEN the heavy cream slightly with a hand-held mixer or blender bottle. Top each shot with fresh cream and garnish with coffee beans.

    RECIPE #3: IRISH HOT CHOCOLATE

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1-1/2 to 2 ounces Irish Whiskey
  • 6 ounces good quality hot chocolate
  • Garnish: chocolate flakes (shave a chocolate bar)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients in a goblet or mug. Add the whipped cream. Sprinkle with chocolate flakes.

     

    WHAT MAKES IRISH WHISKEY DIFFERENT

    There are several distinct styles of whiskey in the world—American (rye and bourbon), Irish, Canadian and Scotch.

    While all are produced in a broadly similar way, there are substantial differences in the final product that are based on the choice of grains, the type of still, the number of distillations, the maturation period and the type of oak barrels in which the whiskey is matured.

    The end result is that each country’s whiskey has its own distinctive characteristics.

    Irish whiskey is smooth and clean-tasting, a result of triple distillation. It’s the only triple-distilled whiskey in the world. Here’s the scoop.

    Whiskey vs. whisky.

    The word comes from the the Gaelic uisce, pronounced ISH-ka, and the Scottish uisge, pronounced USH-ka. They became isky and usky and then evolved to the modern English whisky.

    Canadians spell “whisky” without the “e,” as do the Scots and most other countries except Ireland and the U.S.

    Scholars can’t determine why the “e” was dropped by the Scots many centuries ago. One theory is that the Irish made whiskey first and pronounced it with a broad “e.” When the Scots began to make it, they dropped the “e” to differentiate their product.

    A 1968 directive of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms specifies “whisky” as the official U.S. spelling, but allows the alternative spelling, “whiskey,” which most U.S. producers prefer.

    Check out the language of whiskey in our Whiskey Glossary.

    ALCOHOL DISTILLATION

    Alcohol distillation was discovered in the late eighth century by an Arab scholar, Abu Masa Jabir ibn Hayyam, “the father of modern chemistry.” Among other discoveries were acetic acid, citric acid, tartaric acid, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid and aqua regia, one of the few substances that can dissolve gold, and crystalization.

    Jabir invented many types of now-basic chemical laboratory equipment. One was the alembic still, the al-ambiq.

    When Jabir distilled wine, he created the world’s first distilled alcohol, and discovered a liquid that had benefits as medicine.

    Since this equipment was often used to boil powdered antimony into a liquid called al-kohl (used to make the cosmetic kohl), the liquid became known as alcohol and the al-ambiq became the modern alembic still.

     

    Abu-Musa-Jabir-ibn-Hayyan

    The First Still

    Early Alembic Still

    [4] A 15th-century portrait of Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan, also known as Geber (courtesy Wikipedia). [5] His early distillation still. [6] A later illustration of the early alembic still (still images courtesy Crystal Links).

     
    Distillation remained a secret process, handed down orally. It was ultimately shared with monks in Spain, who also used it for medicinal purposes, adding herbs and other botanicals to create distillations such as Benedictine and Chartreuse.

    Missionary monks brought the recipe to Ireland.

    The secret process for distilling alcohol from wine was written down for the first time in a European language around 1300. It was accomplished by Arnaldus de Villanova (Arnald of Villanova), a Spanish physician, scholar and professor of medicine in Montpellier, France, who was fluent in several languages including Arabic. (He also discovered carbon dioxide and developed pure alcohol).

    He called the distilled alcohol aqua vitae, water of life. It translated to aquavit (Scandinavia), eau de vie (France) and vodka (Poland and Russia).

    Villanova believed it would “prolong life, clear away ill humors, revive the heart and maintain youth.” Others claimed it also alleviated diseases of the brain, nerves and joints; calmed toothaches; cured blindness, speech defects and paralysis; and warded off the Black Death. (Needless to say, it does none of these things, except perhaps putting one to sleep so as not to feel the tooth ache.)

    In 1478, 48 years after the invention of the printing press, the first book on distillation was published. It became a best-seller, with 14 printings in 20 years.

    [source]

      

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    RECIPE: Irish Margarita

    Last month we posted quite a rant about every drink with tequila being called a Margarita.

    Most of the recipes sent to us called “Margarita” aren’t anything of the sort. The establishments are taking advantage of the popularity of the Margarita (America’s #1 or #2 most popular cocktail, alternating with the Martini).

    But, as we explained, if you want to create a Margarita with a different spirit, or use a liqueur other than orange, call it something else. Otherwise, you muddy the waters for people who’d like to understand what a Margarita is.

    THE ORIGINAL MARGARITA INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ounce blanco/silver tequila
  • 1 ounce Cointreau or other orange liqueur
  • Fresh lime juice to taste (try 1/2 ounce)
  • Kosher salt for rim
  • Lime wedge garnish
  •  
    The rant explains how to legitimately vary the ingredients; for example:

  • Use aged tequila instead of the blanco.
  • Substitute blood orange liqueur or grapefruit liqueur (“grapefruit Margarita”) for the Cointreau.
  • Use a different citrus juice, e.g. grapefruit juice in the grapefruit Margarita.
  • Vary the rim, e.g. use chipotle salt.
  •  
    Tilted Kilt” target=”_blank”>The Tilted Kilt, a pub and eatery a chain, sent us a recipe for an “Irish Margarita” that substitutes Irish whiskey for Margarita’s tequila, they added the other must-haves: orange liqueur and lime juice.

    They even salted the rim.

    But they used less orange liqueur flavor, and made up the sweetness difference with agave syrup.

    We offer the recipe under its original name, though we think it should be called Margarita’s Irish Cousin.
     
     
    RECIPE: KILTED TILT’S IRISH MARGARITA

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1.5 ounces Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • .5 ounce orange liqueur (Tilted Kilt used Patrón Citrónge)
  • .5 ounce agave nectar
  • 1.5 ounce fresh lime juice
  • Garnish: Lime wedge or wheel
  • Ice
  • Coarse salt
  •  

    Irish Margarita Recipe

    Irish Margarita

    Margarita’s Irish Sister, made with Irish whiskey at The Tilted Kilt. [2] An Irish Margarita from Restless Chipotle. It uses blue Curaçao and pineapple juice, along with peach schnapps and aperol, to create the green color; plus a sugar rim instead of salt. Irish Margarita, anyone?

     
    Preparation

    1. SALT the rim of the glass.

    2. ADD the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into the glass.

    Serve to your favorite leprechauns.

      

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    RECIPE: Green Bloody Mary With Tomatillos

    Gearing up for St. Patrick’s Day, we wanted to try a Green Bloody Mary. Yes, can green it up for St. Patricks Day, with the tricks below.

    The first GBMs of our experience were made with the green tomatoes and yellow tomatoes of August—more legit than this St. Patrick’s Day version, since puréed tomatoes equal the tomato juice of a traditional Bloody Mary.

    But those tomatoes are around for just a few weeks of the year, and months away from St. Patrick’s Day.

    So we went a-looking, and found this recipe from New Orleans bartender Jimmy Syock, who made it as party of the Bloody Mary Bar at Atchafalaya Restaurant.

    He uses what’s typically a year-round fruit: the tomatillo (yes, it’s a botanical fruit; all about tomatillos).

    We adapted Jimmy’s recipe a bit, although we kept his party-size measurements. You’ll get 12 Collins glass-size drinks, and more if you use an Old Fashioned/rocks glass.

    Recipe #2 is a much simpler to make, and just four servings.
     
    RECIPE #1: JIMMY SYOCK’S GREEN BLOODY MARY

    Ingredients For 12 Drinks

  • 2-1/2 pounds tomatillos, peeled and seeded
  • 2-1/2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1-1/2 English cucumbers, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1-1/2 jalapeños, trimmed and seeded
  • 1 bunch celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, trimmed, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 3 cups vodka (plain or infused, e.g. lemon, lime, pepper)
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Garnish: see below
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients except lime juice and salt in a blender; process until smooth. Strain to remove the pulp and any remaining seeds.

    2. STIR in the lime juice and add salt to taste. Chill until ready to serve.

    3. GARNISH as desired from the list below.
     
    GARNISHES

    We’ve omitted the standard celery stalk and lemon or lime wedge. When you go green, you upgrade your garnishes.

    Some ideas:

  • Fresh veggies: bell pepper circle (sliced horizontally), celery stalk, cucumber or zucchini wheel, dill spear, fennel stalk, rosemary sprig, scallion, yellow cherry or grape tomatoes.
  • Pickled veggies: asparagus, carrot, dill pickle spear, dilly bean (green bean), garlic, gherkin/cornichon, jalapeño, okra, olive, onion, pepadew.
  • Proteins: bacon strip, boiled or grilled shrimp, cheese cubes, crab claw, ham cubes, jerky, mozzarella balls, salami or sausage slices.
  • Rimmers: celery salt or other seasoned salt, dried herbs (thyme, oregano) or a mixture of the two, cracked black pepper with a hint of nutmeg, coarse salt mixed with lime zest, Old Bay (mixed with something else here for a milder taste).
  •    

    Tomatillo Bloody Mary

    Tomatillo Bloody Mary

    Tomatillos

    [1] Jimmy Syock’s Tomatillo Bloody Mary, via Garden and Gun. [2] Here’s the recipe from The Kitchy Kitchen, which includes the option of infusing your vodka with vegetables. [3] Tomatillos from The Chef’s Garden.

     

    You might enjoy putting an “antipasto pick” together with choices from each group; for example, a cheese cube, grape tomato, ham cube, and gherkin.

     

    Bloody Mary Crab Claw

    Garnished Bloody Mary

    [4] Garnished with a crab claw, dilly beans and a riot of pickled green vegetables (photo courtesy Orange County Register). [5] Fully loaded, from The Wayfarer | NYC.

     

    RECIPE #2: GREEN TOMATILLO BLOODY MARY

    Ingredients For 4 Drinks

  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 6 ounces vodka
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish
  • Green hot sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Garnish: choose from the list above
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PURÉE the tomatillos and cucumber in a blender or food processor. Add the vodka, horseradish and a few dashes each of green hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon celery salt and a pinch of kosher salt.

    2. POUR into 4 ice-filled glasses. Garnish and serve.
     
    KNOW YOUR BLOODY MARYS

  • Bloody Mary History
  • Bloody Mary Recipes: the classics plus Danish, Mexican, Scottish, Russian and Spanish Marys
  •  
    MORE BLOODY MARYNESS

    These recipes use traditional red tomato juice, but you can switch to the green blend as you prefer.

  • Bloody Mary Drink Bar Or Cart
  • Bloody Mary Ice Pops
  • BLT Bloody Mary
  • Deconstructed Bloody Mary
  • Michelada (with beer)
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Margarita Vs. Not A Margarita

    Cherry Margarita

    Grape Margarita

    Guava Margarita

    Classic Margarita

    Smoked Salt Rim Margarita

    Margarita Glass

    Will the real Margarita please stand up? [1] Cherry Margarita (photo courtesy Created By Diane). [2] Grape Margarita (photo courtesy California Table Grape Commission. [3] Guava Margarita (photo courtesy Chef Ingrid Hoffmann). [4] and [5] The real deal, from Casa Noble Tequila: a classic Margarita and the classic with a smoked salt rim. [6] A Margarita made with GranGala orange liqueur in a Margarita glass.

     

    Around this time of year, we get bombarded with every imaginable recipe for National Margarita Day (February 22nd).

    In fact, most of these drinks are Margarita in name only.

    Because Margarita and Martini are the two most popular cocktails in America, some tequila companies (who know better) and establishments (who should) call too many concoctions by one of these names. Grape Margarita? Avocado Margarita? Seriously?

    Here are just a few of the oh-so-wrong Margarita recipes we’ve received in recent weeks:

  • Avocado Margarita: blanco tequila, triple sec, lime, avocado (one entire avocado per drink!), fresh cilantro, cayenne pepper.
  • Mango Scotch Bonnet Margarita: tequila tequila, lime juice, 3 slices of scotch bonnet pepper, diced mango, mango jam.
  • Raspberry Margarita: oro tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, black raspberry syrup, fresh raspberries.
  • Spicy Raspberry Margarita: reposado tequila, Chambord, Sprite, sour mix, Tabasco.
  •  
    When did this all begin? In our experience, it was the mid 1980s, when we first saw a “Peach-arita” featured on a menu in East Hampton. It substituted peach schnapps for the Cointreau.

    It was delicious—we had two—and the name was delightfully catchy. Many variations have appeared all over the ensuing 30 years. But in retrospect, they aren’t Margaritas at all; just cocktails riding on Margarita’s coattails, appropriating the name.

    We are complicit: We’ve published numerous poseur Margarita recipes, because they were really good cocktails. But the madness (at least ours) stops today.

    We’ll still publish good cocktail recipes, but any faux Margarita will be linked to this conscious-raising rant.
     
    WHAT IS A MARGARITA?

    The original Margarita combined tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice: a orange-flavored tequila cocktail with a salt rim, served with a lime wheel (here’s the Margarita history).

    Unless you’re talking Frozen Margarita—where any flavor can be added via fruit purée—Margarita is an orange drink, not a cherry, grape or pineapple one.

    Once you take great license with ingredients, you create a different cocktail.

    Would you make a Pineapple Cosmo, substituting the standard cranberry juice with pineapple juice? Create a Grapefruit Screwdriver?

    A Screwdriver combines orange juice and vodka. Grapefruit juice and vodka is a Greyhound.

    Adding cranberry juice to a Greyhound produces a Sea Breeze.

    And that’s how it should be. Cocktails should observe a nomenclature, like everything else.

    MARGARITA VARIATIONS

    That being said, there is license to slightly vary the original ingredients. Each change marginally alters the original flavor profile, but the drink is still recognizable.

  • Tequila: You can use reposado or anejo tequila instead of the original blanco (silver). But you can’t make a “Mezcal Margarita,” any more than you can make a Vodka Margarita. Call those drinks something else!
  • Cointreau: You can use a different orange liqueur. Many bartenders quickly adopted the less expensive triple sec (generic orange liqueur); Grand Marnier promoted the “Grand” Margarita, making it seem a better choice (although Cointreau is the most expensive of the orange liqueurs—$10 more per bottle than Grand Marnier). GranGala did the same, calling a Margarita made with its liqueur the Ultra Margarita. We received an Orange Blossom Margarita recipe that included both Grand Marnier and Pavan Orange Blossom Liqueur—all right—but further added agave and club soda. We’d call that an Orange Blossom Fizz.
  • Lime juice: You could substitute or add a different citrus juice, creating a Blood Orange Margarita, a Grapefruit Margarita, a Lemon Margarita.
  • Rim: Instead of plain salt, use flavored salt (chipotle, smoked, whatever) or a seasoning blend like Tajin, a blend of chile, lime and salt.
  • Garnish: This is where you can express creativity without altering the integrity of the drink. You can add to, or substitute, the lime wheel with a wedge, and with something decorative (a red chile on a pick), or tossed into/onto the drink: jalapeño slices, berries, a sprig of cilantro or tarragon.
  • Glass: The original Margarita was served in a rocks (Old Fashioned) glass. Over time, bartenders chose whatever they had on hand, such as a Martini glass or a coupe. A “Margarita glass†” was invented in Mexico, and can be found in use at Mexican restaurants in the U.S.Use whatever you like.
  •  
    If you want to add a fruit flavor (guava, mango, strawberry, whatever), add purée to the original recipe. We’d even grant passage to a something like a Mango Basil Margarita, with the purée and torn basil leaves in the shaker.

    But a recipe of tequila, lime juice, spicy mango syrup, grapefruit bitters and basil leaves? Call it something else—even if that’s Margarita’s Sister.

    Ditto, an Apple Cider Margarita, tequila, apple cider, lemon juice and a cinnamon-sugar for rim.

    Ditto, tequila and lime juice with muddled cilantro.

    If you get rid of the orange liqueur and lime, it’s not a Margarita.

    Give your raspberry-tequila cocktail another name—or look it up: There aren’t many combinations that haven’t been otherwise named.

    (That said, We just looked up “raspberry tequila cocktail” and got the usual slew of Raspberry Margarita recipes, although Deliciously Organic forthrightly called it a Raspberry, Lime and Tequila Cocktail. Right on!)

    Final rant:

    The Margarita is the most popular† drink in the country.

    Give it the respect it deserves.

    Create a new name for your cocktail—just like every other drink recipe has done.

     
    ________________

    *The Margarita glass is a variation of the classic champagne coupe, and is used to serve blended fruit Margaritas and frozen Margaritas. The same glass can be used to serve shrimp cocktail and other appetizers and desserts. The glass was originally made from recycled Coke bottles, and the mottled green color of the original survive.

    †Some industry reports place the Martini first. It depends on the survey and the year.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Ice Cubes For Valentine’s Day…And More Uses For The Ice Cube Tray

    Valentine Ice Cubes

    Valentine Ice Cubes

    Heart Ice Cubes

    Flower Ice Cubes

    Pesto Ice Cubes

    Frozen Lemon Juice

    [1] and [2] Red and pink layered ice cubes (photo courtesy Ocean Spray). [3] Add some pomegranate ice cubes (here’s how from Kelly Elko).[4] Flower ice cubes: small flowers make a big impression (here’s how from Martha Stewart). [5] More ways to use an ice cube tray: save pesto (photo courtesy P&G Every Day) or [6] lemon juice (photo courtesy Food Network).

     

    These days, many people enjoy refrigerator-freezers with built-in ice makers.

    But here’s a reason to hold on to those old-fashioned ice cube trays. In addition to party ice cubes, you can also use them to make granita—and much more, as you’ll see on the list below.

    Because we’re days away from Valentine celebrations, how about some special ice? You can’t get these from a mechanical ice-cube maker!

    RECIPE: LAYERED VALENTINE ICE CUBES

    Ingredients Per Ice Cube Tray

  • 1 ice cube tray
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed (substitute frozen blueberries)
  • 1/3 cup Ocean Spray Blueberry Juice Cocktail
  • 1/2 cup Ocean Spray White Cranberry Juice Drink
  • 1/2 cup Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE 4 blueberries in each of 16 ice cube cups. Add about 1 teaspoon blueberry flavored juice. Freeze at least 1 hour or until solid.

    2. ADD 1/2 tablespoon white cranberry drink to each cup, atop the frozen blueberry layer. Freeze 1 hour of until solid.

    3. TOP with 1/2 tablespoon cranberry beverage. Freeze at least 1 hour or until solid.
     
    OTHER VALENTINE ICE CUBES

    Don’t have time or desire to layer ice cubes? These are much easier:

  • Aril ice cubes (photo #3): just water, pomegranate arils and a heart-shaped ice cube tray.
  • Berry ice cubes (photo #4): make them with water or pomegranate juice, in regular or heart-shaped trays.
  • Flower ice cubes (photo #5): Add small flowers to water. If you’re using them in drinks, be sure the flowers are organic (otherwise they have pesticides).
  • Plain red or pink hearts: Add red fruit juice or pink lemonade to heart or conventional ice cube trays.
  •  
    MORE USES FOR ICE CUBE TRAYS

    Certain foods are easier to pop out if you have silicone ice cube trays; others work better with a lever pull in an old-fashioned metal tray.

    Once whatever you’re making is frozen, you can transfer the cubes to a freezer bag for storage. Here are some ideas to try.

    Drinks

  • Chill beverages without diluting them. Make ice cubes with leftover coffee, tea, coconut milk, juice, etc. (freeze tomato juice for Bloody Mary’s).
  • Similarly, smoothies! Freeze fruits and vegetables to pop into the blender.
  • Make pretty ice cubes. Add berries, fruits, citrus peel, etc.
  • Deconstruct cocktails. For example, for a Piña Colada, try adding frozen pineapple juice and coconut cream cubes to a glass of rum.
  • Jell-O shots!
  •  
    Desserts & Snacks

  • Make dessert bites. An ice cube tray is great for making miniature desserts, from fancy (chocolate-covered cherries) to casual (mini Rice Krispies Treats).
  • On-a-stick. From frozen cheesecake to juice pops and yogurt pops, you can make something different on a stick every week.
  • Make your own Chunkys & PB cups: Melt your chocolate of choice, blend in nuts, seeds, raisins or other dried fruits; and set in the fridge. For peanut butter cups, layer melted chocolate and peanut butter and refrigerate until set.
  • Make chocolate squares. Fill the compartments partially, so you end up with bite-size chocolate tiles. Add whatever you like to flavor: spices, coconut, etc.
  •  
    Cooking

    For the first two: Once your cubes are frozen, pop them from the tray into a resealable freezer bag. For precise measures, determine in advance what the tray compartments hold.

  • Freeze extras and leftovers: From lemon juice and stock/broth to wine and bacon fat, you’ll have the perfect size to pop [frozen] into soups, stews and sauces.
  • Freeze herbs. Hard herbs like oregano, sage, thyme and rosemary defrost better than soft herbs like dill and basil. Pack the ice cube trays with 3/4 herbs and 1/4 olive oil. Toss a cube directly into the pan to season eggs, sauces, etc.
  • Freeze garlic and ginger. First, purée them before adding them to the compartments. This also works with pesto (as is—no additional work required).
  • Freeze buttermilk. Buttermilk is pricey, and a recipe often requires just a quarter or half a cup. Freeze the leftover buttermilk; you’ll need it again soon.
  • Make sushi. It’s hard for amateurs to hand-form nigiri rice beds. Fill the compartments with seasoned rice, pop them out and lay the fish or other toppings onto them.
  •  
    More Uses

    There are household uses, from homemade detergent cubes to starting seedlings. Just look online!

     

    HISTORY OF THE ICE CUBE TRAY

    Before the advent of the ice cube tray, ice for drinks and similar purposes was chipped from large blocks with an ice pick.

    An American physician, John Gorrie, built a refrigerator in 1844 to make ice to cool the air for his yellow fever patients. The refrigerator produced ice, which he hung from the ceiling in basins to cool the hot air.

    Some historians believed that Dr. Gorrie also invented the first ice cube tray in its current form. He is known to have given his patients iced drinks to cool them down.

  • The Domestic Electric Refrigerator, produced in 1914 by Fred Wolf, contained a simple ice cube tray.
  • By the 1920s and 1930s ice cube trays were commonplace in refrigerators.
  • The first flexible ice tray was launched in 1933, invented by Guy Tinkham. Silicone was still decades ahead; Tinkham’s tray stainless steel, with points that would eject the ice cubes.
  • The first rubber ice cube tray was launched by Lloyd Groff Copeman, also in 1933. Five years earlier, he had noticed that slush and ice flaked off his rubber boots, and set about designing different types of rubber trays.
  •  
    Ice Cube Trivia

    You may have noted that commercially-made ice cubes are completely clear, while homemade cubes from the fridge are cloudy in the center.

     

    Metal Ice Cube Tray

    Popping Out Ice Cubes

    [6] The old-fashioned metal ice cube tray with a removable divider (photo courtesy West Elm). [7] Silicone trays make it easy to pop out the cubes.

     
    Cloudy ice cubes result when the water is high in dissolved solids. Commercial ice-makers use purified water, with cooling elements on the bottom. The cooling process allows any bubbles to be washed away from the top as the cubes grow larger.

      

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