“Let’s Get Fussy About Ice”
It’s official. I have a new favorite toy. And it’s name is Neat. Like many cocktail aficionados out there, I have a thing for clear ice. I’m not a chemistry expert, but I’m pretty sure that cloudy ice contains flavor-blocking particles that inhibit maximum cocktail enjoyment. The research on this topic is still in the early stages, but in our hearts, we all know the benefits of clear ice. Sadly, it has been but a dream for the home mixologist. Sure, if I had the space to start an entire ice operation, with chainsaws and chisels and everything, I would, but I’m pretty sure the neighbors would complain.
For too long I was resigned to cloudy ice, and then I heard about this Kickstarter campaign. The guys at Studio Neat want to “get fussy about ice,” and I was all too ready to get on board. Unfortunately I heard about the campaign too late to pledge, so I had to wait for the Neat Ice Kit to hit the broader market. After much patience, the day finally came. And I was not disappointed.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the product, the Neat Ice Kit includes a special ice mold that is designed to force the freezing process to begin at the top, rather than from multiple sides. As the freezing progresses, the mold pushes the air bubbles and impurities down to the bottom. The result is a block of ice with one half perfectly clear, and the other cloudy. Once freezing is complete you can use the included chisel and muddler/mallet to split the ice down the middle. You’re then left with a beautifully clear ice cube for your favorite cocktail.
As an added bonus, the kit includes a Lewis Bag that you can use (along with the muddler/mallet) to crush your cloudy ice. And if I may say, that process is in itself more than a little bit fun. (And more effective than the various other ice-crushing techniques I’ve tried.)
I’m always incredibly pleased when I find a specialty product that works exactly as advertised. The Neat Ice Kit does everything it claims to do, and it does it all well. The clear ice cube (post-split) is very sizable, and I even had to shave it down a bit just to get it to fit in my rocks glasses. The process is easy, intuitive, and fun. And most importantly, it’s one more step towards achieving the perfect cocktail.
For my inaugural clear-ice drink I went with a classic Negroni. Of course, much more testing will be required to ensure that the ice works equally well in all my other favorite drinks. Yeah. It’s going to be a great few months.