Ice has been big on my mind lately, not least of which because of the entire family of ear-worms that have taken up residence in my skull after seeing Disney’s iceapalooza Frozen. (If you haven’t seen it, consider going, even if you don’t have kids.) My ice thoughts may also have been prompted by Earth pulling its atmospheric hat down over its forehead, leaving 90% of the US feeling like it got relocated to Birds-Eye warehouse. Screw you, California! (Shakes mittened fist) Also, a lot of excellent ice reading has appeared on the web in the last few days that is worth a post that rounds it all up for you.
I’ll start with the straight cocktail ice stuff. Thrillist’s Scotchtales blog has two excellent articles on ice geekery in drinks. The first is 9 Crazy Historical Facts About the Ice in Your Drink. (They are hiring Buzzfeed headline writers over there, apparently) The big takeaway from the article is how large an industry cutting ice from frozen lakes (back to Kristoff from Frozen again) and shipping it world-wide was before, and even for a while after, mechanical refrigeration was invented. It’s an entertaining read, full of skullduggery, bankruptcy, slander, and fingertips being lost to
frost bite. Also, we are reminded that the only thing worse for a French politician’s reputation than not leaving his mistress for a hotter mistress is serving hot wine.
The companion piece by Ted Smith, is Want Better Drinks? Use Better Ice. The experienced cocktail ice manipulator will find little new here, but it is a good outline of why different ice for different jobs is so useful a pice of knowledge. There is other stuff to read too, along with some cool pics.
In the non-cocktail centric ice news, did you know that there is an ice-obsessed international sporting event taking place shortly? If not, NBC wants a word with its marketing department, because they missed you.
There is a lot of folderol in that video, but there is also perhaps the best explanation of why skates and skis work I’ve seen. Ice isn’t just slippery, it is uniquely slippery.
Gizmodo asks a really fascinating question, What Happens When Water Freezes in a Box so Strong it Can’t Expand? It turns out this is a question perilously close to “Can God make a rock so heavy she can’t lift it?” Water really, really, really wants to expand when it crystallizes. It exerts about 43,500 pounds per square inch of pressure when freezing… I don’t know about you, but even if I held my ice mold closed with my bare hands, I couldn’t even manage half that pressure. There’s lots more here about the fact that there are all sorts of exotic ice forms that can be created with crazy pressures and temperature, but I think we’re safe from ungodly snooty Williamsburg cocktail dens telling us your Old Fashioned isn’t “authentic” without a cube of Ice VII to chill it… for a while yet, at least.
Now, a lot of Americans who weren’t used to Polar Vortexes wanted to give the instant snow trick a try, and got burned. Apparently, you shouldn’t throw the boiling water straight up over your head.
I think this trick is best left to the Canadians, who show the singular lack of judgement to live in a place where it can be practiced more than once every twenty years. And, since everyone knows that Canadians are just Russians who speak English, but don’t document their shenanigans with omnipresent dashcams, I include here for your pleasure the best snow-making video I’ve been able to find:
Given that this guy is speaking in English, I suspect this video is actually a KGB plot to get Americans to kill ourselves so the Russians don’t have to.
I will close with some advice form Dave Wondrich that I mentioned earlier in the SideBlog. Twitter is a hard medium in which to impart real, advanced cocktail knowledge, but Dave absolutely nails it on the subject of ice:
— David Wondrich (@DavidWondrich) January 14, 2014