New Cubes: 8 Recipe Ideas for Untraditional Ice Cubes
When I was a kid, I wasn’t really into action toys. I didn’t play Cowboys and Indians, never played many organized sports and never got into trouble. Give me some lumber and some nails, a spool of wire, a battery, a light bulb, some paint, a box of crayons and a pad of paper perhaps. Now we’re talkin’!
I think of myself as both an artist and a chef, and when I get to do both at the same time, well, I’m in heaven. Food is my career medium, non-edibles my hobby medium. And I love color. I think I’ve mentioned this before. My home is FULL of color, including my kitchen. So when I stop into a cookware shop like William Sonoma or Sur la Table or stores like Crate and Barrel or even Bed, Bath & Beyond, and I see all of these colorful appliances, small wares and gadgets. I can’t resist thinking of all the culinary possibilities, even if I don’t throw one in my cart.
For example, ice cube trays are increasingly an impulse buy for me. They hooked me when they started making them in silicone with bright colors and cool, fun shapes. Besides the obvious things ice cubes are meant to do (like chill your drink), just the possibilities of flavors, let alone the WAY cool shapes, have me wanting to buy them all.
I mean, really? A Titanic (TiTonic) Ice Cube with floating icebergs? I’m not sure how I feel about that. Lego® ice cubes, animals, fish, diamonds, just about anything you can think of is now an ice cube shape.
Now, beyond their original function of just keeping things chilled, another equally functional attribute is immerging. Flavor. And why not? Why shouldn’t water, which has (basically) no flavor at all, be allowed to dilute the taste of what you poured into your glass to enjoy? Why can’t ice add to the enjoyment? Even enhance it? If you think of it from a different perspective, ice can be the olives in a Martini, the celery stick in a Bloody Mary or the orange wedge in a Rum drink.
I promise you, instead of one thing, you’ll get three things: a cold drink, great new flavors and a great conversation piece. Win, win, and win. Welcome to a bigger box of crayons.
You don’t have to invest in any fancy silicone molds to make flavored ice cubes. Any ice cube tray will do. Try one of these 8 ideas to get started:
• Espresso Cubes Just pour regular espresso into your cube trays. These cubes are GREAT when added to a Chocolate Martini or even chocolate milk!
• Bloody Mary Cubes Make ice cubes out of your favorite Bloody Mary mix. They can be added to your favorite Martini.
• Mojito Cubes Mix 1 frozen limeade (with water per directions), and then add lots of freshly chopped mint. There’s no need to tell you these are great with vintage rum. Oops! I said it.
• Watermelon Cubes Puree 2 cups of seedless watermelon, and add a tablespoon of frozen lemonade concentrate.
• Tropical Coconut Cubes Use ½ cup cream of coconut, 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup pineapple juice, and 1 TBSP grenadine syrup. Once again…rum.
• Berry Cubes Puree together strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries in any combination. Mint is optional. These are wonderful in Margaritas, Screwdrivers or just about ANY tropical drink.
• Red Wine Cubes Hey! Don’t pour that red wine down the drain. Make wine cubes! They’re great in Sangria!
• Cinnamon Cubes Might sound weird, but mixologists are digging this one. Steep 2 TBSP ground cinnamon in 2 cups of HOT water for a half hour. Strain, add 2 TBSP of brown sugar and 2 tsp of PURE vanilla extract, and freeze into cubes. You can enjoy these cubes in many drinks, but bourbon is the best adult libation.
These ice cubes don’t take second billing over their liquid partners. They’re every bit a star attraction. Give one a try, and let me know if you agree.