So you're hosting a gathering and you'd like to do something a little out of the ordinary, without a lot of extra effort. How about customizing your ice offerings? Here are a few ways to make your ice look cooler than it already is.
Shape It Up
Take a muffin tin and some glass tumblers. Fill the tumblers halfway with water, then perch them in the muffin tins so they are tilted sideways. The water should reach from the bottom of the glass up to the lip. Carefully put the muffin tin into the freezer and let the glasses freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight. Voila! Triangles of ice pre-frozen into your glasses for unusual-looking frosty drinks.
Ice BallsSilicone ice ball molds work pretty well to get large, round balls of ice. However, you need to plan ahead if you want to have more than a couple balls of ice for your gathering. Store ice balls in a Ziplock baggie in the freezer and keep making more!
Ice SquaresCubes of ice? No, try CUBE of ice. Again, silicone molds are incredibly handy here. This square mold works really well for making 2" large, solid squares of ice. Just make sure you have glasses big enough to fit the cubes!
Make It ClearThere's an ongoing debate about how to make the clearest ice cubes possible. Some people swear by the boiling water method i.e.: pour boiling water directly into the ice mold and then put it in the freezer. Other people swear that freezing distilled water is the way to get clear ice. Still others claim that only with an extremely expensive machine can you actually make ice that is clear every time. What works best for you?
Add AccentsDon't want to purchase a new ice mold? No problem. Add a few ingredients to your regular ice that will give some pizzazz to any drink. For the herbal touch, put a small mint leaf or sprig of rosemary or thyme into each ice cube section before you freeze your ice mold. If you're serving fruity drinks, slices of strawberries or peaches or cucumber add color and taste. Guests requesting lemon water? How about ice cubes with slices of lemon frozen in the middle? Cold and lemon at the same time!
So go forth, clean out your freezer and start loading up those ice trays. Enjoy!