SPEND: For Better Cocktails, a Big Cube That Never Melts
Big ice isn’t just to impress you. The reason bartenders use single, oversize cubes at cocktail bars is because in addition to chilling the mix, a larger cube bouncing around a cocktail shaker can actually transform the texture of the drink, aerating the liquid, resulting in a drink that looks and tastes a little bit better.
At first, Dave Arnold, the owner of Manhattan cocktail bar Booker and Dax wasn’t so sure, but after running a slew of boozy tests, Arnold discovered that it wasn’t the ice, but rather the shape and size of the cube that did the work. He realized that this meant you, the person going through a lot of trouble to get big ice cubes, could actually use a bag of bodega ice, a tray of small cubes from your home freezer, or whatever garbage ice you had handy to chill the drink, as long as you had something, anything, the size and shape of a big ice cube in your shaker, too. (Science!)
Arnold is the same person who brought us the Searzall, an attachment that turns a blowtorch into a powerful, even broiler by spreading the flame through layers of wire mesh. So of course he quickly devised an affordable big-ice hack: The BDX Cocktail Cube ($20) is a 2-inch food-safe, high-density, polyurethane cube that you can dump into your shaker along with any kind of ice for a consistently better cocktail.
His core market may be cocktail bars that spend about $1 a pop making big ice (one reason your cocktails cost what they do), but it’s even more suited to home-bar geeks. Try it out in an egg-white drink, just as Arnold suggests, like a pisco sour or a clover club. The super-creamy cap of tiny bubbles could make you a believer, too.