Sunday, 27 April 2014

Summer on ice!



We all know that the consumption of chilled water or other liquids help cool the body and prevent  dehydration and induce a very pleasant sense of wellness. The basic ice cubes is the easiest way to deal with the heat and dust of the Indian summer! But why limit ice cubes to functionality alone? Yes,the primary function of ice is to cool. But there is a lot more to it. There are a million ways to add colour and texture to a drink by getting creative with ice cubes. Ice is great to dress up cocktails, iced teas, lemonades and so much more.  






Did you know that the size and shape of the ice cube matters when adding to cocktails? It should be such,that it melts slowly muting the alcohol as it goes. For crystal-clear cubes for special occasions, fill ice-trays with hot (close to boiling) filtered water, so the ice forms slowly and evenly and tiny air bubbles are released. Go beyond the usual cubes and experiment with shapes. There are a variety of silicon ice cube trays in different shapes available. Fill water as usual in silicone moulds like the one used for cake pops for ice spheres.






The simplest way to add excitement to your drink, is by freezing whole or diced fruit and herbs into your ice cubes. Or, here is an idea! Edible flower ice cubes! The shades and shapes of edible flowers look gorgeous over food. Place one flower in each square of the ice tray. Top with water and freeze. (Check once to see if flowers need to be pushed down into the cube as they tend to float). Place a generous number of these flower cubes in a glass, top with a little water and admire the incredible and simple beauty as you sip. Imagine some of our assortment of edible flowers unfurling in a drink. 






You can also crush fresh fruit mixed with a little lemonade and freeze. A Kiwi ice cube would look great with its tiny seeds studding the green pulp. Watermelon, mango, raspberry and other such fleshy fruits would work well. For instance a strawberry fruit cube would look spectacular and taste wonderful in a white wine spritzer or even with plain soda. Another great idea is to simply freeze fruit juices. So tomato juice can be frozen and added to chill and keep the savouriness of a Bloody Mary going.




Add color to your drink with rainbow ice! Freezing a drop each of red, blue, yellow, green, purple and other food colouring OR syrups to each water filled square of the ice cube tray and freeze to find ice cubes in a rainbow of shades. Add different colours to a glass, top with plain soda and get ready to impress the kids!


One of the most common grievances with ice is that it dilutes the drink as it melts. But here is a cool way to fix this problem... make your drink the ice! When making your drink, freeze some of the concentrate into ice cubes. Freeze some of the brew from your iced tea, into ice trays for ice cubes that will keep your drink chilled even as it fortifies the taste while it melts. A really versatile and easy ‘ice cube flavouring’to have on hand is a vanilla bean ice cube. Simmer milk with sugar and a scraped vanilla bean. Cool, strain and freeze in ice trays for cubes that will reinforce the creaminess of cold coffee, smoothies and milk shakes with a haunting vanilla flavour while keeping it cool. Use this trick to enhance cocktails as well. Zing up Mojitos with ice cubes that have mint leavesor lime peels and lime juice frozen into them. 


Two words. Chocolate ice. Seems impossible? It’s not. It’s really simple and tastes fantastic. To do so, melt chocolate and set aside. Gently heat milk, water, sugar, cocoa powder and instant coffee till it boils. Pour over reserved melted chocolate and mix till creamy. Once it cools down, pour into the tray and freeze for deliciously dark chocolate cubes. Add  2-3 to a glass of creamy milk for a seemingly innocent treat. 







Create a dramatic impression at any summer party. Serving punch in a large bowl, usually offers one major challenge - keeping it chilled through the evening. Keep your punches cool through the summer with wreaths of ice! In a ring mould or a Bundt cake pan smaller than your punch bowl, lay fruits like orange slices, pomegranate, cherries, apple slices. Weigh them down with a few ice cubes. Pour water until the fruits are just covered and freeze overnight. Unmould and float in your punch bowl. It will ensure the punch remains cool and pretty!



From basic ice cubes to elaborate frozen desserts, there are many ways to deal with the heat of the Indian summer. Get creative with ice cubes and frozen icy treats this summer!
 


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