Okay, so ice probably doesn’t sound like a flavour, but the changes it makes to the drinks or dishes it’s added to are certainly as dramatic as any other ingredient. We all know sweet drinks loaded with ice taste much better than those without, but it’s also worth considering how much ice you add. One small cube will melt faster than a whole handful, so if you’re worried about things becoming too watery, then actually adding more ice is the right way to go, if a little counterintuitive.
Ice doesn’t have to be just water either: by adding additional ingredients you’ll find that their aroma and tastes are released in stages, giving you a gradual transformation from one set of flavours to another. Two drinks in one!
Moulds have become more fun as well, allowing you to shape ice into giant spheres that melt slowly in a glass of fine whisky or sea creatures, pineapples, your favourite emoji and even the Death Star.
We’ve gathered our six favourite ice cube ideas that you can easily make at home:
1. Fruity cubes
Melon and kiwi:
Cut melon and/or kiwi into cubes and freeze. Add to water or juices (they’re particularly good in fizzy water), or just eat as a fun frozen snack.
Grapefruit and orange:
Freeze freshly squeezed orange juice and grapefruit juice in mini ice cube trays, keeping the two flavours separate. Serve scattered over a bowl of thick Greek yogurt with a few pinches of granola and a drizzle of honey.
Freeze cold espresso in an ice cube tray. Shake 50ml vodka with 25ml Baileys in a shaker with some ice, then strain into a glass with the frozen coffee. Coffee ice cubes are also great in cold milk or tonic water.
3. Herbs and flowers
Try ice cubes in a green gazpacho. Freeze a mix of basil leaves, mint leaves and edible flowers such as pansies and nasturtiums into ice cube trays with water. Blitz a 160g bag of watercress, rocket and spinach salad, 1 tbsp fresh pesto, a handful mint leaves, 1 ripe avocado, 200g Greek yogurt and 2 tbsp sherry vinegar in a food processor until smooth. Garnish with a few basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil and the ice cubes.
4. Olives and brine
Pop whole pitted green olives in an ice cube tray and fill up with some of the brine from the jar. Freeze until solid. Add to chilled gin or vodka for a speedy dirty martini.
Fill an ice cube tray with Aperol, freeze until solid, then drop into glasses of lemonade or soda water.
Freeze yogurt into ice cube trays. Blend 4 yogurt ice cubes in a blender with ½ avocado, 150g raspberries and 250ml milk until smooth. Serve with a drizzle of honey, if you like.
Watch our video on how to take your cocktails to the next level with flavoured ice cubes:
Like this? See more recipes for ways to cool down using ice…
Beetroot shots with tarragon yogurt ice cubes
Iced grapes with cheddar cubes & celery
Prosecco & elderflower cocktail with flower ice cubes
Ice lolly recipes
Have you experimented with any other ice cube flavours? Let us know in the comments below…