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Dec 25, 2010 05:07 PM

Achieving that ice slurry on a shaken cocktail

I've been wondering for awhile now, is there a name for the slurry of finely chipped ice that floats on the top of some cocktails (typically served in a martini glass)? I would love to know the technique involved in creating this effect, but without knowing what to call it, I'm coming up blank. I assume it's a combination of the shape of ice cubes, shaking technique, and length of time spent shaking the cocktail.

That little slurry of ice really elevates something like an Aviation or a simple daiquiri, so any points in the right direction are greatly appreciated! TIA

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  1. As I recall from a distant 13 year bartending career it's all from the shaking. Take your shaker and add your typical roughly 1" x 1" cubes, libation of choice and shake the CRAP out of it. The "floaties" you desire magically appear.

    1. It's just from a long, hard shake that fractures the ice. A shake should be for around 35 seconds to achieve equilibrium. All the dilution has happened and the temp. is as low as it's going to get. Any ice, as long as it isn't too "wet", is ok, and just shake it hard. Many folks like the ice crystals for the texture in the first few sips, and many don't because they add a layer of water on top of the cocktail as they melt.

      1. In my experience, what JMF says is right on with one more thing to add--ratio of ice to water based on the size of your shaker. Basically, if there is too much liquid to ice (regardless of the quality of the ice) it is more difficult to achieve those tiny little shards. Moreover, if there is simply too much ice (regardless of liquid), you just can't create enough chaos in the shaker to start breaking things up.

        SO, make sure you don't have too much ice to start with, not too much liquid (meaning don't try to make two at once unless you have a huge shaker or like small drinks) and you should be able to slam the ice against each end (and each other) to produce those little ice diamonds.


        1. I have no proof, but I bet that very cold home ice shatters more easily into shards. My experience in ice climbing frozen waterfalls would tend to confirm this. ;-)

          I also think that a Boston shaker's height lets the ice build up more speed before hitting, and may tend to help.

          I seem to be one of the few that likes these shard, at least in some drinks. I have sentimental reasons and because I start with ice at -10*F, my drinks sometimes need a little ice in them to cook properly. But I also strain them out sometimes, too.

          2 Replies
          1. re: EvergreenDan

            I think a lot of people like the shards, despite the recent video on here about straining them out so as not to "ruin" your drink. I personally think they lend a nice touch to the first few sips, especially for drinks that are on the tart side. And there's really not that much ice there; the dilution upon melting won't seriously modify the flavor of the drink.

            I think for flips and similar creamy drinks, and of course for anything that should be stirred the shards aren't a good thing, but for most citrus-based drinks, bring 'em on!

            1. re: EvergreenDan

              From going to different bars where they have different ice types (and at home), the "crap" ice that comes out of non-KoldDraft machine and sits out for a bit before use seems to produce the most shards when shaken hard.

              KoldDraft seem to bounce off each other a lot more and stay more intact.

              Home ice (like Tovolo trays or other straight from the freezer) are somewhere in the middle.

              In most drinks, I'm not a big fan but it depends on how high falutin the place is (for a $10-13 drink, I expect it to be double strained) for me to even comment.

            2. I bought a stainless steel shaker that had an Ice chopper insert. You put ice in the shaker slam down on the plunger a couple of times, remove the chopper and add booze etc. I got the slush consistently by pre freezing the shaker so there was minimal melting.

              6 Replies
              1. re: TheDewster

                Is that for making frappe drinks? Sounds quite interesting; what brand is it? (Or just send a link if possible?)

                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                  I'll have to check got it at the Peppermill in Toronto.

                  1. re: TheDewster

                    Interesting. I had only seen these in vintage shops. Didn't know they still made them.

                    1. re: yarm

                      It is made by Moha the admin erased my post

                      1. re: TheDewster

                        I really don't understand the sudden increase in senseless overmoderation in this forum. First it's Dan trying to post a recipe, and now we can't share brand names or information about where to procure equipment?

                        Give it a rest, mods!!! We're keeping things VERY MUCH on-topic here. Please back off and let us use this forum for its intended purpose.

                        1. re: davis_sq_pro

                          Well said but I did post a whole Amazon page so they see it as an advertisement. But to limit me to a sentence or two is sad, I just tried to help you know?