How to Make Clear Ice

oldfashoined

Life is way too short to endure substandard cocktails. While reasonable people can bemoan the pretentiousness of the present hipster, bearded, chef-driven, artisinal, epoch we find ourselves in at the moment, let me just say I don’t miss what passed for cocktails in my youth. Here’s how mixology math used to work in the dark ages: Maguerita=tequila+sweet and sour mix.  Old fashion=whisky+sweet and sour mix. Mai Tai=rum+sweet and sour mix.

What the cocktail sages of Brooklyn and Silver Lake have taught us is that ingredients matter. Take, for instance, the ice.

What if you could make ice as glorious as a pristine iceberg spotted on a bright and sunny arctic summer day? Isn’t a cocktail as much an experience for the eyes as well as the tongue? Thankfully it’s easy to make clear ice free of cloudy impurities. Here’s how you do it:

1. Take a small cooler and fill it almost to the top with water and stick the cooler in the freezer. Leave the top of the cooler off. The insulation in the cooler will cause the water to freeze from the top down. The minerals and impurities in the water that cause cloudy ice will settle to the bottom of the cooler. Later, you will harvest the pristine, clear ice off the top. I filled my cooler with tap water that I filtered with a counter top water filter. A side note on water filters–our tap water tastes better when filtered–depending on where you live you may not need to filter it.

2. Around 24 hours later take the cooler out of the freezer, run some water over the ice (to help release the ice) and turn the cooler upside down. You should have around two inches of ice on the top of the cooler and a lot of unfrozen water on the bottom which will pour out all over your counter and floor (watch out for this!). The water is a good thing. You don’t want to freeze the whole block as you will have to separate the clear ice from the cloudy ice.

3. If all goes as planned you’ll be left with a block of clear ice. To cut the ice into cubes, score the ice with a bread knife and give the top of the knife a tap with a rubber mallet. I like to make large cubes for mixing old fashions but you can cut the ice into any size you like. Put the cut cubes in a bag in the freezer.

4. Invite your friends over for some high-end cocktails.

One tip: try not to jostle the cooler in the freezer. If you do you might end up with some irregularities that will make it more difficult to cut the ice block into neat cubes.

There’s a thin margin between the gutter and the stars when it comes to cocktails and an extra step such as simple as chilling the glass or flaming the orange twist can make a huge difference. Something as simple as clear ice can elevate a drink from mediocrity into cocktail glory.

For more details, watch the Cocktail Chemist explain how to make clear ice in both blocks, rectangles and spheres:

Save

100 Eric Rochow of Garden Fork on Maple Syrup, Welding and Cast Iron

gfork
Listen to “100 Eric Rochow on Maple Tapping, Welding and Cast Iron” on Spreaker.
On this, the 100th episode of the Root Simple podcast we talk with Garden Fork impresario Eric Rochow about his adventures in maple syrup making, learning how to weld and the controversial topic of maintaining cast iron. During the show we touch on a lot of things including:

Also, Eric wants to know how many Root Simple readers/listeners follow Garden Fork. Send him an email at [email protected] You can also find Eric on the Garden Fork podcast, the Garden Fork Youtube channel, Garden Fork for in Facebook and at GardenFork.tv.

If you’d like to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

Save

099 The Amazing Sourdough Breads of Guy Frenkel

guyportrait

Listen to “099 The Amazing Sourdough Breads of Guy Frenkel” on Spreaker.

Guy Frenkel is one of the most talented bakers I’ve met. If you’ve seen his whole grain, sourdough breads in Instagram (@Ceorbread) and Facebook you’ll know why I had to interview him. During the podcast we talk about his unique baking techniques such as yeast water, stencils and colored doughs. Even if you’re not a baker you’ll be inspired by Guy’s enthusiasm, persistence and creativity. Here are the links Guy mentions:

Guy’s social media: @Ceorbread in Instgram, Ceor Bread Facebook, Guy Frenkel in Facebook.

If you’d like to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

Save

Save

How to Roast Coffee Photonovel

coffee roasting picYesterday afternoon, on a whim, I decided to experiment with a new/old educational format: the photonovel. It’s something you see more in Latin America and Italy than in English speaking countries. I thought I’d use this genre to tackle one of my favorite homesteading activities: stove-top coffee roasting. You can download my brief coffee roasting photonovel here (PDF). It’s a rough draft but if you like it I’ll do more, and maybe turn one into a telenovela.

And, please, try roasting coffee sometime. It’s my favorite activity here at Root Simple labs!

Save

Learn How To Bake Sourdough Bread with Dana Morgan February 18th

Screen Shot 2017-02-04 at 9.32.46 AM
Want to learn how to bake your own tasty sourdough loaves? Take a class with the Los Angeles Bread Baker’s amazing instructor Dana Morgan on February 18th at the community oven in Westchester. Not to be missed!

This small class will teach you the basics of Tartine-style sourdough bread baking. Come learn about making and maintaining sourdough starter and how to mix, divide, shape and time the fermentation of amazing artisan bread inspired by Chad Robertson at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. Prepare your sourdough in class and bake it at home the next day. Ingredients for your bread will be provided.

Head over to the Los Angeles Bread Baker’s Meetup to sign up.