Culinary Bonanza: The Science of Cocktail
Upon entering the front lounge area of Waku Ghin at Marina Bay Sands Singapore, I soon settled at the plush bar stools, all ready to witness two world class bartenders – Singapore’s Akihiro Eguchi and Taiwan’s Kazuhiro Chii – chisel their ways with their deft hand-craftsmen in quickly carving lower-than-freezing-point blocks of solid into precisely shaped diamond, square or ice balls.
Always the most challenging feat is carving the ice ball, which requires not less than 2 days and repeated chiseling process to get the perfect sphere.
Why go through so much trouble and pain just for the ice? Not many know that ice is actually a quintessential component and secret to a great glass of cocktail. Wrong choice of ice may result in over-concentrated or over-diluted cocktail, or the drink may simply be at the wrong temperature.
A rule of thumb: The greater the surface area of the ice, the faster is the melting-rate, and hence, the dilution rate of your drink.
In short, different shapes of ice have different usages:
It has a quick melting property and is perfect for concentrated, strong or fizzy drinks that has to be served supremely chilled and watered down quickly in the right amount, for instant serving. Perfect example is mojito or mint juleps. Besides, crushed ice is also ideal to prepare frozen, blended drinks like margarita or daiquiri.
It is most probably used for drinks served in tall glass (long drinks). It adds the aesthetic side for drinks served up in a rocks glass.
It is shorter than the diamond and is used for preparing shaken and stirred drinks or even for cocktails served on the rocks which are strained prior to serving.
The slow meting rate of ice ball is the reason why it is most commonly used when serving high-end cocktails or fine spirits like whiskey that are served and savored slowly.
Apparently, the water purity and chilling rate will also affect the resulting ice blocks. Pure water and slow chilling will result in clear, perfectly see-through ice blocks. The cloudiness we observe in the ice cubes made in our fridge at home is because of gases trapped inside. And since the ice trays cool it quickly, the air didn’t manage to escape before the surface is frozen.
While I think these air bubbles may not be paramount to the cocktail’s taste, it somehow, affects the aesthetics of the drink. Just think of it like diamonds: the clearer it is, the better and more pleasant it looks to our eyes, right?
Waku Ghin by Tetsuya Wakuda
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Atrium 2, L2 – 02
Tel. +65 66888507
For more delicious treats, visit author’s blog at http://culinarybonanza.blogspot.com/