Ice, ice baby: Crystal-clear spheres and cubes make good cocktails great

Vancouver is home to many makers of perfectly clear artisanal ice

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      Oftentimes, the most important ingredient in a finely crafted cocktail is the one you don’t notice: ice.

      If you’ve ever ruined a drink by using stale cubes from your freezer that had been sitting there for who knows how long, you know what we mean.

      The quality, appearance, and size of shaped frozen water can distinguish a good drink from an outstanding one.

      And if you want to be one of the best bars in the world – or if you take your home cocktail-making seriously – you have to have crystal clear ice.

      Free of cracks, cloudiness, and other imperfections, crystal clear ice melts much more slowly than the standard cubes found in most people’s kitchens. With little in the way of dilution, drinks retain their flavour, temperature, and integrity much longer.

      Assuming you have too much time on your hands and the right tools, you could make your own, by filling a picnic cooler full of water and freezing it. The impurities and bubbles will sink to the bottom of the block, leaving about an inch on top of pure, clear ice that you can carve off in a slab.

      Alternatively, you could pick some up from a local maker of artisanal ice, or have it delivered to your door. You can find king cubes and perfectly shaped spheres; sometimes, these forms are completely, coolly unnoticeable.

      Kodama Ice Co. is a Japanese-style ice delivery service that supplies hand-cut crystal clear to bars, restaurants, and home-based mixologists throughout the city. Dachi is collaborating with the ice-maker for its cocktail kits and carries packs of nine cubes in its online grocer.

      Other local sources of the pure stuff include Dang Good Ice, Polar Bear Ice, On the Rocks, and Ice Decor.