It’s hot. You seek relief by way of an iced drink, only to find that the ice has melted before your very eyes and transformed the once-perfect refreshment into an insipid watery version of its former self. Ice melting in water is fine, but ice melting in iced coffee, for instance, makes for a diluted beverage that gets worse the longer it takes to drink. What to do? It really couldn’t be simpler: don’t make ice with plain water, try these flavored ice cubes!
1. For Iced Coffee
Ice cubes for iced coffee can be made in a few ways. You can make ice cubes with regular-strength coffee and add it to your chilled coffee. You can also make espresso ice cubes and add them directly to milk/milk alternative to create the opposite experience of iced coffee; the more the ice melts, the stronger the coffee gets.
2. For Iced Tea
You can make straight tea ice cubes, but you can also make lemon and honey ice cubes that will tart up and sweeten your drink as they melt. Adding some lemon pieces to the ice is pretty, too (just make sure you use organic lemons or scrub the rinds well first). Also, play around with any other flavors you like with tea; grated ginger, peach slices, rose petals… the possibilities are almost endless.
3. For Punch
Any proud 1950s housewife with a perky punch bowl probably knew her away around an ice mold; a fine art that went the way of cheese balls and deviled ham pinwheels. But it’s festive and brilliant.
Start with a small Bundt pan or muffin tin or whatever container you have that would make a nice mold, and fill it with a mix of ingredients that will be featured in the punch, then freeze. For a punch bowl, it is better to use bigger mold rather than an ice-cube tray, since the punch will be at room temperature longer and cubes will melt more quickly. Do be careful of decreasing the ice’s ability to freeze by adding too much booze; do not be afraid to add pretty fruit to the mold before freezing to make it even more decorative.
4. For Cocktails
For mixed drinks, you can use whatever mix you are planning on employing and freeze some of it in ice cube trays before cocktail hour begins. You can be straightforward, like lime, sugar and mint for mojitos; or you can add a twist to the ice, say lime and watermelon to turn regular margaritas into watermelon ones. Great for sangria, too.
5. For Sparkling Water
For sparkling water, it’s amazing what flavored ice cubes can do. Seriously, let you imagine run rampant here. Plain lemon or lime, great… but you can also use any kind of juice, cucumbers, fruit, herbs, flower petals, and whatever other flavors you might want to spike your seltzer with.
6. For Smoothies
The secret to smoothie success may be this simple trick: never use plain ice. You can either make juice or fruit puree ice cubes to use when making a smoothie, or you can make whole fruit ice cubes. Which really aren’t ice cubes at all, but serve the same function and are a fantastic way to use up fruit that may not have much of a shelf life left. Slice bananas, stone fruit or berries and place them in a freezer-safe container and freeze. You will be rewarded with a constant supply of non-ice ice cubes, and you will never have a watery smoothie again.
This article was originally published on www.NaturallySavvy.com