April 5, 2013 at 12:41 PM ET
We admit it — we were a bit surprised to find out that ice cubes may be one of the most searched-for recipe terms on Google. After all, when did ice cubes get fancy? When did ice become an integral part of your drink? But with the innovative ice cube trays that are coming out (yes, even a Star Wars one), we shouldn’t be so surprised that ice cubes have become just as intricate and artisanal as the drinks they’re put in.
What we love about these ice cubes is that as they melt away, they end up adding something new and complex to your drink.
Lavender ice cubes
From mixologist Johnny Swet (the owner of Rogue & Canon and JIMMY at The James in New York City), a lavender-flavored ice cube adds great flavor for spring-themed gin drinks and surprisingly paired with bourbon and bourbon-based cocktails. Boil water with 3 to 4 teaspoons of dried lavender flowers, and let it stand 5 minutes. Then, fine-strain into your ice cube molds. If lavender is in season, place a fresh lavender flower in mold, and freeze solid.
Watermelon ice cubes
The easiest way to add watermelon to really any drink: make a vodka lemonade and add in some watermelon ice cubes, Barrangou says. Your spring entertaining just got way easier.
1 small seedless whole watermelon
Cut watermelon in 1/2 through the center, and cut each 1/2 into sections. Remove red watermelon flesh from the rind, discarding rind and adjacent white flesh. Chop 2 1/2 cups of red watermelon fruit cubes, place in a blender or food processor, and purée until smooth. Pour purée into freezer trays and freeze. Yields 15, 1-ounce cubes.
Lemon ice cubes
Swet also advises how to add some citrus to your drinks: lemon. Rather than throwing in a lemon slice, take 1 part fresh lemon juice and 1 part water and mix it together. Pour the lemon-water mixture into molds, and sink a round lemon slice in each mold. Then, freeze solid and add to your vodka cocktails, like a Tom Collins or a spiked iced tea.
Cinnamon ice cubes
Just imagine the possibilities with these cinnamon ice cubes — use them for a spicy kick to your fruity summer cocktails. At Chicago hot spot Drumbar, mixologist Craig Schoettler uses his cinnamon ice cubes for the PEARED cocktail — check out the recipes for both the cinnamon ice cubes and drink.
Recipe for PEARED, by Craig Schoettler for Drumbar
Shake, strain over cinnamon ice. Express lemon peel and discard.
Bring water to a boil, add cinnamon and cayenne. Let steep for 35 minutes. Strain. Freeze in 2-inch by 2-inch silicone ice cube mold.
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