What we love about these ice cubes is that as they melt away, they end up adding something new and complex to your drink. Check out these amazing ice cube recipes.
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.
Image Credit: Flickr/ unicoletti
Rainbow Ice Cubes
A rainbow of drinks, indeed. Barrangou shares how to make these colorful drinks, by layering different fruit purées into freezer trays. What fruits should you use? Cherries (red), apricots (orange), peaches (yellow), kiwis (green), and blueberries (blue). Create individual fruit purées, then layer purées into each cube slot in the freezer tray, one teaspoon at a time. Freeze to create a rainbow fruit cube. With some soda water, you’ve got yourself a colorful and fruity drink in no time.
You can also add in full fruit slices to the ice cubes for a fruity drink. Celebrations.com advises to cut fruit into wedges small enough to fit into a single ice cube cell. Mix and match fruits to your liking, or if you are making a cocktail, according to the drink’s ingredients. (And don’t be afraid to try herbs in ice cubes, too: basil, mint sprigs, and rosemary can make a nice addition to your drink.) Fill cells about 3/4 of the way full with spring water and freeze for about 1 to 2 hours or until completely set.
1-1/2 cups lemon juice
3/4 cup honey
9 cups water
28 small pieces assorted fruit and berries
Combine lemon juice and honey in a large pitcher; stir until honey is dissolved. Stir in water. Place 2 pieces of fruit in each compartment of 2 ice cube trays. Fill each compartment with honey lemonade and freeze until firm. Chill remaining lemonade. To serve, place frozen fruit cubes in tall glasses and fill with lemonade. Makes about 8 servings.
Image Credit: Courtesy of National Honey Board
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.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
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.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
Lettuce Ice Cubes
Sounds a little out there? Imagine a lettuce ice cube in your Bloody Marys, says Swet -- especially a “BLT” Mary with bacon-infused vodka.Take green bibb lettuce and puree in a mixer with water, and then fine strain. Pour the mixture into molds and freeze.
Image Credit: ShutterstockIngredients
Cinnamon Ice Cubes
Just imagine the possibilities with these cinnamon ice cubes — use them for a spicy kick to your summer fruity cocktails, and these ice cubes will rescue any drink. 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.
2 ounce Grey Goose Le Poire
3/4 ounce fresh lemon Juice
1 ounce fresh orange Juice
1/4 ounce ginger syrup
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Shake, strain over cinnamon ice. Express lemon peel and discard.
Ingredients for cinnamon stock
17 ounces water
1 ounce ground cinnamon
¾ ounce cayenne
Recipe from PEARED, by Craig Schoettler for Drumbar
Image Credit: Courtesy of Drumbar
Manhattan Ice Cubes
Want to really shake up your next cocktail party? Try freezing your cocktails first. Brandon Lockman, bartender at Red Star Tavern in Portland, Ore., has figured out how to make the perfect Negroni and Manhattan by freezing liquors and aperitifs first, so that as they melt, they mix together in the perfect cocktail. For the Manhattan ice cube,Lockman freezes sweet vermouth and bitters, and then places the cube in a shot of bourbon. As the cube melts it slowly takes on the flavors and taste of a Manhattan. For the Negroni ice cubes, he freezes Aperol and vermouth to create a Negroni when added to gin (or a Boulevardier if added to bourbon).
1 ounce vermouth
A few dashes of angostura bitters, to taste
Water, to top
Add the vermouth and bitters into a large ice cube tray (about 4 ounces when they melt away). Top off with the rest with water and freeze overnight.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Red Star Tavern
Negroni Ice Cubes Recipe
2 ice cube trays (one for Aperol ice cubes, one for sweet vermouth)
Fill up 2-inch ice cube trays halfway with Aperol or sweet vermouth, and fill the ice cubes to the top with water.
Add one Aperol ice cube and one sweet vermouth to 2 ounces of gin and create a Negroni; add one Aperol ice cube and one sweet vermouth ice cube to 2 ounces of bourbon for a Boulevardier.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Red Star Tavern
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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. While we can always advocate for a little bit of a melted ice cube in a whiskey rocks glass (don't even get us started on the whiskey rocks phenomenon), a watered-down lemonade or cocktail is never delicious. That's why a little piece of fruit, a little bit of spice (think cinnamon), or even a frozen spirit ice cube (like a vermouth ice cube to make a a Negroni) can make your drink smooth from the first sip to the last. You can even make ice cubes out of your favorite drinks, like lemonade, coffee, and iced tea, to avoid ending up with a watery mess.
A few tips on making these artisanal ice cubes (when you're not freezing up vampire teeth-shaped ice cubes, of course): your squared-off ice cube trays are going to be the best vessel for these recipes. If you want to get fancy, be sure to use the perfect cubed-shape ice cube trays to get the most elegant, modern shape. And Lisa Barrangou (the author of RealSmart Baby Food), who shares her recipes for watermelon ice cubes and "rainbow" ice cubes, advises to keep a large variety of ice cubes on hand by transferring frozen cubes from freezer trays into freezer storage bags. It's good to have as many as you can on hand, especially if you'll be entertaining. Just remember that you won't want to keep these in the freezer forever; most of the fruit ice cube recipes should be used within the week so that they're fresh as possible.
Check out the slideshow above to find some innovative ice cube recipes that will transform your drink from watery to tasty.