A Manhattan will set you back $14 at forthcoming downtown restaurant and bar Second State. Want it on the rocks? That will be a dollar moreâ€”for a total of $15.
The Pennsylvania-themed spot, which is set to open in the former Mighty Pint space at 1831 M St. NW on Oct. 21, will be the first place in D.C. with an ice surcharge listed on its cocktail menu. (Most bars eat the cost or build it into the price of the drink.) Granted, these are no freezer-burned, generic tray cubes. This is the fancy, unclouded artisanal stuff from D.C.’s boutique ice company, Favourite Ice, founded by local bartenders Owen Thomson and Joseph Ambrose. Second State bartenders will chip off the eight corners for a more spherical shape that sits in the glass like an iceberg.
Mother Jones reports that ice cube connoisseurship is actually already a national fad (and the green-on-the-outside-pink-on-the-inside left is all in a dither about its environmental impact).
Yes, artisanal ice is now a thing. In hipster meccas from Portland to Williamsburg, bars are serving up their drinks on extra-dense, extra-clear cubes, produced through a laborious process of freezing and carving. Cocktail connoisseurs swear the difference in flavor is worth the extra effort: In addition to being more aesthetically pleasing, the cubes’ density and relatively large size mean they melt more slowly and dilute your drink less. …
Demand for artisanal ice grew out of the past decade’s “cocktail renaissance”â€”the rise of small-batch liquor producers, the rediscovery of pre-Prohibition recipes, and an increasing emphasis on fresh, homemade ingredients. …
[Artisanal ice is made] in a special type of freezer called a Clinebell machineâ€”the same device that ice sculptors use to form the blocks they carve into statues for weddings and bar mitzvahs. Most freezers chill water from the top down, which traps air bubbles under the upper layer of ice and leads to a cloudy cube. Clinebells cool from the bottom up, circulating the top layer of water to get rid of bubbles until it’s all frozen. Every three days, the machine spits out two 300-pound, crystal-clear chunks of ice, which [the specialist dealer] then break down with saws and deliver to clients around the city.
Is this the end? The end of the hipster and the new beginning for normal people? I doubt it but its wishful thinking. One would think that when a couple of douchebag ****** ******* hipsters decide to charge people extra for â€œartisanalâ€ ice in their drinks, that weâ€™ve hit rock bottom and things are sure to get better. May lightning strike these ******* ***********.
Eric Felten, in his weekly cocktail column in the Wall Street Journal, supplies the history.
The Tom Collins … got its start in the 19th century, named after a notorious hoax that spread in the summer of 1874.
The original prank went something like this: A friend would run into you on the street and, with great concern, tell you he just overheard someone named Tom Collins at a bar down the street saying hateful and libelous things about you. You race to that bar to confront the bounder, where you would be told that Tom Collins had just left for a bar several blocks away. When you get there, Collins would already have decamped for another joint across town. As you chase all over the city, your friends convulse with laughter.
Soon, not in on the joke, newspapers in cities across the country were reporting on people trying to find the scurrilous fellow. “Tom Collins Still Among Us,” the Decatur, Ill., Daily Republican reported in June 1874. “This individual kept up his nefarious business of slandering our citizens all day yesterday. But we believe that he succeeded in keeping out of the way of his pursuers. In several instances he came well nigh being caught, having left certain places but a very few moments before the arrival of those who were hunting him. His movements are watched to-day with the utmost vigilance.”
When the papers realized it was all a gag, they got in on the act. The Daily Republican kept playing along for months, gamely reporting that Collins had been spotted in San Luis Obispo, Calif., on his way to Arizona. “Next spring,” the paper predicted, Collins “will jauntily enter the South American republics.”
It doesn’t take much to imagine how Tom Collins came to be a drink. How many times does someone have to barge into a saloon demanding Tom Collins before the bartender takes the opportunity to offer him a cocktail so-named? Indeed, you have to wonder if the whole Tom Collins stunt wasn’t a marketing gimmick to promote pub-crawling.
1Â½ oz gin
Juice of Â½ lemon
Â¼-Â½ oz simple syrup, or 1-2 tsp. sugar
2-3 oz soda water.
Build on the rocks in a short highball glass (what was once called, appropriately enough, a “Collins glass”). Garnish, if you like, with cherry, and orange or lemon slice.
The Wall Street Journal has a regular Saturday cocktail column by Eric Felten. This week’s edition discusses the Mint Julep.
Felton quotes Walker Percy, who wrote that Juleps
are drunk so seldom that when, say, on Derby Day somebody gives a julep party, people drink them like cocktails.” A proper cocktail is made with a couple of ounces of liquor at most. By contrast, “a good julep holds at least five ounces of Bourbon,” Percy noted. After folks unthinkingly toss back a few Juleps, “men fall face-down unconscious, women wander in the woods disconsolate and amnesic, full of thoughts of Kahlil Gibran and the limberlost.