Outside In

I have to say, this month’s theme for MxMo LXX: “Inverted”, has probably been the most unique one since I’ve joined this monthly cocktail party.  Steve Putney over at Putney Farms has challenged us to do some outside the box thinking on our normal approach to cocktail crafting.  Here’s what Steve has to say about his chosen theme:

“A while ago, while researching Julia Child’s recipes, we noticed that she was well-known for enjoying “upside-down” or “inverted” Martinis. This is a version of the classic cocktail that swaps the ratios of gin and vermouth, turning the Martini into something of a “long drink”… We wondered if we could apply the same “inverted” approach to Mixology Monday and, at first, didn’t think it
would work. But then we asked ourselves, what does “inverted” really mean? Well, here is the definition, “To turn inside out or upside down; to reverse the position, order, or condition of.” Hmm…it appears that the definition is pretty broad. It seems that “inverted” really just means something “flipped on its head”. And that can mean almost anything, and leaves plenty of room for creativity… You can invert the ratios of spirits, liqueurs or bitters in a cocktail, but we suggest you go beyond that and “invert” whatever you want. Spirits, name, ingredients, proof, color, geography, garnish and glassware are all fair game. An apéritif made with Navy-Strength booze? Give it a try. A beer-based cocktail that tastes like champagne? Sure. A clear Manhattan? Worth a shot (and good luck with that). The only thing we expect is the unexpected. Have fun.”

Hmm, it seems as though there are many ways to literally interpret the theme which should make for some great submissions.  I’ve been brainstorming all about which angle to come at this from, and I started thinking about how people sometimes use ice to bring flavor to cocktails in different ways such as lime ice cubes, lemon ice cubes, etc. and it occurred to me about how we normally serve our liquid concoctions in glasses and ice is usually just used as a chilling and diluting agent.  What if we considered using the ice not only for temperature and dilution control but craft a cocktail inside of ice?…

The challenge we face is that most spirits and liqueurs don’t freeze under normal conditions unless you use things like liquid nitrogen or a freezer that is set well below zero.  While it is easier to come by things like liquid nitrogen it seemed a little too winded to start delving in some molecular gastronomy, especially since I’m not looking to simply create cocktail ice cubes that would be difficult to “drink”.  But, what if we had a way to use the ice as the main chilling and serving vessel?  After doing a little a little research and few failures, it all came together into an interesting libation.

Alice’s Looking Glass
2 oz Rye
1 oz Aperol
1/3 oz Bonal Gentiane Quina
tsp Simple Syrup
1/2 tsp Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters

Stir with ice for about 10 seconds and pour into an ice shell (see method below).  Serve in a Old Fashioned glass with a lemon twist.  Use a small hammer or pick to crack open the ice to serve and enjoy.


Color:  Citrus redish orange with light brown hue.

Flavor:  Spiced rye and bitter citrus with a mild sweet sugar and allspice finish.

Texture:  Light with thin cracked ice.


Ice Shell Method

Step 1:  Fill a large ice cube style silicone tray with water.  Place in refrigerator on top rack for about 2 to 3 hours or until the ice forms a 1/3′ shell but has not frozen completely.

Step 2:  Gently insert the needle of a syringe into the thin ice and suck out the water.  Fill the syringe with your cocktail and fill the ice shell.

Step 3:  Allow the ice freeze for a few more hours to harden the shell and thoroughly chill your cocktail.

Step 4:  Carefully remove your ice shells from the silicone holder and place in a Old Fashioned Glass. Depending on the size of your ice shells you should only need one large cube or 2 medium sized cubes to get a basic 4 oz cocktail.

Step 5:  Use a small hammer to carefully crack the ice shell in the glass, garnish with an orange twist and serve.

All in all, I was quite please both with the “Cocktail Cube” and it’s flavor.  The only issue with this is that you have to be really careful extracting the ice from the silicone tray as a few cracked on me.  I read that an ice sphere is a bit easier to work with, but didn’t have enough time to order one.  Thanks Steve for hosting this month’s fantastic theme and head over to Putney Farms and Mixology Monday to check out all the “inverted” madness.  Cheers!

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