Kickstarter Watch: Neat Ice Kit

Here’s a … neat idea: the Neat Ice Kit, by a couple of guys out of New York City. For those who care about the clarity of ice they use in cocktails, here’s a way to make perfectly clear ice at home, without wasting any of the cloudy stuff.

See, ice normally freezes from the outside in, which forces gas into the center of the ice. That gas clouds up as it freezes. There’s not normally any way around this, unless you insulate the ice tray in some fashion. (Camper English has done A LOT on this topic, if you want to know more.)

What this kit does is insulate the sides and bottom of a brick-shaped ice mold. The ice freezes top down, forcing the gasses to the bottom, where they freeze cloudy. The top freezes clear. So you lop off the top, use it for cocktail presentation, and use the cloudy bottom for crushed ice or for shaking drinks or whatever.

(Don’t touch my cloudy bottom, though. Mrs. Bitters will have words.)

The kit, if the Kickstarter pans out, will include the mold, an ice chisel, a mallet/muddler, and a bag in which to hammer ice into crushed form.

I’m not normally all that bothered by cloudy ice at home, but even I think this is a nifty project.

By the way, these guys have a track record of successful Kickstarter products, if that matters to you. The Glif iPhone holder/tripod looks really cool to me.

MCC: Where to find me

Oh yeah, there’s a blog here.

Anyway, I’ll be at Manhattan Cocktail Classic this weekend, and an ancillary event or two. I’m not going out for everything possible because I have a kid and a pregnant wife and not a lot of money for childcare and ticketed events. As it is, Jen’s taking off Tuesday afternoon so I can do the Expo, which means I’m skipping Monday’s events and hopefully submitting a writeup of the weekend to Serious Eats.

Schedule

Tonight, 6pm – 10pmSpeed Rack Finals, Element Nightclub, 225 E. Houston.

Tomorrow, 9pm – 1am, MCC Gala, NYPL.

Saturday, 11:00am – 7:30pm, Industry Invitational, Andaz Hotel, 485 5th Ave

Sunday, 11:00am – 7:30pm, Industry Invitational, Andaz Hotel, 485 5th Ave

Tuesday, 3:30 – 5:00, Indie Spirits Expo, Penn Club, 30 W. 44th St.

Grand Centennial

Friday, Grand Central Terminal marks its 100th-anniversary with a grand celebration, and with that fête comes a bit of cocktail news.

First, some of the station’s vendors are offering 1913 pricing on some items. For example, a nickel will buy you a shoe shine, or six pennies will earn you a loaf of rye bread. But Michael Jordan’s Steak House in the main concourse is offering a 75¢ Adirondack cocktail, from its transit-themed cocktail menu.

Meanwhile, DNAinfo reports that for the 2013 price of $15, The Campbell Apartment offers a glass of Centennial Punch, a mix of papaya, pomegranate and lemon juices, plus Hendrick’s Gin, Sandeman Founder’s Reserve port, and champagne.

I’ll probably be at GCT tomorrow to enjoy some of the festivities, but I’ll have a baby strapped to my chest, so I don’t think I’ll partake in a libation.

Appleton Remixology

I don’t really know what’s up with these faux holidays. Today, for example, is National Rum Day. I have no idea why, who declared it such, or why we don’t have a day off work for it, but such it is.

One night last week, I found myself at Sons of Essex bar, on Essex Street on the Lower East Side. The event was Appleton Estate’s Remixology competition, meant to coincide with Jamaican Independence Day. The concept was simple: five bartenders were invited to choose a song they really liked and devise a cocktail to accompany the song.

Sons of Essex had bartending stations set up around the bar, with the five cocktails in various forms of premix. (So, for example, a cocktail might be premixed up to the point at which the bartender would top it with something that needed to be fresh, such as champagne or ginger beer.)

The winner was a cocktail I found a little odd, a blend of Appleton Estate, lime juice, falernum, and black bean soup.

Yes. Bean soup. Probably one of the strangest ingredients I’ve had in a cocktail.

It didn’t have the texture of bean soup, so I have to assume it was pureed or strained. I generally liked the flavor it added to the drink, I have to say. I just thought it skewed the drink farther into savory territory than I normally like in a cocktail.

(Although I have to say, that alone made it a pleasant surprise; some of the drinks that night were far too sweet for my tastes.)

The winner was Lubens Besse from Mister H and Imperial No 9 in the Mondrian Soho. He moves on to a finals round on September 10, versus winning bartenders from similar events in San Francisco, Boston, and Miami.