Some cocktails only work with crushed ice. Unfortunately, crushing ice into the perfect consistency can be tricky.
Also, many ways to produce crushed or cracked ice require quite some force. Using a Lewis bag, tea towel, or a hand crank ice crusher are just a few of them.
After preparing countless batches of crushed ice, we mastered our crushed ice production. Now making perfect powdery crushed ice is a matter of minutes. Here's how to do it.
How to make crushed ice easily
By far the best method for making crushed ice is using a blender. Blending ice cubes is the best and easiest way to get perfectly crushed ice.
And like with most DIY projects, there's a secret tip to get this right. Because by adding just a bit of water to the ice cubes, the blending is much easier.
And don't worry, your ice won't be watery. You can easily strain out the water after the ice is crushed. So here's how to crush ice cubes:
- Add clear ice cubes into a blender together with a bit of water. Adding at least 3 cups of ice makes it easier for the blender to process the ice, so don't use less.
- Pulse the blender until most of your ice cubes are only a quarter-inch in size.
- If the ice is ready, strain it with a large mesh strainer. If some ice sticks to the bottom, quickly pull it out with your hands, so it does not melt.
In case you don't have a blender available, here are some other, more time-consuming options for how to do crushed ice.
Alternative method: The Lewis bag
The Lewis bag is a sturdy canvas bag. Fill it with ice, close the flap, and crush the ice with a mallet. There's quite some effort and force involved in this procedure, but the results are excellent.
Making crushed ice with a Lewis bag is a professional-looking way. Therefore, should you be a fan of traditional methods, cracking and crushing your ice with this bag is a great alternative.
However, it definitely requires more effort and time to get the ice to the perfect consistency.
If you want to try it out, here are some nice sets available online.
Alternative #2: Hand cranked ice crusher
A hand-cranked ice crusher might come in handy if you want to crush your ice by hand without using a blender. They're inexpensive and easy to use.
However, most of the cheaper models don't last very long. So if you plan to get one, look for a more sturdy version.
Also, ensure you aren't too brutal when crushing your cubes. Otherwise, even the sturdiest crusher could eventually break.
When making some small batches of cracked ice for your next Mint Juleps or Rum Swizzles, this tool certainly works. But when you plan for larger amounts, stay away from this option and try to get hold of a blender.
Alternative #3: Use pebbled ice
Pebbled ice is a new trend in (home) mixology. Simply buy these mini ice cube trays, fill them with water, and put them in the freezer.
You'll get small ice cubes already close to the size of crushed ice pieces. However, these little pebbles look nice but are not actual crushed ice.
The consistency is not the same, and especially when making Swizzle cocktails, pebbled ice is a no-go. But it can be a wonderful alternative to shaken drinks like a Mai Tai.
How to store crushed ice
Once your crushed ice has the desired consistency, you can use it straight away, or you can store it for later use. Just put it into a sealable container and put it in the freezer.
Be aware, though, that some of the ice might clump together, so before using it, you might have to break some larger chunks apart.
Crushed ice cocktails
The slush-like consistency makes crushed ice cocktails the perfect summer drinks. Here are our favorites:
- Queen's Park Swizzle - A twist on the traditional Rum Swizzle cocktail.
- Whiskey Smash - A classic Whiskey cocktail made with mint, closely related to the Mint Julep.
- Mai Tai - One of the most influential tiki cocktails.
- Mint Julep - Probably the best-known Bourbon cocktail and the go-to drink at Kentucky Derby.
- 1 Blender
- 3 cups Ice cubes
- Cold water
- Put the ice cubes into the mixer and add water to cover at least half of the ice.
- Pulse blend until the ice cubes are approximately a quarter-inch in size.
- Strain, and your crushed ice is ready for use. -Or store it in a sealable container and put it in the freezer.
More bartending basics
- The 8 different types of ice in mixed drinks.
- Learn how to make clear ice cubes at home.
- Learn the different ways to use lemon juice in cocktails.
- Ice Stamps - the perfect way to add a unique touch to crystal clear ice.
- Flower garnishes for cocktails - the best ways to add a floral touch to mixed drinks.
- Learn how to make simple syrup at home.