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A New Ice Age

We'll have our cocktails on the rocks, or rock.


Caren Alpert

Order a Brooklyn cocktail at Élevé restaurant, and you might just do a double take: Keeping that mixture of rye whiskey, vermouth, Amaro Nonino, and orange bitters chilled are supersized ice cubes that look as if they’ve been chiseled straight out of a frozen New England pond. And that’s not too far off.

According to owner Michele Nguyen, these beautifully rustic 2 1/2- by 2 1/2-inch squares are cut daily, by hand, out of larger blocks of ice made from triple-filtrated water. “Customers really like it; they see this big block of ice, and it looks really fascinating and cool,” says Nguyen, explaining that the larger surface area actually prevents the ice from melting quickly and diluting the cocktails. “There is a reason for it; it’s not just aesthetics.”

And if you’re looking for that extra something to wow guests at your holiday party this year, cutting ice at home is not hard to do. You’ll just need to fill a large tray (the bigger the better, according to Nguyen) with bottled water, and place it in the freezer for 24 hours. Once it’s solid all the way through, use a serrated blade to saw the frozen block into cubes.

Just remember to cut with care: As pretty as the ice looks, it’s still just frozen—and slippery—water. 

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