How often were you in the mood for a mojito or an ice-cold mint julep but had to put off the plan because you didn’t have crushed ice? Luckily, that shouldn’t be a problem because making crushed ice yourself is pretty straightforward, given you have the required tools. There are several occasions when we opt for crushed ice over regular ice cubes.
We all know that crushed ice translates to an increased surface area; therefore, it cools drinks more quickly when compared to ice cubes. They work wonders for smoothies, cocktails, and juices. Classic cocktails like mai tais and Moscow mules rushing ice is not a big deal. You can choose various methods, ranging from the use of a Lewis bag to a simple plastic sealable bag, everything that we’ll be covering here.
How To Use A Lewis Bag
To use a Lewis bag to crush ice, start by opening your Lewis bag and filling it up to half its length with the required number of ice cubes. Ensure you leave at least 2 inches of space near the unfilled opening. This is because you need to provide your ice with some room so that it is able to move apart and easily move around in the bag. Practically, it is relatively easier to crush a thin layer of ice than a bag of ice filled to the neck.
Before you’re ready to crush the ice, roll up the flap of the Lewis bag to secure the ice cubes. This step ensures your ice cubes don’t pop out of the bag once you start crushing them. Now you can use a rolling pin or a wooden muddler or a mallet to break the ice. Smack the bag using your tool to crush the ice cubes. Use the required amount of force only. Crushing ice is undoubtedly an easy process, especially when using a Lewis bag. Once you’ve finished crushing the ice, use an ice scoop to put the crushed ice into your glass and begin making your cocktail.
A lewis bag is often used to crush ice because the canvas absorbs any surplus liquid. Therefore, once your ice is crushed, you’re only left with dry pieces of crushed ice. A Lewis bag is easily available online or at a nearby bartending store. Additionally, a lewis bag comes in with a wooden mallet to help you crush ice.
Lewis Ice Bag Care Tips
- Wash your Lewis ice bag once before you start using it for crushing ice.
- Use cold water to machine wash your bag on a gentle cycle. After that, the machine dries only on a medium setting.
- If you want to ensure proper cleanliness, you can store your Lewis bag by wrapping it in a bar towel that is clean and dry.
- Note that your bag will soften and possibly get broken within a few weeks.
- If you find any stains on your bag, soak it in a mild bleach water solution.
- When it comes to storage, your ice bag should be placed with its open end facing downwards to remove any leftover ice and moisture.
- Fill your Lewis ice bag with the number of ice cubes that you’d require for only one or two drinks.
- You can pair your Lewis bag with McSology Muddle Mallet for best results. You can also go for any other blunt and wooden object with soft edges.
- It is not recommended to go for a rubber mallet. If you opt for a metal mallet, it’ll simply shorten the useful life of your Lewis ice bag.
- Don’t use your maximum force when crushing ice using a Lewis bag. It’ll simply wear off the bag. Instead, use light whacks to crush your ice.
How To Crush Ice
There are several ways you can crush ice. Here, we’ll discuss the top three methods.
Use a Blender or a Food Processor
In this method, take out the required number of ice cubes from your freezer and put them in a food processor or a blender. You can also make a big batch if you plan on storing the excess in the refrigerator. This method works wonders, especially if all the ice cubes are about the same size. Now tightly secure the light of your appliance and plug it in. Blend the ice using the pulse button in short bursts.
Repeat this process until no large ice cubes are left or until you’ve achieved the desired size of your crushed ice. If your blender or food processor is devoid of a pulse button, you can simply go for the highest speed setting. Once the crushing is done, pour the ice that you’ve crushed through a strainer to remove the excess water.
Use the crushed ice to either make your cocktails right then or store in a sealable, plastic freezer bag and place it in the freezer for future use. Try to use the stored crushed ice as soon as possible because it melts faster than large ice cubes. Note that if you freeze crushed ice, there are strong chances that some of it will freeze back collectively. But it’ll be easier for you to break it apart. All you need to do is simply crush it inside the stored bag.
Use a Lewis bag to smash ice
As discussed already, you can use a Lewis bag to smash ice. Simply put the desired amount of ice cubes inside the bag. Position the Lewis bag on a hard surface like the counter. Make sure you choose a surface that will not get damaged when you crush the ice using a muddler or mallet.
Roll up the end of the bag and smash the ice using a wooden mallet or any other heavy kitchen utensils like a meat tenderizer. You can even go for a regular hammer to crush the ice. Continue smashing the ice until there are no bigger chunks left. Once done, you can use it for your cocktails or store it in your freezer in a plastic bag.
Muddle your ice in a cocktail shaker
Take out ice from the refrigerator and straightaway put it in the cocktail shaker anytime you’re planning to make a drink. Make sure you fill the cocktail shaker only halfway with the ice cubes.
This method of crushing ice is particularly feasible when you’re crushing ice for a ready-to-consumer cocktail. You can simply put in the other ingredients over the crushed ice in the cocktail shaker.
Once you’ve put in the desired number of ice cubes, position the cocktail shaker on a hard surface and make use of your non-dominant hand to hold it in its position. Now smash the ice using a sturdy muddler until it is crushed to the required size. For this purpose, you can use a stainless steel cocktail muddler or a traditional wood muddler.
Tips For Crushing Ice
Following are the general tips for crushing ice.
- You can crush or shave ice at any speed. If you’re making a beverage that needs a large amount of crushed ice, set the blender at a higher speed. On the contrary, opt for the medium or ‘Pulse’ setting in your blender if you’re going for smaller quantities of ice.
- Some blenders come with an ‘Ice Crush’ feature. If your blender has this option, go for it when you are crushing ice.
- To process ice, you don’t need to add any liquid.
- Don’t crush ice in a blend made out of plastic. Always use one that is glass-made. If you opt for a plastic blender, the plastic will become fragile and cold because of the ice. Thereafter, the battering resulting from the process of crushing ice will likely shatter the plastic jug.
- If you don’t refrigerate ice cubes and need crushed ice, you can opt for a sealable bag and rolling pin. Simply fill your bag halfway with water and seal it properly. Place it in the freezer. Once the water has frozen, place the bag on a hard surface like a counter and crush the ice using a rolling pin.
It’s definitely evident that crushing your ice doesn’t call in for a lot of effort. All you need to do is refrigerate some water. Once frozen, simply throw the ice cubes in the blender or a Lewis bag or even a sealable plastic bag. Crush the ice using a by simply choosing the medium setting on the blender or a muddler when dealing with a Lewis bag. You can opt for a rolling pin to easily crush your ice in a ziplock bag. Just make a note of the tips that you must keep in mind when crushing ice. And voila! You can enjoy any drink that you want to without having to make a grocery run to purchase crushed ice.