Among the many things millennials are accused of having ruined – marriage, divorce, quality news, tabloids, home ownership and access to credit (you name it, we broke it) – it might surprise you that bars are also sometimes mentioned.
This doesn’t mean that today’s young adults drink (much) less. However, between the dangers of drunk driving, exorbitant prices for even domestic beers, and an indifference to “trendy”, themed bistros, taverns, and pubs, many are choosing to stay home and invite friends over instead.
Socializing at home has a number of advantages: you can take your shoes off if you like, people are welcome to bring their kids, the music need never be too loud or of the wrong kind, and everybody can take part in the fun of trying to be a mixologist. What is sometimes lacking, though, is atmosphere. However good the company and drinks are, just sitting around your living room with Spotify on in the background doesn’t really cut it as a special occasion.
Setting the Mood
Offering fresh garnishes for cocktails and buying a basic shaker set cost little and go a long way toward creating the ambiance you want your Friday night guests to enjoy. Since appearance is hugely important to how we perceive what we eat and drink, a nice set of tumblers or glasses will also work wonders.
This brings us neatly to our next point: ice.
Unbelievably, in this dear 21st century, basic plastic ice trays that simply don’t work continue to be sold. Flexible silicone molds are much better, but as usual here at All the Stuff, we want to introduce you to something better.
These ice molds are perfect for taking your entertaining to the next level. Available either as 2.5″ spheres, 2.25″ cubes, or 3″ by 2″ cylinders that fit nicely into highball glasses, they are easy to fill and empty, designed to be stacked on top of one another to save freezer space, and safe to put in the dishwasher.
The larger size means a smaller surface area-to-volume ratio, so that the ice won’t water down your drink as much. On the other hand, they won’t fit comfortably into every glass; you should probably measure yours or risk having these oversized pieces of ice bump into your nose while sipping.
Finally, let’s share a couple of tips on making ice. Starting with boiled water helps to keep your cubes, spheres, or what-have-you clear, as this drives out most of the dissolved gasses. Filtering the water also helps in this regard and definitely improves the flavor. You can also try putting your mold in an insulated polystyrene container before freezing, as the slower it freezes, the more perfect the ice’s crystalline structure will be.
You’ll also want to store your finished cubes in an airtight bag. Not only does this allow you to have a larger supply of ice on hand, it also prevents the ice from absorbing odors in your freezer. As they say, it’s often the little things that make the difference, and when it comes to serving drinks, ice is often the biggest little thing there is.