You can learn a lot about ice just by looking at it. A pristinely clear cube tells you it’s made from pure water in a perfect crystal lattice. Cloudy ice signals impurities, absorbed gases, and irregular crystals. Those impurities (such as chlorine or fluoride) impart unwanted flavors, while absorbed gases (like oxygen and nitrogen) and irregular crystals weaken cubes, making them more prone to shattering while shaking. This creates many unwanted ice shards that will overdilute your cocktail. Bartenders go to obsessive, time-consuming lengths to achieve perfectly clear ice for craft cocktails, but we just wanted an easy at-home technique to get us as close to clear as is practical.
This recipe was shared with us by The Kitchn's Sheela Prakash as part of our All-Star Summer Cookout episode. It's bubbly, enjoyable tart (thanks to the shrub and lemon/lime), and can easily be made into a cocktail by adding the spirit of your choice. We're thinking gin or vodka would work well here. Fruit shrubs are commercially available in stores and online; see below for Sheela's recommendations. You can also make your own shrub using this recipe from The Kitchn.
The cherry concentrate gives an extra layer, but isn’t essential. However, I recommend keeping the cherry concentrate in the fridge as a sugar-free cordial. It’s also delicious with hot water.
I love the taste of ginger in the morning and have a guilty love of ginger beer at any time of the day. This is an instant, healthy, fizzy ginger hit, with none of the vast amounts of sugar found in commercial brands of ginger beer. It’s completely invigorating.
This is a super tasty version of a Virgin Mary—it’s almost a liquid lunch. I recommend transferring it to a thermos and taking it on a long morning walk in the fresh air to revive you halfway. If you do use a thermos, chill the Bloody Bull beforehand and don’t use ice, as the drink will become too diluted.