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THE SECRET TO GREAT TASTING ICE  Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sure summer is the season for lounging with friends and frothy margaritas, but fall is one of my favorite cocktail times. Starting with Halloween, it seems to be a revolving door of parties, and what better reason to expand your mixology know-how?

The best drinks, whether non-alcoholic or spiked, start with clean, pure water. Aside from the taste minerals and metals impart in water, they also create a cloudy cube. For clean tasting, clear ice cubes you just need to remember two things: use hot, filtered water. Why hot water? In tech talk, it’s all about molecules and freezing time. Basically, you want to slow down the freezing process, so using hot water ensures a delayed cooling time. Luckily, there’s no need to start boiling water since the Cuisinart CleanWater Countertop Filtration System delivers filtered, hot water, right to your ice cube trays, with just a press of a button. Clean, fresh tasting ice helps bring out the full taste of your favorite drinks.

Need some cocktail ideas? Check out the recipes for our classic gimlets and sidecars.

Vodka Gimlets
Makes two 3-ounce drinks
The classic version of this drink uses gin and Rose’s Lime Juice. Sometimes change is good—I certainly think so in this case.

2 ounces vodka
2 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice
2 ounces simple syrup

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add vodka, lime juice and simple syrup. Stir vigorously until beads of sweat form on the outside of shaker. Strain into prepared glass. Serve immediately.

Makes two 3-ounce drinks
Modern twists on this drink use whiskey instead of brandy. On Mad Men Sunday nights though, I’m sticking with this classic recipe.

2 ounces brandy
2 ounces triple sec
2 ounces fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 orange

Two cocktail or martini glasses
Superfine sugar, to rim glasses

  1. Add sugar to a small plate. Make two twists from orange rind, by cutting strips with a paring knife or vegetable peeler (try not to get any of the bitter white pith). Cut a wedge from remaining orange and wipe it around the rim of each glass. Dip rims in sugar and add one piece of rind to each glass.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add brandy, triple sec and lemon juice. Stir vigorously until beads of sweat form on the outside of shaker. Strain into prepared glass. Serve immediately.
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