10.6.10 Another Round?
I guess you can't call them ice cubes if they're round, huh? If you're not already familiar with the craze for super-large blocks of ice in cocktails, let this be your introduction. Although I'm no expert in the matter, I believe this concept originated with the Japanese. Let's face it, from tea to little girls' undies, no one takes a fetish further. For them, it was all about the ultimate glass of whiskey. The way to drink it cold but undiluted was poured over a large, perfectly spherical and very-slow-melting ice ball. In an aggressive but skilled fashion, Japanese bartenders—and some local copycats—actually carve them out of solid blocks of ice. (If you doubt me, see here.) For a slightly less dangerous approach, with strikingly similar results, you can simply use Muji's spherical silicone mold. The countless "Penicillin" cocktails I've enjoyed at Momofuku Ssam—and also recreated at home—finally convinced me to try the big ice thing. At Momofuku they use blocks, but these round ones work just fine. They're about 3 inches in diameter.
The molds, made of thick, pliable white silicone, come in two pieces. They're not the easiest things in the world to maneuver, so be sure to run them under hot water to loosen them before you start prying the two sides apart.The Muji site also suggests you use the molds for "jelly." Not exactly sure what they have in mind, but could be interesting.
The spheres actually look really beautiful in a glass. Try them in this delicious seasonal cocktail, which I've dubbed Apple of Your Eye. Or just try the cocktail. Gigantic ice may not be your particular fetish.
APPLE OF YOUR EYEmakes 1 cocktail1 ounce cider syrup (recipe below)1 ounce fresh lemon juice2 ounces CalvadosPour into shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled rocks glass, preferably (but not necessarily) over a large ice sphere. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.CIDER SYRUP2 cups organic apple cider1 tablespoon dark muscovado sugar1 tablespoon grade B maple syrup3 star aniseStir ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring to a strong simmer. Reduce by half. Cool before using.