On the Rocks (e.g. Gin & Tonic)
‘Rocks’ are cubes or chunks of ice used in the making and serving of many cocktails, but not all ‘rocks’ are made equal. Whether it’s fancy block ice, a bag from the store, or cubes from your freezer ice-tray; you need to know how to make the most out of whatever you can get your hands on!
The word ‘Rock’, when applied to chunks of ice, comes from days before we had ice machines churning out perfect cubes, and pieces of ice were chipped off a large block using ice picks. This chipping created ‘rock’ shaped pieces of ice and so referring to a drink as being served ‘on-the-rocks’ was born.
A big rock or chunk of ice has less exposed surface area, and will therefore melt a little slower than smaller pieces. However, that’s not really the whole story, what’s most important is how much ice, or how many ‘rocks’ you add to a drink. Because even if you have smaller pieces of ice, but you pack the glass full, it will make the liquid very cold and actually prevent dilution. Let’s get a bit nerdy…
Follow this simple rule: ADD AS MUCH ICE AS YOU CAN
(Ok, that’s pretty simple, and not nerdy at all…but a vital rule to apply nonetheless)
Apply this rule when you’re making a cocktail:
- This will make the liquids you are mixing VERY COLD, which means that the ice will melt more slowly.
- The ice melting slower will give you better control over the dilution you are adding to the drink. All of which means you are more likely to find the perfect moment or ‘sweet spot’, when just the right amount of water has been added to your cocktail! Learn more about stirring cocktails.
Apply this rule when you’re serving a drink over ice, ‘On The Rocks’:
- When it comes to serving a drink ‘On-The-Rocks’ the ice is only there to keep the drink cold, you don’t want it to melt, so add as much as you can fit in your glass.
- Just remember, the ONLY time to have ‘just a cube or two’ of ice is if you WANT the ice to melt quickly into your drink…for example, if you want to add water to your neat Whisk(e)y.
- More ice = Colder liquid = Slower rate of ice melt
- More ice gives you a less diluted, colder, more attractive and more delicious drink…for longer!