Ice rings, molds and blocks do more than keep things chilly; they sing as a garnish or provide a flavor boost to your punch. Here, nine do’s and don’ts from former Blood & Sand bartender Matt Osmoe to help the bowl stay cool for your punch party.
• Use creative containers like plastic storage ware, silicone molds, loaf pans or Bundt pans to make ice.
• Garnish with complementary flavors that will incorporate well as the ice melts into your punch, like berries and ginger for sweet punches.
• Use filtered or distilled water for clearer and better-tasting ice.
• Branch out from H2O. Try freezing lemonade for use in bright, gin-based punches, vermouth for botanical-noted tipples or some of your punch itself, if the ABV allows it.
• After freezing overnight, turn the mold upside-down and run under lukewarm water for a few seconds to release.
• Let your ice melt too fast. Chill the ingredients before mixing up a punch to preserve the freeze, or make and refrigerate a batch ahead of time (excluding any bubbles, which should be added right before serving).
• Make an ice block with a container that’s too big for your bowl, since the ice should be submerged in the punch.
• Use small herbs like thyme or dill as garnish – they’ll turn into unattractive floaties when the ice melts.
• Abuse the ingredients you use. Overripe or soft fruits like bananas don’t make a good ice garnish since they’ll fall apart and leave your punch cloudy.