The Drinks Tray: Berg is the Word

Embed from Getty Images ‘Cold keeps cold cold’ (Photo: Getty Images)

If, as we recommend you do, you find yourself tucked away in a corner of the London Edition’s Punch Room of an autumn evening, you’ll have to look hard for an ice cube.

The strange, silky milk punch in your glass will be nicely chilled, but it can take a while to understand that there is a vast, perfectly clear hunk of ice in there keeping it that way. The only clue to its existence is a vague visual distortion that one might as first put down to the wonderful, equally vague derangement of the senses that a good, strong drink can (and should) invoke.

Ask one of the bar staff who work their glacial magic there, and they’ll tell you why they go to such lengths to produce such vast and faultless bergs. ‘Cold,’ they will say, keeps cold cold.’ Crushed ice disappears in minutes (and blunts your drink as it does so). A big old ocean-going iceberg can menace shipping for months or even years, however. So, when it comes to your Gs and tonic and your Bs and sodas, you’re looking for a lot of ice in as few pieces as possible.

And the clarity? That is merely a matter of aesthetics. (If you’re wondering how to get the effect at home, you can try using boiled water and putting a lid on your ice tray; but to get a really flawless cube you need either to take an axe to your local glacier or invest in a freezer that gently agitates the trays as they freeze, releasing the tiny air bubbles that cloud ones cubes.)

So whether you’re after a larger version of the conventional cube or you suspect that a golf ball-sized globe would make a pleasant change, might we suggest popping ten pounds or so towards a new ice tray? After all, it’s the little touches that raise the ordinary to the sublime: