Okay, so I'm not actually covering alcohol this week, but I am talking about something essential when it comes to mixed drinks, (and more), and that's ice! Especially with the hot temps being right on board with the unofficial kickoff of summer this week. Some areas are enjoying the hospitality of Ohio's Mother Nature treating them to temps reaching into the 90's. What is Ohio's Mother Nature's deal anyway? What does she have against a normal spring? Does she want the Guardians to do better? Is she as upset about the Browns as everyone else? If that's the case, take a number, OMN.
Ice is one of those modern conveniences that we take for granted and really don't think much about at all, and if you're someone who fills the ice cube tray, or lets the ice maker bin get full, leaving it open and exposed in your freezer for weeks, (or worse, months) on end, this week's That's What She Drank is for you! Why? Ice will actually absorb the odors from your freezer and can actually absorb bacteria. My ex is the one who actually got me thinking about this years ago, (despite his being a total jerk to and about Marvel - yeah - THAT'S the hill he chose to die on with me), but, I have no issue giving credit where it's due. He noticed when he was making drinks, that his hands smelled odd after handling ice. Me being me, I wanted to know why.
Since this is a safe space, I think we can admit that we’ve all added a couple of ice cubes from a half evaporated ice tray to a drink, (because that’s all there was in the freezer, and let's face it, ice takes a minute to make), only to realize there's a funky flavor to our drink. You wouldn’t think that ice would go stale, or even bad, but, yes, ice can definitely go bad - and sometimes, it’s bad to begin with if the water is contaminated or your ice tray is dirty. You can actually get sick from ice! It can even harbor bacteria such as salmonella, e. coli, even hepatitis A. Crazy, right?! Especially considering basic grade school science gave us the impression that heat and cold often kill bacteria. Grade school leaves so much detail out. That's serious food for thought when tossing the package of chicken you bought in the freezer next to the ice cube tray, especially if you're freezing it because you didn't get to it and it's on the verge of going bad. It's as bad as setting fresh produce on top of a package of chicken in the fridge, (and if you do that, STOP). That said, the ice that just tastes like freezer burn (or your freezer), is most likely safe, but is it worth risking your drink? I think not.
There are a few ways to keep your ice fresh, (therefore fresh tasting), and it starts with clean ice cube trays and/or a clean ice maker - then bag and seal newly made ice in an airtight container. Ice can last up to 5 years like this and be perfectly fine (provided you don't contaminate it with your hands or the utensil you use). If you have an automatic ice maker, clean it regularly. If you have just a couple of trays on rotation, wash them in between each use, and practice safe handling as you would with any food - wash your hands before handling and bagging freshly frozen ice, and when filling your glass or shaker with ice to keep freezer odors, freezer burn and bacteria out of your ice stash.