The ice experts at Hubbard know how to make a good G&T exceptional: gourmet gin needs gourmet ice
The popularity of gin has exploded in recent years, with hundreds of new brands helping to cast off its fusty image with a variety of new flavours. The number of distilleries in the UK has nearly doubled since 2010, from 116 to 184, with sales in the UK topping £1 billion in 2015.
For a seemingly simple drink, there is much debate about the best way to make the perfect gin and tonic. Most agree that it involves a balance of four elements: the gin itself, tonic, the garnish and, naturally, ice.
Connoisseurs are spoilt for choice with artisanal gins, upmarket tonics and locally-sourced seasonal garnishes.
But what about the ice?
Hubbard Systems, which markets the Scotsman range of ice machines, says that the ice element is vital – not only to get the right temperature, but also to get the perfect taste.
It goes without saying that the purpose of ice in a G&T is to cool it down. However, the ice will naturally melt while it’s chilling the drink. What you don’t want is ice made using water that’s full of impurities that might spoil the taste and aroma of the gin. The answer, according to Hubbard, is the classic thimble shape ice cube, also known as the gourmet cube, or supercube.
The reason the supercube is best for G&T is down to the way it’s made, by spraying water upwards into inverted refrigerated moulds. This causes any sediments or impurities in the water to fall away as the ice forms – so the ice is actually purer than the water that feeds the icemaker. This makes the ice hard, crystal clear and free of air bubbles.
Since the ice is so pure, it doesn’t have a detrimental effect on the G&T’s taste. What’s more, not only does the supercube protect the integrity of the drink, it’s also long-lasting – this slow-melt means the G&T is not watered down.
Last but by no means least, the supercubes’ sparkling clarity looks brilliant and enhances presentation – which is especially important in the large gin globe glasses that are now the trend.
“When you’re making a G&T with top ingredients, it doesn’t make sense to ruin the quality by throwing in any old ice cube,” says Simon Aspin, commercial director at Hubbard Systems. “Gourmet gin calls for a gourmet cube.”