The 5 hottest trends in cool, specialty ice

It’s time. Think outside the cube. Dress up your ice using these bartender-blessed ideas.

1. Join the shave club.

For a twist on traditional sippable cocktails, serve spoonable cocktails. Use shaved ice. To help create your shaved ice masterpieces, we recommend this blender from our friends over at Island Oasis.

2. Pick a garnish, any garnish.

Last month we talked about the huge impact garnishes can have on a cocktail. Here’s a new twist: freeze them. Fill your The 5 hottest trends in specialty ice you need to know now-1ice with strawberries, blueberries or raspberries to add a fruity taste to signature beverages.

Consumers are looking for creative flavor. Take taste up a notch by freezing mint leaves or chocolate inside the ice cube. It looks good, and the flavor it adds to cocktails is irreplaceable.

3. Get in shape.

It’s everyone’s new year’s resolution, and it applies behind the bar, too.

Whisky and bourbon just taste better when there’s a perfectly shaped sphere of ice in the glass. Bonus: big ice cubes don’t water down your thoughtfully crafted beverages.

For holidays or special celebrations, freeze ice in the shapes of stars or hearts. (What are you serving for Valentine’s Day? Try this with trendy ice.)

4. Where there’s smoke, there’s … ice.

At the beginning of last year, 16% of consumers were interested in a smoke flavor in their cocktails. Numbers aren’t in yet, but our on-staff mixologists predict the number will be dramatically higher this year.

Innovative flavor at its finest: The ice picks up on the woodchip aromas as it’s being smoked and releases a smoky taste that increases as it melts. (Remind customers to sip slowly on these cocktails so they experience the nuances of the changing taste of the drink.)

Our cocktail maven Joey notes: “Whiskey pairs nicely with smoke.” Mix these on Friday night.

5. Not so crystal clear.

Flavor is our number one priority when crafting beverages, but first impressions matter, too. Play with colors to sass up your drinks. Mix some food coloring in when freezing ice and pop a drop of color into your cocktails.