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Reverse Arnold Palmer

All Photos: Ramona King

frozen lemonade cubes

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Follow these 5 cold-as-a-cucumber hacks for the tastiest iced drinks possible

Keeping your drink cold in the hot summer sun, especially in the South, is an art form unto itself. Different shapes of ice, koozies and insulated glassware all exist to prevent your favorite beverage from becoming unpalatably warm in the sweltering heat.

But let’s face it: koozies only really work for aluminum cans, specialty glassware can get pricey, and regular ice turns your masterfully mixed cocktail into a watery mess. What’s the solution? Flavored ice cubes made from frozen fruit juices, or other drinks, that enhance the taste of your drink as they melt away. Some will even transform the original beverage into something more strikingly complex.

Try these 5 simple, tasty flavored ice cube hacks that will actually make you glad to see them melt away.

Frozen Lemonade Cubes
Fun for all ages, turning lemonade into ice cubes is a nifty way to keep your lemonade or iced tea cold when spending time outside. If you favor drinks with more of a boozy kick, these are also the perfect pairing. Throw a couple in your beer for the effect of a bright summer shandy or add a cube or two to your bourbon for something akin to a whiskey sour. Our favorite match is the meeting of lemonade ice cubes and iced tea that slowly transforms into a classic Arnold Palmer as the ice cubes melt. Feel free to make this with store-bought lemonade, but we love the freshness of homemade. The vibrancy of fresh lemons can’t be topped.
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Iced Tea Cubes
Any Southerner will tell you that ice is the secret to the perfect glass of sweet tea. However, when you’ve labored over creating that magical balance of sugar, water and the bitterness of properly brewed tea, the last thing you want is melting ice diluting your handiwork. Enter iced tea ice cubes. Set aside some of your tea to be frozen in ice cube molds to maintain your preferred tea flavor as you drink. Plus, you have the bonus of extra tea as you wait for the cubes to melt — not just a sad puddle of insipid, tea-flavored water. Since we’re on an Arnold Palmer kick around here, add the iced tea ice cubes to a glass of lemonade for something of a reverse Palmer. The lemonade becomes transformed as the tea ice slowly seeps into the drink.
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Lemon Mint Ice Cubes
For another fine flavor combination that works in both cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages, try these lemony ice cubes spiked with fresh mint. The number of cocktail applications for these cubes is endless. Throw them into vodka and soda water for a refreshing finish, add them to bourbon for a sour-meets-mint julep sensation or ice down gin and sparkling wine for a minty twist on a French 75. Don’t feel like getting hooched up? Add them to iced tea instead; spicy food never met a better friend.
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Cucumber Rosemary Ice Cubes
Seemingly a peculiar combination, the flavors of cucumber and fresh rosemary have great fondness for one another. Invite a botanical gin to the party, or better yet, one infused with cucumber (we see you, Hendricks), and you have one of the fantastic flavor trilogies in the cocktail world. While it’s generally frowned upon to ice down a martini, you can add gin, vermouth and these refreshing cucumber cubes to a rocks glass, then stir and sip without fear of judgment from the martini police. Or better yet, use frozen green beauties to ice down your gin and tonic. You’ll need a juicer for this recipe, but it’s worth the minor effort.
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Raspberry Prosecco Ice Cubes
We love sparkling wine, but it doesn’t always feel particularly suited for summertime outdoor drinking. Once you dilute sparkling wine with ice, it loses its effervescence and signature dryness; however, frozen prosecco solves that problem instantly. Freezing anything with alcohol can be dicey, but a touch of water helps turn your prosecco rock-solid. For an added touch, try adding small fruit, such as raspberries, to the ice cube molds. The flavor of the sparkling wine penetrates the fruit, which remains in the glass as a bonus treat.
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Chef Jeffrey Gardner is a native of Natchez, Miss., and a graduate of Millsaps College and Johnson & Wales University. He lives in Atlanta and has served as sous chef for popular restaurants South City Kitchen Midtown and Alma Cocina. In 2013 he became executive chef for East Cobb restaurant Common Quarter and was named one of ten “Next Generation of Chefs to Watch” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. He has appeared on TV shows including Food Network’s Chopped and Cooking Channel’s How to Live to 100, and also filmed a series of healthy cooking videos with retired pro wrestler and fitness guru Diamond Dallas Page. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling the world with his wife Wendy, watching game shows and “spending all his money on Bruce Springsteen concerts.”

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