Some of us are old enough to remember when cocaine was considered to be God’s way of telling you that you were making too much money. In post-recession America, that honor has filtered down to more humble consumer goods such as toast and ice.
The toast craze has been enthralling the country for nearly a year. On one level it’s an understandable extension of the comfort food phenomenon: who can’t remember their mother making toast for them when they were sick? However, that nostalgia now comes at a hefty price. The Mill, an artisanal bakery in San Francisco, charges $4 for a slice of toast and has lines down the block.
Apparently it’s better than average toast, but four bucks will buy a decent loaf of bread in most parts of the nation. The Mill considers it to be a bargain. According to Jeremy Tooker, one of the partners, some staff members made a field trip to L.A. and came back with stories of toast selling for $5-8. “It’s actually a pretty good deal,” says Jeremy.
Anyone who frequents craft cocktail bars is aware of the current mania with ice. Hand-cut ice has been trendy for quite some time, and top bars such as The Aviary in Chicago employ “ice chefs” who spend their days cutting custom cubes from 300-pound blocks. The most popular version is the 2.5 inch square, followed closely by the large circular cube.
Now we have the latest product for the person who has just about everything: luxury ice. The Gläce Luxury Ice Co. of California manufactures premium ice cubes that provide “a unique, consistent experience for the consumer who demands the best.” Such a consumer would have every right to expect Gläce to be special: the company charges $325 for a bag of 50 cubes, either square or spherical, which works out to $6.50 each. You can have them delivered to your door by Fedex.
Don’t expect to see these ice cubes in your local watering hole---or even in the top cocktail bars, where the cost of a drink’s ingredients seldom reaches $6.50. They are really designed for home use, and have a dilution rate of 15-40 minutes. In the time it takes your ice to melt, another trend may well come along.
Mark Spivak is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History, published by Lyons Press; his second book, Moonshine Nation, will be releaed by Lyons Press on July 15. For more information, go to amazon.com