The familiar ice cube has evolved into one of the ultimate refinements in the craft cocktail revolution. Mazie’s, the West Palm Beach restaurant devoted to new interpretations of old-world dishes, offers one of the most elaborate ice programs in the area. “We think of ice the same way other people think of comfort foods,” says general manager and co-founder Jason Lakow. “It’s hard to do simple things really well.”
Mazie’s uses an indirect freezing method that is both time-consuming and expensive. But, it’s a quest Lakow deems necessary because he feels that 95 percent of all commercial ice contains enough oxygen to ruin quality spirits in a cocktail. At Mazie’s, the water is first boiled and then frozen in a process designed to eliminate as much oxygen as possible. Then, the large blocks are broken down with a mallet, ice pick, and serrated knife. The result is “crystal-clear ice that not just chills the drink but also maintains temperature and consistency,” Lakow explains.
The Mazie’s team makes a variety of cubes in order to maximize the pleasures of specific cocktail categories. There’s Collins ice, used both for its namesake drink as well as the Japanese highball; the standard two-inch cube; pellet ice employed in the making of Mai Tais and other tiki drinks; and regular cold-draft ice used throughout the restaurant. “We realize only a small percentage of guests may appreciate it,” says Lakow. “The cost is not worth the benefit unless it really matters to you.”