Saturday, September 5, 2015

Flavored Ice Cubes for Labor Day Gatherings

If you're like many of us, and are having trouble saying goodbye to summer, here's one more summer recipe you can use to toast friends and family at Labor Day gatherings: Flavored Ice Cubes.

Demetrios Haralambatos, executive chef at Kontos Foods, a New Jersey provider of Greek and Mediterranean foods, suggests using real fruit, fruit juices, iced tea or iced coffee to make flavored ice cubes for your afternoon refreshers. Whether you are sipping iced tea, cola or cocktails, flavored ice cubes add flavor to your beverage, don’t dilute your drink and, in many cases, they add color and can become an interesting conversation piece.

Flavored ice cubes are easy to make. For fruit cubes, take fresh fruit, place in your blender with a little bit of water or fruit juice, and pulse until pureed. Then freeze in your ice tray. Once frozen, you can remove them and place in zippered plastic bags for later use. If you are using only juice, just pour the juice straight into your ice tray. And, next time you have leftover tea or coffee, do not pour it down the drain. Use the extra to make flavored cubes that you can drop into your iced tea or iced coffee drinks.

Here are some fun ideas that Chef recommends:
  • Cherry Ice Cubes – Pitted cherries, pureed with a little simple syrup or water – use for cola drinks or Shirley Temples, great for kids!
  • Strawberry Ice Cubes – De-stemmed strawberries, pureed with a little simple syrup or water – use with cola or water.
  • Mint Ice Cubes – Finely chopped mint leaves and a little simple syrup or ginger syrup – serve with water or other beverages, such as Mojito cocktails, that require mint.
  • Lemon Ice Cubes – Leftover lemonade or lemon juice – serve in water, cola or diet cola.
  • Lime Ice Cubes – Lime juice – use with water, clear carbonated beverages or other beverages such as Margaritas or gin & tonics, that require lime.
  • Orange Ice Cubes – Fresh orange juice – serve in cocktails requiring oranges such as a Screwdriver (orange juice and vodka) or Fuzzy Navel (orange juice and peach schnapps).
  • Tomato Ice Cubes – Tomato juice – serve in Bloody Marys or other beverages requiring tomato juice.
  • Tea Ice Cubes - Leftover tea or iced tea – serve in iced tea.
  • Coffee Ice Cubes – use leftover coffee or iced coffee – use for iced coffee or other coffee-flavored beverages.

    "The possibilities for fun, flavored ice cubes are limitless," said Chef Haralambatos. "Try using pureed fruits such as blueberry, cantaloupe, cranberry, honeydew, pineapple, pomegranate, or watermelon, along with a little simple syrup, water or fruit juice, and you have a delicious addition to water and other beverages. Adults and kids alike will love this fun way to jazz up beverages, at a party, or anytime."

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