Ice, Ice Baby: Ice at Elisabetta’s, Alexa Bartends, and Sustainable Cocktails

Different Ices at Elisabetta's

It’s Tuesday and we need things to ponder as we head toward a holiday weekend. Keeps the brain cells strong, besides there’s nothing wrong with a lively sense of outrage. Read on…

How many kinds of ice are there? Ask Elisabetta’s

It was all a Negroni’s fault, explains Beverage Director Ervin Machado, who works for Big Time Restaurant Group. (I’ve often used a Negroni as an excuse, but that’s another story.) In this case, Machado says the drink— which is equal amounts of gin, vermouth and Campari—kept tasting different in various restaurants. The variable was the ice, which can water down a drink quickly or resist melting and help keep the ingredients cool.

This is the thinking behind Elisabetta’s three new ice machines, and an ice mold (totaling a $100,000 investment), that Machado hopes will give the new restaurant’s drinks a leg up over the competition.

“Ice is a building block,” Machado says in a press release, “It needs to be viewed as a key ingredient in cocktails.”

The machines push out ice cubes in two different square sizes (1½ and 2½), plus crushed ice. Good news: There is no charge for the specialized ice in your drinks there.

Ice Surcharge?

Speaking of ice and cocktails and a 90-plus-degree summer, I’m all heated up about several $1 charges I’ve had tacked on bills recently.

Two different restaurants charged me $1 extra for a straight-up martini, explaining that since there’s no ice in the drink, they have to use more alcohol (!!) and are charging for that.

What?

Then there was the $1 extra charge for an Old-Fashioned, with the explanation that since they used a shot of bourbon, that charge was passed to me.

What? Putting bourbon in an Old-Fashioned is something never seen before? Oh, boy.

Both explanations are ridiculous. I’m sure what happened was when one restaurant tried this in order to bring in some extra bucks, others heard about it and climbed on the surcharge bandwagon. Just raise the price of the drinks!

Don’t insult your customers with nickel-and-diming (or one-dollaring) like this.

And look at history books for a reason you see alcohol flying out the door. Martini glasses never used to be so big—and really, I’d be happy if they shrunk back to the classic coupe glass used in “The Thin Man” movies. Martinis started out with no ice and that’s the common way to order them, so don’t feign surprise at the straight-up request.

I drank half of my martini at the Four Seasons’ Florie’s (not one of the restaurants that tacked on the surcharge) and my server asked why. I replied that I usually only drank half, and that’s the size I liked. He surprised me by saying I could always order a half-martini. Perfect! But that may mean at the aforementioned surcharge venues, I’ll still be charged 50 cents.

Alexa steps up to the bar; order a sustainable drink

Delia at 1 Hotel South Beach

Alexa the Wonder Machine can, it seems, take over mundane life chores and apparently stay cheerful, no matter what.

Now she can make sure your cocktails and food are delivered to your cabana at three Miami Beach hotels: The Mondrian, Faena and 1 Hotel South Beach. This is thanks to efforts from Patron, but I’m sure you can order drinks without tequila—if you really wanted to.

Speaking of 1 Hotel South Beach, this is also where you can order the Delia ($29), with $1 of each sold donated to Debris Free Oceans. Served with a reusable straw, it’s made with an Appleton signature blend, chareau aloe vera liqueur, coconut water, lime and hibiscus.

The Mondrian South Beach: morganshotelgroup.com/mondrian/mondrian-south-beach

Faena: faena.com/miami-beach/

1 Hotel South Beach: 1hotels.com/south-beach

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