Always use a lot of ice
What’s the key to a good cocktail party? The answer is: you can never have too much good ice. Ice is used in 85% of all drink. This is how you make and handle it to perfection.
The easiest way to prepare ice is to use plastic or silicon ice forms. Fill the forms with water and place them in the freezer. You can also buy plastic ice bags that you fill with water and put in the freezer.
At the party
To prepare for a party, fill your freezer with as much ice as you can. If you buy it, try to have it the delivered right before your guests arrive. You can also fill the kitchen sink with ice. Have the outlet open. And of course, remember to clean the sink thoroughly before you fill it with ice.
In the glass
Always have new, fresh ice in the glass. The leftover ice in the shaker is melted and consumed, thus no good. The sole purpose of the ice is to keep the drink cold. Avoid at at all costs to let melted ice water down the drink. Use cold glasses and fill them up with as much ice as you can.
Ice can be crushed in a lint-free towel using a saucepan or a mallet. You can also crush the ice in the metal part of a shaker with a muddler.
In the shaker
Always fill the shaker with as much ice as possible together with whatever you want to shake. Shake it fast and furiously 6-7 times to chill and mix the ingredients quickly and roughly. When the metal part of the shaker is misty you are done.
In the mixing glass or martini pitcher
Always use as much ice as possible. Gently stir and fine-strain it so that no parts of the ice fall into the drink.
Never use your hands. Metal or plastic ice scoops make it easy to fill glasses quickly. Tongs are particularly useful in the homely bar to move one ice cube at a time.
The perfect ice
In a perfect world every party host would have fresh, dry, solid, crystal-clear ice at home. However, making such ice is not an easy task. Start by boiling pure, preferably filtered, water (you can use a Brita filter or something similar). Then slowly freeze it in big blocks. You can also use a silicon form that makes one big cube. To keep the cube cold in the glass, it should be well frozen all the way through. Without any cavities, mind you. You keep it dry simply by keeping it cold.