The best bartenders agonize over every detail of their creations—the ratio of booze to flavorings, the glassware, how they look. Now, one Sarasota company is helping them improve an often-overlooked ingredient: ice.
Eskimo Bros. Ice was founded last year by Rob Boyland, Broc Smith and Jason Donahey. Most bar ice is made by freezing water in molds. Since the water freezes from all sides, Boyland says, impurities in the water are pushed deeper into the center of the ice, which can deliver off notes, like chlorine, to your cocktail as the ice begins to melt. Eskimo Bros. instead uses a machine that freezes huge blocks of ice from the bottom up and circulates the water so impurities bubble up to the top and depart.
The result is crystal-clear ice that can be cut with a bandsaw into shapes chosen to fit into specific glasses or even etched with designs, like a restaurant’s logo. In addition to looking great, the purer ice melts more slowly, giving bartenders more control over their drinks. “That’s part of the bartender’s job, to orchestrate the perfect level of dilution,” Boyland says. The company has already partnered with several top bars in the area, including Made, Sage and JPan, plus businesses in St. Petersburg and Tampa.
Boyland says that for bars paying for high-quality spirits and creative garnishes, bettering their ice is the next logical investment. “I want to do something that’s going to set your product apart,” he says. Pretty cool.