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Tips of the Iceberg

My suggestions for dealing with global warming.

Baby, it's hot outside, but at least your drink can be cold. Some tips on proper chilling, gleaned from a former Ivy League Fraternity Social Chairman and Professional Drinker. (Of course, both are me.)

Hot Ice
The most common misperception is that all ice is the same temperature, when nothing can be further from the truth. "Dry" ice, meaning ice that has not yet broken a sweat, can be chilled well below the freezing point, and if you have a deep freezer or another way to get your ice really cold (I use the fire escape in winter, when it feels like winter), you can serve a drink that remains chilled and undiluted for much longer.
Ditto, Glass
The temperature of your glasses makes a difference, too. If you see someone take a glass out of a dish-washer, there's a good chance it will be hot.

Dry Ice, the Kiss of Death
Real dry ice, which is my favorite underused and surprisingly affordable party item, is not ice at all but frozen CO2. It can be used to make Munsters-style potions and other great effects, but it burns (and sticks) on skin contact. Rubber or surgical gloves and tongs are a must for handling. Try making tiny beggars purses with chipped dry ice from plain unbleached 100 percent cotton cheesecloth. Visualize three or four stacked dimes as a size guide for a pre-chilled martini, and your drink should be fogging for 15 minutes.

In the Swim
"Swim" means ice completely surrounded by water, which is the fastest way to chill wine. But remember, if you submerge the bottles only a third of the way, the top two thirds are in the hot air. And no, the wine won't eventually get all the way cold. Learn the difference: Take two bottles of inexpensive white wine (which is almost uniformly what you get at parties) and chill for 10 minutes, one in a five- or six-inch bath and one chilled to the neck. You'll see what I mean. If you have no choice but to use a shallow ice bath, it's better to lie bottles on their sides. And if someone hands you a beer, in summertime sun, that was in only a few inches of ice, try this trick: Turn the bottle upside down for 10 to 25 seconds before opening. Then you won't get a "Dixie hotmouth" (a New Orleans phrase for their local beer).

Stir Me Up
During the retro-cocktail craze, it's disappointing that more people don't know that there's a legitimate reason for a swizzle stick, or garni on a sword. Even the gentlest of swirls keeps drinks at a uniform temperature and taste. Nothing is worse than getting a gin and tonic, sipping an air-stealing mouthful of gin to start, and ending the drink with a limey/quinine sour puss.
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