Once known for its glacial pace, ice news today is breaking. In the wake of Starbucks’ recent announcement that they’re changing their ice, we’re devoting an entire episode to the drink chiller in all its forms: pellet ice, giant ice cubes, bagged ice, and more. Ice cube reporter Camper English, author of The Ice Book, tells us about his breakthrough method for making crystal-clear ice, and which shapes work best for which drinks. Plus he helps us distill the Starbucks news, and we carve out some time to learn about ice history.
The Sporkful production team includes Dan Pashman, Emma Morgenstern, Andres O'Hara, Nora Ritchie, and Jared O'Connell, with production this week by Johanna Mayer.
Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:
- "Summer of Our Lives" by Stephen Clinton Sullivan
- "Horn in the City" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt
- "Twenty 99" by Erick Anderson
- "Trippin" by Erick Anderson
- "All Black" by Erick Anderson
- "When You’re Away" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt
- "Feel Real Good Instrumental" by William Van De Crommert
- "New Old" by James Thomas Bates
Dan Pashman: Tell me more about the micromanaging of beverages that you engage in at home.
Camper English: [LAUGHS] Well, I've switched out ice cubes in a drink halfway through.
Dan Pashman: Do you do that sometimes when there's other people around?
Camper English: I don't let other people know ....
Camper English: That I'm doing that, but I have. Yeah. Yeah. [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: What kind of reactions do you get if they pick up on it?
Camper English: Nobody's figured it out. No. That's not something you tell people. This is — let's keep this just between us.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: This is The Sporkful, it’s not for foodies, it’s for eaters, I’m Dan Pashman. Each week on our show we obsess about food to learn more about people, and before we get into today’s show, I have big news on the pasta front that I'm so excited to share with you. As of this month Sfoglini's cascatelli is now in Whole Foods nationwide! No longer just the New York area, it's in all Whole Foods. And remember that recently, it also got added to whole bunch of Wal-mart, not all but a lot. So head to your local Walmart and/or Whole Foods to your cascatelli.
Dan Pashman: On top of that, there's more. Our newer shapes, quattrotini and vesuvio, are now in all locations of The Fresh Market. That's 170 locations across the eastern half of the U.S.. And also, quattrotini and vesuvio are at all locations of Texas's own Central Market! Of course you can always get all 3 of my pastas direct from Sfoglini, including the variety pack which is in stock and ready to ship right now. That's all at Sfoglini.com. So go get your pasta!
Dan Pashman: Let’s get into today’s episode. And first, let me just get myself a sip of a beverage. [CLINKING] Hear that sound? [CLINKING] You know what that sound is, right? That sound ... [TAKES A DRINK] is the topic of today’s episode. Yes, it's true. Today, we are devoting the entire episode to ice cubes.
Dan Pashman: Now, I'll have you know that in the 13 1/2 year history of The Sporkful, this is actually our second entire episode on this topic. The first aired on January 17, 2010 — it was episode #2 of our show, in which I gave a chilly reception to an opinion from my friend Mark Garrison.
CLIP (MARK GARRISON): So I’m gonna say a true iced coffee must be made with coffee ice cubes. Otherwise it's just a water coffee.
CLIP (DAN PASHMAN): Ice coffee means coffee with ice. Now, I have gone so far as to look up the definition of the word ice [MARK GARRISON LAUGHS] in the dictionary, and I have it here before me. And it says as follows — ice: noun, the solid form of water. I rest my case.
CLIP (MARK GARRISON): All right, you've made your case.
CLIP (DAN PASHMAN): Ice coffee has to have ice.
Dan Pashman: As it turns out, in setting our show’s crystal clear critical eye on ice, The Sporkful was 13 ½ years ahead of a trend. Vanity Fair is calling 2023 “the best year in ice since the invention of the Frigidaire.” TikTok and Instagram are full of crafty ice cube videos, and countertop ice makers are selling for nearly $600, even though, yes, most of us already own an ice makes — also known as a freezers. On top of all that, there is news in the world of ice. Once known for its glacial pace, ice news today is breaking.
CLIP (NEWS ANCHOR 1): Starbucks is changing a key ingredient in its cold drinks. The coffee shop chain is changing its ice cubes ...
CLIP (NEWS ANCHOR 2): Bucks is changing a key ingredient to one of its cold drinks ...
CLIP (NEWS ANCHOR 3): Starbucks says the ice is made with machines that use less water and the company has a goal to cut its water usage in half by 2030. The coffee chain claims the change won’t make the ice melt any faster, but a lot of people in our newsroom disagree.
Dan Pashman: We’ll dive into this Starbucks controversy a little later in the show, but it’s safe to say that right now, ice is hot. And when ice is having a moment, there’s one person to talk to: Camper English. He’s the author of The Ice Book: Cool Cubes, Clear Spheres, and Other Chill Cocktail Crafts. In his instagram profile says: “Camper English, ice cube reporter”. With a title like that, you can probably figure out how he prioritizes his freezer space.
Camper English: At the moment, [LAUGHS] my freezer is 100% packed full of logs of ice in Ziploc bags, and then there's one lonely box of baking soda in the corner.
Dan Pashman: So can I ask, do you live with anyone?
Camper English: No, I live alone.
Dan Pashman: And is there a significant other in your life?
Camper English: Nope. Not at the moment.
Dan Pashman: I don't wanna pry too much in your personal life, but like, occasionally from time to time you go out on dates?
Camper English: Yeah, occasionally. [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: Okay. How early in the dating process do you, do you let them see the freezer?
Dan Pashman: When does that news get broken?
Camper English: I — listen, I am not ashamed of my freezer. It is probably the best thing in my entire apartment. It's that magnificent clear ice in the freezer and so many shapes and styles. It's delightful. It's more like, "Hey, want to come see my freezer?"
Dan Pashman: Camper didn’t always have a freezer full of crystal clear ice in various shapes and sizes, and he didn’t set out to become America’s foremost ice cube reporter. In college he studied physics, then ended up working in tech until the dot com bubble burst in 2000 and he lost his job, which meant he had a lot more time to devote to his hobby: making and drinking cocktails. He started a blog and wrote nightlife reviews for fun.
Camper English: And along that way I would learn from bartenders, you know, why do you shake versus stir and why do you do one thing versus the other? And when it came to ice, a lot of bartenders were starting to make large ice cubes to use in drinks, and they would discuss how they thought the best way to produce them was to make the best and clearest ice cubes. And I thought that was really interesting.
Dan Pashman: This was in the early days of the craft cocktail trend, when bartenders were putting more thought into how you want ice to melt into different drinks. Because as it melts, the ice is both chilling your drink and diluting it, which changes the flavor. In some cases you want that to happen faster, in other cases slower, and sometimes it’s a matter of taste. Over time, Camper’s interest in cocktails began evolving into an obsession with ice.
Camper English: Ice is a super, super important part of cocktails as well as other beverages, and in recent years, there's this sudden awareness that you have options in ice cubes. Everyone's woken up to the concept of you can have more than one type of ice in your freezer and use it for different sorts of beverages, but I’ve been in that zone for a bit.
Dan Pashman: So in case you’re not yet in that zone, let’s begin with the idea that the size and shape of your ice cubes affects how quickly they melt.
Camper English: The important thing to keep in mind, is that ice melts from its surface. So the more surface there is, the more melting that's going to happen. And pretty much all of the chilling of a drink is gonna come from the melting of the ice. And that correlates directly with how much water's getting into your drink and the dilution of it.
Dan Pashman: Right. So if you have one ice cube that's the size of a Rubik's cube, if you were to take that cube and just cut it up into four smaller cubes, even though it's the same total mass of ice, the four cubes would melt faster cause there's more surface area exposed to the liquid. And so they would, add more cold water faster to your beverage.
Camper English: Exactly.
Dan Pashman: So one case where you want your ice to melt slowly. Let’s say you’re sipping a glass of straight liquor, you might want it to be chilled, but you don’t want it to be 50% water. The single giant cube melts very slowly to chill without diluting too much.
Dan Pashman: On the other end of the spectrum there’s pellet ice, also known as nugget ice. That’s the “chewy ice” that’s famously served at Sonic, and also in many hospitals. It’s made from shaving down a bunch of ice and then compressing those shavings into little pellets. It’s great if you want a lot of melting and dilution, especially in soft drinks or if you just want ice that you can chew on. Because it’s made from pressed shavings, instead of a solid block, it tends to feel softer on your teeth. But, as I asked Camper, what about good old fashioned ice that your freezer makes or that you make in an ice cube tray? What’s the use case for that?
Camper English: In the cocktail world, think of something like a Tom Collins where the drink is usually shaken with ice and then that drink is poured over new ice. A regular size ice cube is great for that because the drink is already chilled and diluted and we're just kind of keeping it cold and diluting at a much slower rate when we're pouring it over new full-size, just regular ice cubes. That's an ideal situation. You know, just a soda on regular ice, that's fine. Lemonade, fine. Like we're all good. I think a regular size ice cube is the most practical size. If you had to choose one, that's the one. And luckily that's the one almost everybody has.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS]
Camper English: Of course, I don't have any of that ice. I've gotta hand carve it down from something in order to get like a regular [DAN PASHMAN LAUGHING] ice cube, like à la minute. [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: Someone comes over to Camper's house. Hey, can I get you a drink? Yeah, sure. Whatever you're having. Camper disappears, two hours go by, you hear like a saw in the kitchen. [MIMICS SAW MACHINE]
Camper English: Yeah.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS]
Camper English: you might think that's an exaggeration, but ...
Dan Pashman: Two hours later, Camper comes out, water pouring down his face. There's ice chips everywhere, [LAUGHS] and he hands me the drink.
Camper English: Yeah, and I've just had a great 20 minutes. I don't know what you are.
Dan Pashman: Right. [LAUGHING]
Camper English: Yeah, it's true. I do process most of my ice to order per drink.
Dan Pashman: Maybe this is just a, a terribly offensive question to our nation's foremost ice cube reporter, but you said the ice is essentially adding cold water to the drink, why not just add a small amount of cold water?
Camper English: The reason we don't just add cold water is because you're getting all of the energy, not from the coldness of the water or the coldness of the ice, but the phase change from solid to liquid. The transition between ice to water — so melting of the ice — is what cools the drink at a much higher rate than just having ice in the drink or water in the drink.
Dan Pashman: Bottom line: The melting process, the actual transition supercharges the chilling. That’s the real advantage of ice over products that supposedly chill your drink without diluting it.
Camper English: Yeah, things like those plastic ice cubes and whiskey stones, they don't do a lot for the drink because it's not the phase change with ice turning into liquid, which gives major cooling power all at once.
Dan Pashman: Also, I would argue that dilution is part of the experience of drinking any drink with ice. A well-made drink should take dilution into account, and I enjoy it. I like when the first couple sips of a drink kind of hit a little hard and they're strong, and then it kind of mellows as you drink it and it changes and evolves. And to me, like that's an enjoyable part of drinking a beverage.
Camper English: Yeah, drink recipes are written assuming dilution from ice. It's built into the recipe that you shake or stir or drink or give it an extra long shake because you want more dilution. Bartenders know if they're going to shake a drink that then is poured on, say, ice in a Collins glass that they don't wanna shake at a super long time and get it dilute because it's gonna go over more ice and dilute even more. Where if it's a shaken drink that's served up like a nice classic daiquiri, you shake the heck out of it cuz it's not gonna get any more dilution once it goes into the glass. So there can be a lot of thought put into that, that's kind of built into bartending that we just don't think about quite as much at home until you start overthinking everything.
Camper English: That's, that's my secret.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHING]
Dan Pashman: So hopefully now you have a basic sense of why ice cubes matter, if you didn’t before. But Camper, being a self admitted over thinker and a physics major, wasn’t content considering only the size and shape of different ice cubes.
Dan Pashman: Back in 2009, when he first got the hots for ice, he decided to experiment with ice making at home, and he became obsessed with a problem that had confounded the ice world since the days of the woolly mammoth. Ice tends to be cloudy. You know how there’s that whitish spot in the center of an ice cube when you make at home? A lot of bartenders didn’t want that. Camper didn’t want that. He wanted to figure out how to make ice that was perfectly crystal clear.
Camper English: I thought it was an, an interesting problem and maybe an easy one. [LAUGHS] Little did I know ...
Dan Pashman: Yeah. Fast forward 14 years, he's still talking about it. [LAUGHS]
Camper English: Yep. It would become my thing.
Dan Pashman: What causes cloudiness in most ice?
Camper English: Most of the cloudiness and cloudy ice is caused by trapped air and other impurities. And that's like. You know, the minerals and the water, perhaps the chlorine in chlorinated water and things like that could be organic matter if you don't have great water to start with. But it's mostly the trapped air.
Dan Pashman: Because cloudy ice contains trapped air, it does melts a little faster than more solid clear ice. But Camper admits the main reason he wanted to figure out how to make clear ice is that it just looks so cool. And you might be thinking: Wait a second, I know the trick. I’ve read about it on the internet, all you have to do to make clear ice is to boil the water before you freeze it! Everyone knows that. Well, Camper's got news for you.
Camper English: It does not work. And that's so built into popular culture that to this day on any post, like, here's how you make clear ice. The first comment is, did you try boiling the water? It's [DAN PASHMAN LAUGHS] as if it's this secret, but it's information that everybody has that is just wrong.
Dan Pashman: Camper turned to his background in science and started experimenting. First, he tested an old trick he’d heard about from bartenders: let ice cubes melt, then refreeze them.
Camper English: I started with regular tap water, froze it, and then took a picture, let it melt, and then refroze it. Took a picture and repeated that something like 10 or 12 times and posted that online and said, you know, here you go fellas. It's not getting any clearer.
Dan Pashman: Right. [LAUGHS]
Camper English: I also tried things like, using distilled water, using carbonated water, although there was no chance that was gonna work, but why not rule it out? [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: Did you get discouraged?
Camper English: I really didn't think it — my experiments were going anywhere and I just thought it was fun to try.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS]
Camper English: I'm all about the journey, not the destination.
Dan Pashman: For months, Camper got nowhere. Then, he made an important observation. Throughout all these experiments, he’d been using different shaped containers to freeze the ice: soup containers, takeout containers, lasagna pans — and he noticed that something was happening with the cloudy part of the ice.
Camper English: Where the ice was cloudy was different in different shapes. And that brought me to the conclusion that most ice is cloudy in the center of the ice and not throughout the ice.
Dan Pashman: Right. An ice cube will typically freeze, starting on the outside and moving towards the center. Like if you've ever accidentally taken an ice cube tray out of a freezer before the cubes were fully frozen, you'll notice the cubes have a hard shell and a watery center.
Camper English: And when you do that, that ice will often look super clear.
Dan Pashman: Right.
Camper English: Because the middle is still liquid and that's where the air is. It just hasn't frozen yet.
Dan Pashman: So what did that tell you?
Camper English: That ice was cloudy in the center, finally solidified the idea that where the last part of the water to freeze is, is gonna be where the cloudy part of the ice cube is.
Dan Pashman: For his last push of inspiration, Camper turned to nature.
Camper English: If we think about a skating pond, oftentimes we can see the fish beneath us. Why is that ice clear? Well, the cold air is on top and it's not coming from below.
Dan Pashman: In other words, the ice on a pond is only freezing from one direction, from the top down. With ice cubes in a freezer, the cold is coming from all directions, so it freezes from the outside in, the center is the last part to freeze, and that’s the part that’s cloudy. If Camper could get the ice in his freezer to freeze in one direction, like a pond, then the cloudy part would form at one end of the ice, the last part to freeze. Then that cloudy part could be cut off. But how to do that?
Dan Pashman: Well, he took a small lunch cooler, filled it with water, and put the whole thing into the freezer. But he left the lid of the cooler off. So the walls and the bottom of the cooler were insulating the water from the cold of the freezer, but the top was exposed. So the cold air would only hit the top of the water, and that part would freeze first — just like in the skating pond. In theory, the water in the bottom of the cooler would freeze last and that’s where the cloudiness would be concentrated. Seemed like a good plan. But Camper wasn’t sure if it would work.
Camper English: So much of what I was doing was trial and error, so I got really used to error at that point.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS]
Camper English: And I'm not an optimistic person in general. So no, I, I wouldn't say I went into it with full confidence, but I was hopeful.
Dan Pashman: So you had this idea, I think that this can work. I'm not sure though. You put the water into this soft sided cooler with the lid off. You put it into the freezer, and however many hours or days later you come back to look at it. And what do you see?
Camper English: I saw a clear, thick slab of ice looking down into the cooler. And I could tell that there was no cloudiness anywhere near the surface anyway.
Dan Pashman: What did you feel?
Camper English: I felt pretty good about it. That was an unexpected solution to a problem that, honestly, hardly anybody saw it as a problem.
Camper English: But I did.
Dan Pashman: Yeah.
Camper English: And that's true for a lot of things in my life.
Dan Pashman: There’s an old Steve Jobs line. He said, "Give the people something they didn't know they wanted." That’s what you're doing.
Camper English: Yeah. Yeah. Thanks. I guess I did that.
Dan Pashman: After nailing the process of forming big blocks of clear ice, Camper could cut the blocks into cubes — a process he says is a lot easier than it sounds. He called his clear ice method: directional freezing. While he’s the first to say he technically didn’t invent it, he was largely responsible for popularizing it, especially in the craft cocktail scene.
Dan Pashman: He posted about his breakthrough on his blog in 2009 — most of his readers at the time were bartenders.
Camper English: I got some very enthusiastic initial comments. You know, you've done it! Eureka! And ...
Camper English: I did see bartenders start bringing their own ice to cocktail competitions after that point. They would freeze a block of ice and travel with it [Dan Pashman: Wow.] sometimes on the plane to cocktail competitions, and I was real proud to hear that.
Dan Pashman: And what? Like they, they packed a cooler?
Camper English: Yep. They froze a cooler and packed a cooler.
Dan Pashman: Can you imagine if they lost their bag?
Camper English: [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: Maybe they brought it as a carry-on. They're like, I had to check all my prescription medications, but I'm carrying on this ice cause I'll be damned if I'm gonna lose this cooler. [LAUGHING]
Dan Pashman: Directional freezing and ice aesthetics took a little while to really catch on in the mainstream. But in the last few years, companies have started selling home devices that make clear ice cubes. Meanwhile Camper started teaching ice carving classes, which some people in the frozen water scene have started calling ice butchering. And in May, he released The Ice Book: Cool Cubes, Clear Spheres, and Other Chill Cocktail Crafts. It’s a how-to manual for making clear ice in all kinds of shapes and sizes, as well as different colors and flavors, and even with flowers and other pretty things frozen inside. The whole thing is, honestly, kinda mesmerizing.
Dan Pashman: On top of all that, Camper had the good fortune to have his book come out right around the time this big Starbucks ice news hit, which means he’s been very much in demand as an ice commentator.
Dan Pashman: Coming up, we’ll get his take on that news. Plus, he’ll share tips for making great ice at home and we’ll carve out some time to talk about ice history. Don’t let your interest in this topic cool. We’ve just scratched the surface! Stick around.
Dan Pashman: Welcome back to The Sporkful, I’m Dan Pashman. Hey, have you ever had mayonnaise on a hot dog? It’s a key feature of the Sonoran dog, among others. Well, keep listening to the end of this episode when I will experiment with adding Hellmann’s spicy mayonnaise to a hot dog. And let me tell you, the results are surprising. That segment's at the end of this episode.
Dan Pashman: Also, check out last week’s show. it was our third annual edition of our favorite game show, 2 Chefs And A Lie. I talk with three people: two are real chefs and one is an actor pretending to be a chef. I get no info in advance, can’t look at the internet, and can only ask each of them five questions. Then I, and you, have to figure out who’s lying.
CLIP (DAN PASHMAN): That sounds delicious, Chef Kirk. I hope that that's real.
CLIP (DAN PASHMAN): Cause it sounds really good.
CLIP (CHEF KIRK): It is. It is. It’s real, it’s pretty unbelievable, so — but it’s real. It's real.
Dan Pashman: Play along with me. This game is a ton of fun. The 2023 edition of 2 Chefs And A Lie is up now!
Dan Pashman: Okay, back to the show and let me get my beverage. [ICE CLINKING]. Ugh, so refreshing. All right, let's pick my conversation with ice cube reporter, Camper English, author of The Ice Book.
Dan Pashman: It’s time to turn to the iceberg sized news of the summer: The new Starbucks ice. Will it have a venti impact on their cold drinks, or simply a tall one? I wanted to ask Camper, but first I recapped the news …
Dan Pashman: Starbucks has announced that over the next few years, they're gonna be introducing new ice, a new shape and type of ice cube in their drinks, starting with stores that have a high volume of cold drink orders and then over years go into the others. They say that these new machines will also use less water. I thought it was amazing. Iced drinks make up 75% of Starbucks sales and have been a huge part of their growth. And this is not just like iced coffee, but also all like the frappuccinos, the frozen drinks that are blended with ice. So what kind of ice was Starbucks using and what are they switching to?
Camper English: I believe it's solid ice and they are switching to the chewy ice, the pellet or nugget ice that is pressed ice shavings. A lot of people enjoy chewing that. It melts pretty fast. For some people, that Sonic ice, hospitalized chewy ice is the best kind of ice in the world. And for other people, they're really opposed to this absorbent ice that's going to dilute too much and make you have to drink that iced coffee fast if you don't want it to taste watery. And so people have a lot of opinions all of a sudden about the type of ice going into their iced coffee.
Dan Pashman: Some folks had some savvy concerns. So first, let's fact check some of these statements, Camper. Will the new Starbucks ice melt faster?
Camper English: I think the new ice will melt faster.
Dan Pashman: Some people were concerned that, because these ice cubes will be, I think, a little smaller, they may pack in the cup tighter and therefore, you'll end up with more ice in the cup and less beverage, presumably at the same price. Starbucks says that's not true. They said they tested. But like, do you take their word for it or is this a merit to this concern?
Camper English: I think the ice in Starbucks iced coffee is fairly small as it is. It's just not in the pellet shape. So I think we can rule out the idea that it's a cup of snow that you're gonna pour liquid over the top of.
Dan Pashman: So Starbucks has put ice in the news, but this isn’t the first great ice age. People were making and using ice long before refrigeration. They would bring hunks of ice down from the mountains, or cut it from ponds or lakes, and store it in ice houses. Those ice houses were usually at least partially underground, and they used straw or sawdust for insulation.
Camper English: And we find mostly ice used to store food and cool food rather than used in beverages throughout history, until we get to the early 1800s when everything changes. And it's really largely due to one entrepreneur, Frederick Tudor, who cut up ponds in lakes in Massachusetts and had the idea to put it on ships and sell it to hot climates such as Martinique and Cuba and India, and these were all destinations for that Massachusetts ice, people didn't have a lot of exposure to it.
Dan Pashman: Camper says that to transport the ice, a special cargo hold for ships was developed. It elevated the chunks of ice from their meltwater, and sealed it off from open air. When the first of these ships reached Martinique, two thirds of the ice was still frozen.
Camper English: And in these times, there were a lot of tropical ailments, like yellow fever and ice could be used for medicine, it could be used to store food, or it could be used as a treat, like ice cream. But we can find diary entries where he is saying, if you get people used to iced beverages that cost the same price as warm beverages in the summer, they're never gonna go back to drinking warm beverages. And that largely turned out to be true. And so American ice beverages became a specific association.
Dan Pashman: Even to this day, ice is more common in American drinks than in a lot of other places in the world. Like certain, like if you ask — you get a glass of tap water at a restaurant in most places in Europe, there's not gonna be ice in it. Whereas in America, you would expect there's gonna be ice in it. And we trace that to Frederick Tudor?
Camper English: Generally we name him as the guy who sort of popularized ice beverages. A lot of visitors to young America writing in the 1800s would comment on the extraordinary type of beverages Americans were drinking, iced beverages. Sometimes that was just lemonade and sometimes that was the cocktails. But there was this general consensus of if you go to America, you've gotta try the drinks.
Dan Pashman: All right, Camper, with all the ice news that’s been breaking lately, you’ve been quoted in a lot of articles, a lot of people want your opinions on ice, and your book has a lot of practical info on ice. So now we’re going to subject you to what we would normally call a lightning round, but today we’ll call it The Meltdown. You ready?
Camper English: Let's find out.
Dan Pashman: I asked Sporkful listeners for their hot takes on ice, and one of the most common rants was about chewing and crunching ice. One person said, "Chewing and crunching ice should be illegal." Someone else said, "Chewing ice is bad for your teeth." Are you pro or con chewing ice?
Camper English: I don't like to chew ice. I don't care if other people do it in the privacy of their own home.
Camper English: But I don't hate it that much, where I would shush somebody for chewing ice too loudly in the park.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS] One listener wanted to know, how do you stop ice from sticking to the inside of silicone ice trays?
Camper English: Some people say that if you're using distilled water, the cubes are stickier to the silicone trays and you don't need to use distilled water. Otherwise wait a little bit and they slide right out.
Dan Pashman: Just wait. Is it true that ice absorbs smells and tastes from your freezer?
Camper English: Yes. By the next morning, your takeout pizza is now gonna flavor your ice cubes.
Dan Pashman: Is it true that clear ice causes soda to fizz less than standard ice?
Camper English: I've been hearing that a lot lately. I wanna do a side by side comparison, but generally speaking, it seems the answer is yes, but I do wanna test it. Because there's more nucleation points on cloudy ice than there are on clear ice, and you need those in order to produce the trails of bubbles. That's why champagne glasses have purposeful flaws to create the trail of bubbles inside them.
Dan Pashman: Oh, right. They have like a rough interior, like microscopically rough.
Camper English: Just like a couple little dents inside in order to create those bubble trails.
Dan Pashman: What do you think of ice coffee with coffee ice cubes? Yhat way your ice coffee never gets diluted.
Camper English: I think it's a great idea. I haven't done it myself, but it makes a lot of sense.
Dan Pashman: Hmm. All right, I guess that’s a point for my old friend Mark Garrison. Although I still don’t think you should be able to call it iced coffee. Anyway, are you as annoyed as I am by the idea of the drink of the summer?
Camper English: Yes.
Dan Pashman: Every summer has to have a drink of the summer now. They start like in March and they argue till October about what the drink of the summer's gonna be.
Camper English: Yeah, but my perspective on that is there are huge liquor corporations behind it trying to make their drink the drink of this summer.
Dan Pashman: Right. So we can all agree that the idea of the drink of the summer is stupid, but what do you think is gonna be the drink of this summer?
Camper English: I mean the Aperol spritz has really taken the world by storm.
Camper English: Oh yeah.
Dan Pashman: Like spaghetti. The recipe calls for Miller High life, I assume you could use other beers of that ilk. You take the bottle of High Life, you drink a couple sips, then you add in Aperol just to like fill up what you drink and then you squeeze in some lemon juice and drop the lemon in.
Camper English: Yeah.
Dan Pashman: I tried this. I thought it was fantastic.
Camper English: It’s a fantastic drink. It's so great. It's sort of like a high budget michelada.
Dan Pashman: All right, Camper, as we prepare to wrap up here, if there's one thing that people are gonna take from this conversation what would you want it be?
Camper English: When it comes to ice, you have options and it's really fun to explore those options. And it's really cheap to make ice of different shapes and sizes at home and try them out.
Dan Pashman: And if you play your cards right, it could become a career.
Camper English: If you play your cards wrong, it could also become a career.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: That’s Camper English. He’s America’s foremost ice reporter, and the author of The Ice Book. He’s also written another book called Doctors and Distillers: The Remarkable Medicinal History of Beer, Wine, Spirits, and Cocktails. And he still keeps up his blog – that’s at Alcademics.com.
Dan Pashman: Next week on the show, we dive in to Barbie's complicated relationship with food and cooking. It's going to be a good one. While you wait for that, check out last week's game show episode, 2 Chefs and a Lie.
Dan Pashman: Time now for a special segment brought to you by Hellmann’s Spicy Mayonnaise.
Dan Pashman: My friend Nick is a trained chef, which is why at this year’s 7th grade picnic, where he and I were volunteering, he was running the grill. I was helping out and we got to chatting…
Dan Pashman: Nick, I'm gonna as you — I'm going to record this right now.
Dan Pashman: I want to ask you a quick question. There's this thing on my mind, actually. What are your thoughts on the idea of mayo on a hot dog?
Nick: You know what? I have never even thought of it. And I'm ashamed of myself for nothing about it, because I like mayo on anything.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS]
Nick: Anything. If I order a sandwich at a deli, I say, "Mayo, please.", and then I say, "When you think you’ve put enough, please put more."
Dan Pashman: I love mayo. And I feel like there are certain regional hot dogs that have mayo, like the Sonoran Dog [Nick: Okay.] is a bacon wrapped hotdog, and that's got mayo on it. And I feel like it's kind of thing that when you first hear it, it sounds totally outlandish if you're not — if you haven't grown up with it, but it makes a lot of sense. I want to test hotdogs with the Hellmann's spicy mayo.
Nick: Let's do it. When you want to do it?
Dan Pashman: Tomorrow. Meet in my backyard.
Nick: It's the first time I'm gonna have have a hot dog with mayonnaise on it, especially Hellmann's Mayonnaise.
Dan Pashman: All right. [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: Nick came over to my house to help me run some tests.
Dan Pashman: All right, So, Nick, we're here at my house. We're gonna ...
Nick: Bright and early.
Dan Pashman: Yeah.
Nick: After a long night.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS] Let's throw these things on the grill here.
Dan Pashman: After a few minutes, I checked on the dogs.
Dan Pashman: These hot dogs look glorious. They're just about done I think. I actually prefer the hot dog buns steamed because then you get, like, the snap of the casing as a contrast to the soft doughy bun.
Dan Pashman: Pretty soon it was time to eat.
Dan Pashman: So we're going hotdog straight mayo
Nick: Hotdog straight mayo.
Dan Pashman: I've never done this either. It's my first taste of a hot dog with mayo. Mmm! This is phenomenal.
Nick: Really is. Spicier than I was expecting but not too spicy. They also nailed how like first it’s a Hellmann’s product. First thing you get is mayo. The creaminess and then right behind it comes the spice. And it — I don't know. Did you notice how it creeps up on you and then it gets a little spicier?
Dan Pashman: Yes. It’s still creeping up on me!
Nick: It's still creeping up on me.
Dan Pashman: [LAUGHS]
Nick: It’s good.
Dan Pashman: As I'm eating more and more of this spicy mayo, it's like it's rich and creamy, but the spice kind of just — it not only adds the spice, it adds like an acidity to it that I feel like is just cuts through the ...
Nick: So what is spice component?
Dan Pashman: They got real chili peppers in here.
Nick: They do. Yeah, it's good stuff.
Dan Pashman: So final thoughts here, Nick?
Nick: Final thoughts here is this is the best breakfast I've had in quite a while.
Nick: In quite a while.
Dan Pashman: Hellmann's spicy mayonnaise is a great way to spice up everyday meals by adding deliciously rich and creamy flavor. Made with real chili peppers. It's got the classic creamy flavor of Hellmann's mayonnaise, but with a bold twist. Head to Hellman's.com/spicy for more deliciously spicy recipes. Again, that's Hellmanns.com./spicy. Deliciously spicy. 100% Hellmann's.