Brand Ice Cubes With A Personalized Stamp For Next Level Cocktails

Any mixologist knows how important the right ice is to crafting a perfect cocktail. Quantity, size — and even shape — matter. But there is another possible consideration that's purely aesthetic: personalization. Ice cubes can be stamped with monograms or logos so that the drink itself is branded to match the establishment where it was created. Some bars are stepping up their cocktail-branding game by adding signature ice cubes to their drinks. It's not a new trend – places across the country, from San Francisco's Pacific Cocktail Haven to The Monarch in Kansas City and Añejo in NYC have been doing it for a while. However, unlike some of the fancy mixologist moves that are only accessible to professionals, this is something you can try for cocktails you can make at home, provided you obtain the right equipment. 

It's surprisingly simple and deeply satisfying. All you need is a stamp — similar to the types you see for sealing wax on old-fashioned letters or for adding your address to a document. The key difference is that you can't rubber stamp an ice cube: the stamp needs to be made of metal. Brass is very good, copper is even better. Because they are such effective heat conductors, you don't need to heat the stamp or the ice cube;  the mere contact between the freezing ice and the room-temperature metal is enough to leave an imprint. A few seconds of pressure will do the trick. 

Simple tricks for perfectly personalized ice

Ice stamps work best on larger, flatter pieces of ice, especially the clear or frosted variety since the pattern will show through better. While your local cocktail bar may have a bit of a leg up when it comes to obtaining perfectly clear ice, it's no reason to be intimidated — you can come close at home. Ice stamps are available from a number of retailers, and you can either use classic motifs or design your own personalized stamp. Traditional favorites include flowers and honeycombs, but monogrammed letters are an obvious alternative. With personalization, there is a seemingly endless array of options — including logos, of course. 

Ice design plates work in a similar fashion and allow you to brand large pieces of ice, but come at a higher price point, making them less accessible for your average home bartender. While silicone molds are an option, they produce less reliable, cloudier ice and the images are not as sharply defined. 

Because ice melts, it can be difficult to ensure the imprint stays defined for very long, but here are some tips for keeping your branded ice cubes looking fresh. Start with very clear ice, rinse your stamp with warm water between stampings so that the chill from the first ice cube doesn't spoil the process for the second, and pour your liquid around the ice (rather than on top) when filling your glass. That way, you really get to let that ice light shine.