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Step up your cocktail ice game with these slow-melting, hand-cut cubes.

Back in 2014, NPR wrote about the “artisanal” ice trend, pointing to a Washington, D.C., restaurant that was charging $1 per “handcut” rock. In this age of $15 cocktails topped with fancy flourishes, expensive ice just comes with the territory.

Milwaukee-based Beaker & Flask Beverage Co. is in the business of carving – and yes, they use chain and band saws – crystal-clear cubes from water put through reverse osmosis to remove impurities. The ice’s clarity, which comes as a result of slowing down the freezing process, produces denser, harder and colder ice that lasts longer in a drink.

Cube men Joey Houghtaling and Mike McDonald, who managed the bar at now-shuttered Blue Jacket, supply the slow-melting hunks to bars such as Boone & Crockett and Lucky Joe’s Tosa. And let’s not forget the needs of the home cocktail enthusiast.

In December, Ray’s Wine & Spirits in Tosa started carrying 12-packs of Beaker & Flask cubes for $7.99. Ray’s president Orey Laev says one of these cubes left out at room temperature would last eight hours. That means a cocktail is diluted less, so what remains stays agreeably, well, stiff.


‘Cold as Ice’ appears in the April 2018 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning April 2nd, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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