The world owes the invention of manufactured ice to a Florida physician, Dr. John Gorrie. Oddly enough, Gorrie was working on a cure for Yellow Fever. It was in his hospital that he dreamed up the idea of manufactured ice while set up a cooling system in the sickroom with ice-filled basins suspended from the ceiling.
When his supply of ice harvested from ponds in the north was interrupted by regional trade disputes, he concocted the first patented ice-making machine in history. Gorrie died in 1855, financially ruined and publicly humiliated by the failure of his ventures. It was not until 1872 when the King Ranch in Texas installed an improved ice-making device. The manufactured ice industry boomed for the next 75 years.
Today’s ice is a far cry from the quality ice that was produced in the Ice Block Era. Modern ice machines produce ice that is lighter and relatively warmer; it melts quickly, rendering drinks watery.
Bartenders discovered that dense, perfectly clear ice can produce a better drink and have begun to use large 300 pound ice blocks in their cocktail programs.
Let’s make a Dr. Gorrie signature Florida drink using an ice spear. Cheers!
2 oz. St. Augustine Distillery New World Gin
½ oz. grapefruit juice
½ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
5 drops Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters
Shake all ingredients except for soda water, strain over a 1”x 6” ice spear, and top with soda. Garnish with a sliver of grapefruit peel.
Note: A large 1” x 6” spear of ice can minimize dilution while providing a chilling base.