Crushed ice is key to well-built mint juleps, mules, mojitos and caipirinhas, but making it can be messy and loud. Professional bartenders often use blenders, but many home blenders aren’t up to the task or produce shavings that melt too quickly.
Whether you’re making mint juleps for a Derby Day party or just throwing a backyard BBQ, we’ve found the best way to crush ice—no blender required.
Enter the Lewis bag, a canvas bag that contains the moisture and mess unavoidably created by walloping cubes of ice into pebbles. The sturdy canvas wicks away water, keeping the ice inside dry and making it a neater alternative to a plastic bag.
Canvas bags first became popular for making crushed ice during the 19th century, when bartenders discovered they could repurpose the bags banks used to carry coins for a more refreshing task.
To make crushed ice, fill the bag with ice cubes, close the canvas lip and pound evenly with a mallet or a rolling pin; for shaved ice, pound more vigorously.
Peruse all of our cocktail recipes—from batch-muddled mojitos to reposado negronis—here.
For more, see our 5 Rules for Better Cocktails at Home