The grog cone – made easy!
If you’re going to make a Navy Grog you’ll need an ice cone to drink it through. Originally this involved making some very fine (“shaved”) ice and stuffing it in a cone shaped pilsner glass, ramming a chopstick down the middle, freezing the lot overnight then somehow extracting the ice without it breaking up. Hmmmm. A slight step forward was using a stainless steel cone – Jeff Beachbum Berry makes a handy looking one and, lacking one of those, I’ve had some limited success using steel baking cones. But still, I feel we can do better. I’ve been spending far too much time obsessing about The Ice Cone Problem but I think I might finally have a solution worth sharing. It seemed to me the whole shaved ice method was a bit of a hassle. What if we could fashion a mould that we could just pour water into and then freeze? We’d simplify production and end up with a less delicate final cone. Easier said than done – the need for a straw hole up the middle made it far too tricky to come up with something that didn’t leak . I was close to giving up when I came up with the following idea that uses cheap and readily available items. All you need are a few disposable plastic champagne flutes (the kind where the bases are detachable) and some 5ml plastic pipettes (ebay). And you might not even need the latter. I suspect almost all the plastic champagne flutes in the world are the same but I’m using the ones they sell in Dirk III. It’s important that there is a little round well in the bottom of the glass which you can see clearly in the third picture below. You need some kind of stick or straw that will fit snugly in there, and stay there. The pipette, snipped as shown will do the job but you might be able to use something else instead.
Since writing this a few weeks ago I’ve discovered a less fiddly method. If you can find a stainless steel tube (in the region of 8mm x 150mm) that fits snugly into the narrow part of a plastic champagne glass it is far, far easier to extract at the end of the process. Otherwise the process remains the same.
Once frozen remove from the freezer and let sit for about 5-10 minutes. This helps prevent the ice from cracking. Take off the base and warm the outside of the glass in your hands a little, squeezing gently now and then. At some point the cone will pop out. Handle it in a clean dry cloth to prevent cracking and melting. Now you need to remove the pipette, which is the only tricky part. Carefully filling it with warm water will help – use an intact pipette. If the pipette has filled with a little ice near the tip just chip it out with a skewer before adding the warm water. Keep gently pulling and twisting the bulb and eventually the pipette will come out. Immediately slide a straw through the hole and either put it in a glass to await imminent grog delivery or freeze it for later use. You can put it back into the plastic flute for hygienic storage.