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How to crush ice without crushing your thumbs

Summer cocktails should have one vital ingredient: a canvas bag

How to crush ice without crushing your thumbs

July 22 2010
Mark Ellwood

Summer cocktails – thirst-quenchers such as mojitos and mint juleps – have one crucial ingredient in common: crushed ice. But I’ve always struggled with it – my blender never blitzed the cubes finely enough, so instead I rigged up a solution. I filled a plastic bag with cubes, then bashed it with a rolling pin on the ground. Far from ideal: it was slippery, the bag usually tore and I’ve hit my thumb more than once.

That’s why I was so grateful when a mixologist friend told me to buy a Lewis bag, the formal name for an old-fashioned ice-crushing sac. It’s simple: a thick canvas pocket with a fold over-flap to substitute for that flimsy bag. The canvas grips any surface and absorbs small shards so the crushed ice isn’t too wet; it’s easily re-used several times. I just make sure after a few mojitos that I hand the rolling pin to someone else – my thumbs have suffered enough.