I'm obsessed with fancy ice cubes -- especially oversized ones that don't melt quickly in your cocktail. I've had large square cubes for awhile and have played with freezing cranberries and rosemary at Christmas for festive ice, but when I came across a recipe for a Lychee Gin Cocktail in a cookbook from one of Matt's favorite restaurants, Chin Chin, I finally had to buy sphere molds. I highly recommend Tovolo brand -- so easy!
Lychees are funny little Chinese fruit. I love floral flavors like elderflower, but find lychees hard to find uses for (for me at least). I don't think they taste fantastic out of a can, the texture is squishy, and they sit in a syrup. But, they're not particularly easy to find fresh. When I saw Chin Chin's Lychee cocktail (and because I love gin everything!) I had to try it. Putting lychees in ice cubes, then eating them soaked in booze -- sounded like a grand use to me!
First, you line the ice mold with washed (preferably organic/pesticide free) rose petals and place a lychee in the middle. Next, you pour warm distilled water or previously boiled water in your mold. Boiled or distilled water will make your ice cubes more clear. Straight tap water tends to create cloudy ice. Here's a little science on that. You then freeze for at least 6-8 hours, undisturbed (even though it's hard not to peek!)
And voila! Rose Lychee spheres. As you drink your cocktail, the petals and lychee will (very slowly) melt into your cocktail (if it makes it that long - mine didn't!)
Now for the cocktail. By Chin Chin, Melbourne, Australia.
30 ml Gin
15 ml Lychee Liqueur
15 ml Dolin Blanc Vermouth
10 ml Fresh Lemon Juice
5 ml Maraschino Liqueur (I prefer Luxardo)
And an extra photo -- because how cool do these look?!