The Perfect Holiday Cocktails with Disco Cubes
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You own and operate Disco Cubes, which is a creative studio and ice company. Tell us a little about how you got started.
It all started as a product idea—I wanted to suspend something in the middle of a clear ice cube, and I had a feeling there would be a market for it if I just figured out how to do it. At the time, I was a freelance photographer and DJ in New York and I was really hustling, so I had to fit in my ice experiments where I could. The surprising thing is that it wasn’t until about 3 years in that I realized that Disco Cubes could be so much more than just a product and that I could be as creative as I wanted to be with its branding. I wasn’t totally satisfied with my photography career at the time, so I took the opportunity to create my ultimate fantastical dream world and just do whatever I wanted. It all came together quickly in my mind, and I felt like I had finally found something that felt right.
You have an ice and cocktail book coming out in the spring of 2020. What can we expect to find in the book?
Yes! It comes out on April 7th. There are seven playlists in it, a bunch of fun history and facts about disco and ice, and of course, great recipes, varying from super simple to fairly complex.
With winter coming, what’s your favorite cocktail currently?
I’ve been loving whiskey sours lately—such a perfect winter drink. I also made a great peppered cranberry syrup over Thanksgiving, which gets mixed with prosecco and bitters.
You live in LA! What do you love about living there?
So many things! I think New York made me forget that I'd always felt so drawn to the west coast. I’ve been here for two years and it’s flown by—I still have so much to explore. It’s beautiful being so close to nature. I live up on a mountain, just a few minutes from Highland Park, but it's so secluded and peaceful. I also went all in and got a little ’85 Mercedes convertible when I moved here, so even driving is enjoyable.
Where do you go to gather inspiration?
I find so much inspiration through travel. You never know what you’re going to find until you just get out there and put yourself into new situations. That doesn’t have to mean traveling across the world, it could literally be traveling across town. Galleries, parks, restaurants, shops, neighborhoods… anything and everything can inspire you if you look around with a curious eye. Other than that, I love looking through old magazines and books, and watching old films. There’s something I really love about old advertisements and seeing how products were marketed. I like to watch movies on my big computer with my keyboard in hand so I can screenshot my favorite scenes. Barbarella has been a fun one to go through and draw inspiration from.
What are some of your favorite snacks to serve with your cocktails?
I like to keep pairings pretty simple, unless I have ample time beforehand, which I rarely do. Cheese and meat boards are my general go-to, and my secret to making them look super decadent is simply by adding some overflowing rosemary. Olives and nuts are a great addition as well. One of my favorite quick upgrades is throwing a mixture of nuts on the stove to lightly toast them, then adding some butter, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, sea salt, and fresh chopped rosemary to coat. Also, you can never go wrong with a little bowl of really good salt & peppered potato chips!
It’s a weeknight and your friends are coming over spur of the moment for a drink. What are a few items you always keep on hand for a quick cocktail?
My number one rule is to always have fresh lemons and limes on hand. From there, I can make easy drinks like a tequila soda with lime (often with some hibiscus-infused Disco Cubes that are always ready in the freezer), gin and tonics, or step it up a notch with a whiskey sour. Angostura bitters is also a great staple that will last the average person basically forever, and simple syrup is good to have on hand, but also incredibly easy to whip up in about 1 minute. A lot of cocktails are actually much simpler to make than most people think, so it’s really all about having good quality liquor that’s tasty both on its own, or in a cocktail. I like Suntory Whisky and La Gritona Tequila for both sipping and mixing, and generally keep both in stock.
What is next for you and Disco Cubes?
I had so many ideas that I had to put on hold when I started working on the book, and have had countless more ideas since then. Now the problem is deciding which comes first. I’m itching to make some more films, definitely. And I’m also already dreaming up ideas for more books, but I think first I’d like to get some products on the market that consumers can buy, and make some great art surrounding those items. Stay tuned!
How to Make (2) Perfect Holiday Cocktails
An Infused Twist on an Old Fashioned.
2 Dashes Aztec Chocolate Bitters
1 Dash Peychaud’s Bitters
Chestnut Infused Glenlivet Whiskey
Place sugar cube in a rocks glass, then add bitters and a splash of water. Muddle to dissolve. Add whiskey and top with an ice sphere. Garnish with a pine branch.
Santa’s Reindeer The perfect size to satisfy your eggnog craving.
1/2 Cup Dark Rum
2 Cups of Egg nog
6 Dashes Black Walnut Bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir to combine. Distribute into small glasses. Add a cherry to the rim of one—that’s Rudolph.