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Swift’s Attic’s Jeff Hammett on the Creation of Ice Ball Cocktails

Why squid ink ice balls weren’t a thing.

Swift's Attic's ice ball cocktail (center)
Swift's Attic's ice ball cocktail (center)
Swift's Attic/Official
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Swift’s Attic’s signature ice ball cocktails started as a way to speed up the process of serving a drink. All the fixings for a drink were frozen in a sphere ice mold. When it’s time to drink, the ice is placed in a glass of booze, and it was ready. "You’re able to get out a craft cocktail in mere seconds," said Jeff Hammett, the restaurant’s bar manager. As the ice melts, the taste of the drink changes from boozy to sweeter.

While creating the program, Hammett experimented with the possibilities. There were many that worked, and others that, well, didn’t. This includes the squid ink ice ball, though not because of the flavor. "It was a staining issue," he explained. "It comes out so black and inky that it would stain people’s teeth." The bar’s ice mold collection grew from ten to approximately 180 since it launched in 2014.

Popular cocktail concoctions include the Ice Ball Oldie, Swift’s take on the Old Fashioned, where a glass of rye whiskey is elevated with an frozen orb of cherry heering, maraschino cherry, and both zest and juice from an orange and lemon. There’s also the summer-friendly Strawberry Fields. That the ice ball is made with strawberry sorbet and a kaffir lime and toasted coriander syrup, placed in vodka and topped with prosecco.

For the fall, he’s looking forward to incorporating "Christmas flavors," like figs and cloves. The menu sticks to around five ice ball cocktails each season.

Swift's Attic

315 Congress Avenue, , TX 78701 (512) 482-8842 Visit Website