Here's how to use other kitchen tools to achieve the same result.
Homemade Derby Mint Juleps on a striped tablecloth
Credit: Getty Images

With some drinks, whole cubes of ice just don't cut it. To make a proper mint julep, mojito, or Moscow mule, you need crushed ice. Not to mention, iced tea, iced lattes, lemonade, and fresh fruit punch all benefit from perfectly crushed ice.

If you don't have an ice maker that offers crushed ice, it's easy enough to toss some cubes in a blender or food processor and pulse until crushed. But, what if you don't have a blender or food processor either? Here's how to make crushed ice with two tools you likely have on hand and two that would bring your home bar to the next level.

1. Sealable Bag and Rolling Pin

If you don't have ice cubes, this method will make them. Fill a freezer-safe silicone bag or plastic zip-top bag with water, about halfway, then seal it and put it in the freezer. Once the water turns to ice, place it on the counter and use a rolling pin to break it up, rolling back and forth till you get the your desired consistency.

2. Tea Towel and Large Spoon

If you already have ice cubes in the freezer, you can crush enough ice for your entire crew's cocktails in minutes. First, place a handful of ice (or enough for one cocktail) in the middle of a tea towel. Twist the towel around the ice to tighten it so that the ice stays in place. Using a large spoon, hit the ice several times until it's the size you want. Repeat the process as needed.

3. Lewis Bag and Mallet

ice in a canvas bag
Credit: Caitlin Bensel

A bartender favorite, a Lewis bag is a sturdy canvas pouch that you can fill with ice and pound with a mallet. Basically, it replaces a blender to give you better control over your cocktail ice. Another perk: the cloth absorbs water as you crush, preventing drink dilution.

4. Cocktail Shaker and Muddler

These two bartending tools can team up to crush ice, which may give you another reason to buy them for your home bar if you don't have them already. Using small amounts of ice at a time, add cubes to the shaker, then press down with the muddler to smash it. Empty the shaker and repeat.

Tip: though this may seem like the ideal time to muddle other ingredients, the stronger force you need to use on ice isn't ideal for delicate herbs or berries. So, take care of the ice on its own.