Love to linger over a cocktail only to loathe it once the ice has melted and your drink has become a watery mess? Jason Sherman has a solution: booze ice.
Sherman’s company, Beyond Zero, has partnered with local Winston Industries — best known for commercial ovens and warming devices — to create a machine that gets so cold it can turn most alcohols into ice. Right now they have two types of machines in prototype and a number of patents. Four cubes of the stuff is the equivalent of one shot of booze, which is 1 ounce.
Sherman said when a drink is made with Beyond Zero ice, “the ice is an ingredient” in the cocktail, not just a means of keeping the drink cool. When I stopped by Beyond Zero, I only tasted bourbon with bourbon ice and a Coke with bourbon ice — which is A-OK with me — but imagine a White Russian, for example, with vodka ice or a sweet tea booze with lemon schnapps ice. It’s really up to the creativity of the bartender, Sherman said.
How does it work? Currently, you pour your choice of poison into the freezer, and it deep freezes it until it’s “very cold” and spits it out as ice cubes. Once you put these in your mixer, the resulting beverage’s temperature drops to somewhere between -5 and 14 degrees Fahrenheit — much colder than typical ice that goes in your drink at 32 degrees.
How does it taste? Awesome. Most people put their vodka in the freezer; it cuts back on the “bite” if you drink vodka very cold. These cubes mellow out any beverage. My bourbon ice in bourbon smoothed out the Jim Beam Sherman poured me and tasted like much more expensive bourbon. The ice also mists a little like dry ice when you put it in a liquid, and as it melts, it frosts your glass.
Sherman called serving Beyond Zero cubes “in the rocks” because the liquor is in the cubes.
The company plans to have the beta version in the hands of local venues around May 1. Sherman said they are planning a “very traditional rollout,” citing recent news about Kickstarter projects that have failed their backers.
Sherman started working on Beyond Zero back in 2008, and he moved the company to Louisville last year from Miami. He recently moved into the top floor of the Whiskey Row Lofts. The enormous apartment has a wrap-around patio that looks onto the Second Street Bridge (I’m waiting for that Thunder party invite).
Back in the spring of 2015, Sherman appeared on “Power Pitch,” a CNBC program like “Shark Tank,” but quicker. He didn’t directly receive an investment, but his segment caught the eye of CNBC personality and option trader John Najarian, who has invested.
Sherman comes from a background of finance and entrepreneurship; he has his J.D. in finance law but has never practiced. But he’s also a tinkerer, and this product marries his loves.
Sherman recently brought club promoter Paolo Pincente up from Miami to join the team. Pincente most recently worked at Miami’s national award-winning nightclub Club Space, where he was director of operations.
Rounding out the team is co-founder and chief creative officer Tim Couch, also from Florida, who came to the company from SVEDKA vodka.
Sherman loves Louisville and said the city has all the right ingredients for Beyond Zero to be a success.