Navy Strength Ice Co, Melbourne

Author: Michael Harden
Photography: Kristoffer Paulsen

Navy Strength Ice Co is crafting Australia's coolest ice.

Anyone who's had a cocktail at Melbourne's The Everleigh (our 2013 Bar of the Year) knows that owner Michael Madrusan is a stickler for integrity, be it in recipe, booze, garnish or vessel. Now that he's opened Navy Strength Ice Co, Australia's first boutique hand-cut ice company, even the ice has integrity. "If you're going to make the best-quality drink you can, you have to consider the ice," he says. "The ice we're making is perfectly clear, so it looks good and is free of any taint or odour, and is a purer, harder block so it keeps the drink cool but dilutes it more slowly than regular ice." Navy Strength operates from The Everleigh using two imported Clinebell machines that can each make a 150kg block of ice every three days using super-filtrated water. The blocks are cut to order using a Japanese ice saw, then a butchers' bandsaw. Each larger block makes about 800 standard-drink ice blocks which can be delivered straight to the doors of Melbourne's restaurants, caf├ęs and bars in Navy Strength's refrigerated van. According to Madrusan, this is just the beginning of his crusade to rid bars of substandard ice. "The plan is to expand to a full factory that can make about 20,000 blocks a week," he says. Word is, he's also in very early talks about extending the crusade to Sydney. Now that's a lot of integrity.

Navy Strength Ice Co, 150-156 Gertrude St, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9416 2229







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