Al Fresco Aperitifs with Disco Cubes

Quench your thirst with these custom cocktail recipes

Cocktail recipes with Disco CubesCocktail recipes with Disco Cubes
BYOB has a whole new meaning these days, as many of us find ourselves playing bartender in our own kitchens. While there’s nothing wrong with a good old fashioned gin and tonic, many of us have taken up mixology as a quarantine hobby. If you’ve got a nice library of artisanal cocktails already, may we humbly suggest kicking them up a notch with artisanal ice?

Photographer/DJ/cocktail innovator Leslie Kirchhoff has made a whole career of it with her project Disco Cubes, which is as much a purveyor of bespoke ice cubes as it is art. She crafts custom designs and photographs them in a style that calls to mind the heyday of the ‘70s. In fact, her creations wouldn’t feel all that out of place amidst the decadence of Studio 54.

Luckily, no travel (time or otherwise) is required to enjoy these cocktail recipes, excerpted from Leslie’s new book Disco Cube Cocktails. While you’re certainly welcome to enjoy them wherever you like, we find them extra refreshing al fresco, on a hot and heady summer evening. So cue some Donna Summer and get ready to level up your happy hour.

Disco Cubes Cocktail Recipes

The Dancer + Grapefruit Hibiscus Cubes


The Dancer needs to get dressed up tonight and you’re creating her look. Embrace the disco attitude of excess and go wild with the garnishes, because sometimes more is more.

Makes 1 cocktail

4 or 5 Grapefruit Hibiscus Cubes
2 oz [60 ml] vodka, tequila, or mezcal
Soda water or tonic water, for topping off

Place the Grapefruit Hibiscus Cubes into a Collins glass. Add your liquor of choice and top off with soda water.


Makes 24 cubes

1⁄2 cup [20 g] dried hibiscus flowers
Strips of zest from 2 large grapefruits
8 oz [360 ml] freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice, strained
24 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
4 drops orange flower water
Two 1-1⁄4 in [3 cm] cube trays

In a large heatproof glass measuring cup, combine the hibiscus flowers, grapefruit strips and 16 oz [480 ml] of just-boiled water. Let steep for at least 5 minutes. Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain into another glass and let cool for about 10 minutes. Stir in the grapefruit juice, bitters and orange flower water. Pour the mixture into the trays and freeze until solid, about 4 hours.

Harry’s Bellini + Bellini Balls


Let it be known that the classic Bellini is not served in a Champagne glass, but a tumbler. Stick to tradition and ditch the stemware so you and your gang won’t end up feeling like ladies who lunch.

Makes 4–6 cocktails

Bellini Balls, 5 to 10 per glass
One 750 ml bottle prosecco, chilled

Scoop the Bellini Balls into assorted glasses and top with prosecco.


Makes 80 mini spheres

Two 1⁄2 in [1.25 cm] mini sphere trays
6 oz [180 ml] White Peach Nectar

Place the trays on a quarter sheet pan. Using a culinary syringe, fill the trays with the nectar, just to the top, not too full. Transfer to the freezer and freeze until solid, about 2 hours.


Makes 1 cup [240 ml]

1 white peach, pitted and sliced
1 oz [30 ml] freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed

In a blender, combine the peach slices, lemon juice and 2 oz [60 ml] of water. Purée and strain through a fine-mesh sieve. If necessary, add slightly more water or lemon juice so you have at least 6 oz [180 ml].

Disco Cubes Cocktail Recipes
Disco Cubes Cocktail Recipes

The Dinosaur + Pickle Brine Spheres


Looking not unlike an ecosystem in which you might find a tiny dinosaur, this wild combination is a slow sipper for those who enjoy a pickleback shot from time to time.

Makes 1 cocktail

1 Pickle Brine Sphere
2 oz [60 ml] whiskey
Cornichon, for garnish (optional)

Place the Pickle Brine Sphere into an Old-Fashioned glass and top with the whiskey. Garnish with the cornichon, if desired.


Makes 4 spheres

8 oz [240 ml] dill pickle brine
4 oz [120 ml] freshly squeezed lime juice, strained
4 oz [120 ml] freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
24 to 32 peppercorns, preferably a mixture of black, green, white and pink
4 dill sprigs
Four 2-1⁄2 in [6 cm] sphere molds

In a large glass measuring cup, combine the pickle brine, lime juice and lemon juice. Put 6 to 8 peppercorns into each mold, then top each with a dill sprig, twisted into circles if necessary.

Assemble the molds, then, using a culinary syringe, fill each with the pickle brine mixture (leaving space at the top for expansion, which will help the peppercorns not gather together at the top of the sphere) and freeze until solid, about 6 hours.

White Negroni + Rose Cubes


Makes 1 cocktail

1 Floral Cube, made with edible roses
1-1⁄2 oz [45 ml] dry gin
1 oz [30 ml] Dolin Blanc
1⁄2 oz [15 ml] Suze

Place the Floral Cube into a double Old-Fashioned glass to temper.

In a mixing glass filled with plain ice, combine the gin, Dolin Blanc and Suze. Stir for 45 seconds, then strain into the glass over the cube.


While it may be tempting to freeze edible flowers or herbs in an everyday ice tray, the clarity of these cubes is what truly sets them apart, so a clear cube mold is a must. Edible flowers are becoming easier and easier to find at grocery stores and farmers’ markets. They’re also easy to grow at home.

Makes 4 cubes or spheres

4 edible flowers, about 2 in [5 cm] long
2 in [5 cm] clear cube or sphere mold (preferably Wintersmiths)

Place 1 edible flower into each mold compartment. Fill the mold with water and freeze until solid, about 30 hours.

Remove the cubes or spheres from the mold, polish them and keep frozen until ready to use.

DISCO TIP: Keep buoyancy in mind when placing the flowers inside the mold. Face them downward to ensure that the bloom freezes toward the inside of the cube, rather than up against an edge.

Disco Cubes Cocktail Recipes

Photos courtesy Leslie Kirchhoff. All recipes excerpted from Disco Cube Cocktails.

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