When it comes to temperature, we usually favor moderation.
After all, we prefer our subway cars air-conditioned in the summer, and nothing is more annoying than running out of hot water in the shower.
But for cooking, extreme, end-of-the-spectrum levels of heat and cold can be flavor game changers. So, in that spirit, for our December Monthly Edition, Fire & Ice, we've taken a closer look at the world of blast chillers and clay ovens, ice fishing and flaming cocktails.
This exploration starts with eisbock, a style of beer that depends on arctic temperatures.
These beguiling brews are created when bock beer is frozen: Because alcohol solidifies at a frostier temperature than water, the alcohol separates from the liquid, which turns to ice. Removing some ice creates a more concentrated, more flavorful beer with an elevated alcohol level. Consider it the opposite of adding ice to water down booze.
Although brewing and distillation laws make it tricky to produce eisbocks in the United States, there are no legal roadblocks in Europe, where traditional breweries in Germany and Austria are brewing eisbocks of uncommon complexity. We've gathered our favorites in an icy slide show.
And be sure to check back through the month as we continue to document the hottest and coolest dishes, techniques and products served on the plate and in the glass.
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