Ice Pick Cocktail Recipe

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Ice Pick Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Ice Pick cocktail is a refreshing and simple drink that gained popularity in the United States during the 1940s and 1950s. It is believed to have been named after the tool used to break ice in the early days of bartending. The Ice Pick is a favorite among vodka lovers and is perfect for hot summer days or as a palate cleanser between courses.

How Ice Pick Tastes?

The Ice Pick cocktail is crisp, refreshing, and slightly sweet with a hint of tartness from the lemon juice. The vodka adds a smooth, clean taste, while the iced tea provides a subtle earthiness.

Interesting facts about Ice Pick

  • The Ice Pick cocktail is often served in a highball glass, making it a perfect drink for sipping on a hot day.
  • The drink is sometimes garnished with a lemon wheel or a sprig of fresh mint.
  • The Ice Pick is a versatile cocktail that can be easily customized by adding different flavors of iced tea or using flavored vodka.


A few good options for Ice Pick are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose


  • Why: Vodka is a neutral spirit that delivers a clean, crisp bite, providing the potent backbone for the cocktail.
  • Effect: It dictates the alcohol content, impacting both kick and warmth.
  • Without It: No Vodka? No party! This would no longer be an Ice Pick but a sweet lemon iced tea.
  • Alternatives: Swap vodka with gin for herbal notes, or bourbon for a southern twist.

Alex Green

Lemon Juice

  • Why: Lemon juice is the 'zing' in the mix, offering a tangy, fresh citrus component to balance sweetness.
  • Effect: Helps to cut through the sweetness and provides a refreshing acidity.
  • Without It: The drink would be overly sweet and flat.
  • Alternatives: Lime juice for a sharper tang, or orange juice for a softer citrus profile.

Emma Rose

Iced Tea

  • Why: Iced tea gives the drink its signature flavor, adding to the depth and offering a mellow contrast to the citrus and sweetness.
  • Effect: Provides a tea tannin complexity and a non-alcoholic volume to the drink.
  • Without It: You'd lose the character of the drink; it'd be like a boozy lemonade.
  • Alternatives: Opt for green tea for a lighter taste, or a spiced chai for added complexity.

Mary Mitkina

Simple Syrup

  • Why: Simple syrup is the sweet talker, smoothing over any sharp edges in flavor.
  • Effect: Balances the tartness of the lemon and the bitterness of the tea.
  • Without It: The cocktail might be too tart or too bitter for some palates.
  • Alternatives: Honey syrup for a floral touch, agave nectar for a slightly healthier option.

Alex Green

Garnish (Lemon Wheel or Mint Sprig)

  • Why: Garnish isn't just a pretty face; it provides an aromatic enticement before the first sip and subtly adds to the flavor.
  • Effect: Fresh mint adds a cool undertone, while the lemon wheel reinforces the citrus notes.
  • Without It: The drink works without it, but a simple touch of garnish elevates the experience.
  • Alternatives: Try a sprig of rosemary for a piney scent, or a slice of cucumber for a fresh, spa-like vibe.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Ice Pick Drink

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. In a shaker, combine vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  3. Shake well and strain into the highball glass over ice.
  4. Top with iced tea and gently stir to combine.
  5. Garnish with a lemon wheel or a sprig of fresh mint.

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh lemon juice for a more vibrant flavor.
  • Chill your glass before serving to keep your cocktail colder for longer.
  • Try using flavored vodka or infused iced tea for a unique twist.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Barbecue: The smoky flavors of grilled meats pair beautifully with the refreshing tang of the Ice Pick cocktail.
  • Salty Snacks: Think pretzels or salted nuts. The salty bite complements the cocktail's sweet and sour components.
  • Southern Comfort Food: Fried chicken or shrimp and grits can stand up to the bold flavors of the vodka and lemon.

Drink Pairings

  • Sparkling Water: For those looking to stay hydrated or pace themselves.
  • Coffee: An interesting juxtaposition for a post-meal cocktail, the bitterness of coffee will contrast and highlight the Ice Pick's sweetness.
  • Beer: A light lager can cleanse the palate between sips of the Ice Pick.

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What you could change in Ice Pick

  • Gin or Rum can be used instead of Vodka for a different flavor profile.
  • Lime juice can be used as a substitute for Lemon juice.
  • Honey or Agave nectar can be used as a natural alternative to Simple Syrup.

Explore all drinks starting with I here

And of course - twists🍹

Peachy Ice Pick

  • Ingredients: Substitute lemon juice with peach nectar, and garnish with a peach slice.
  • Recipe: Follow the original recipe but use peach nectar in place of lemon juice.
  • Taste: This brings a summery, fruity twist with a velvet peach undertone that's perfect for a hot day.
  • Why Make It: For those looking to sweeten things up and add a fruity dimension to their cocktail.

Icy Mint Ice Pick

  • Ingredients: Add a few fresh mint leaves into the shaker.
  • Recipe: Muddle the mint with the simple syrup before adding the vodka and lemon juice. Shake, strain, and serve as described above.
  • Taste: The mint infuses the drink with a fresh, cool burst, enhancing the crispness.
  • Why Make It: Ideal for a refreshing pick-me-up that invigorates the senses.

Sparkling Ice Pick

  • Ingredients: Top with club soda or a splash of sparkling lemonade instead of iced tea.
  • Recipe: Shake the vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Strain into a glass and top with your choice of sparkling addition.
  • Taste: Adding bubbles creates a refreshing effervescence, lightening the cocktail's body.
  • Why Make It: For a zesty, celebratory twist that dances on the tongue.

In case you forgot basics how to make Ice Pick

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Ice Pick

What is the best time to enjoy the Ice Pick cocktail?

The Ice Pick is a fantastic summer drink due to its refreshment factor, and is best enjoyed during warm afternoons or early evenings.

What is considered a 'flavored vodka' for this recipe?

Flavored vodkas are vodkas infused with a range of flavors from fruits, herbs, spices to more extravagant tastes like caramel or chocolate. Common choices are citrus vodkas like lemon or orange, and berry flavoured vodkas like raspberry or blackcurrant.

Is the Ice Pick cocktail strong?

The booze content in the Ice Pick is moderate as it contains 2 oz of vodka only. However, its strength can vary based on the amount of iced tea used, which dilutes the cocktail.

Can I prepare the Ice Pick cocktail in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the cocktail mix in advance, but it's recommended to add the iced tea and ice just before serving to retain the flavours.

I don’t have a cocktail shaker, can I still make the Ice Pick cocktail?

Yes, if you don't have a cocktail shaker, you can stir the ingredients together in a mixing glass or jug. Just make sure to stir it well before adding the iced tea.

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