Chill Out: Beyond Zero Turns Booze Into Ice

Photo courtesy of Beyond Zero

Beyond Zero is a new freezer system that has the power to chill liquor into ice, making for a delicious and refreshing boozy treat that's perfect for summer (or you know, anytime). With its official launch in Kentucky, we can't wait for the freezer system to hit New York City in the coming months.

We sat down with Inventor and Founder, Jason Sherman to learn about Beyond Zero and the cool cocktails it creates.

Foodable Network: How did Beyond Zero come about? (Why Kentucky?)

Jason Sherman: As a bourbon and scotch drinker I often found myself getting served a watered down drink and wanted to do something about it, so I built a machine to freeze liquor into ice to solve the problem. Now, the liquor is the ice. Once it melts, it's much colder smoother and stronger versus anything made with regular ice. 

In order to demonstrate the technology and find a manufacturer we drove over 100,000 miles around the country sampling the product for people. During some trips to meet with various distilleries in Kentucky we wound up in Bardstown, the heart of bourbon country. We accidentally met the head of economic development, Kim Huston. She believed everything needed to build the machines was in Kentucky and she was right. Some of the best manufacturers and engineers are here. A few weeks later, we met our manufacturer, Winston Industries, who invented the fryer for the Colonel Sanders and the rest is history.

Photo courtesy of Beyond Zero

FN: Do you guys have backgrounds in food/drink?  

JS: I have a background in finance and law. I've self taught myself many aspects of thermodynamics and refrigeration in order to invent the machines. Some of the first prototypes were made in my living room. Two of our team members have extensive experience in food and drink. Tim Couch, our VP of Sales played a key role in the launches of Svedka Vodka and Redbull. Paolo Pincente, our Director of Marketing has world class experience in on-premise venue management including playing key management roles at Crobar Lounge and Club Space, both iconic nightlife venues. Bob Mandel, our CFO rounds out the team bringing vast corporate knowledge and experience with several successful startup companies.  

FN: When are you looking to expand to NYC? What are you looking forward to once here?

JS: Our machines ship mid-August and we have several interested locations in NYC looking to purchase. Any bar or restaurant looking to distinguish their cocktail menu from everyone else should visit our site to find out more. I'm looking forward to seeing the creativity of different bartenders and how they will use the machines to make drinks never seen before. The only limit is a bartenders imagination.

FN: Where and how can people get it?

JS: Machines are available for pre-sale at our website www.bzice.com. For as little as $100 per machine you can reserve one of the first off the factory line.  

Photo courtesy of Beyond Zero

FN: Tell us about the freezer system. How does it work exactly and what makes it different from others/unique?

JS: Basically it's two machines. One machine is a super ice maker that operates at a much lower temperature than regular ice makers. It freezes 1-ounce of liquor into four cubes every 3-5 minutes for all 80-90 proof base spirits like vodka, tequila, bourbon, whiskey, rum and gin. It also freezes wine or you can make a mixed drink and freeze the actual cocktail into ice, like Old Fashioned cubes or aperol spritz ice.

The other machine is a special storage freezer that operates at much colder temperatures than a regular freezer and holds 25-40 drinks worth of liquor ice depending on how many cubes are used in a drink. The cool thing about the storage is that you can freeze liquor into different shapes and sizes using regular silicon-based ice molds. We have frozen liquor into a diamond shape, skulls, letters, and a bunch of other cool looking shapes. Now, instead of a giant water ice ball diluting a $25 bourbon, anyone can enjoy a 1.5-ounce bourbon ball with some bourbon poured over it for a great tasting pure experience. 

FN: What is the best cocktail to make with the freezer?

JS: The system can make any classic modern. Simply replace the liquor count with liquor ice as the ingredient. Since liquor ice is so cold it makes for a great presentation when pouring a mixer or additional spirit over the ice because it gives a cool smoke effect. That said, it's the taste that ultimately makes a cocktail great and when you freeze liquor it pushes aside the ethanol alcohol heat of a spirit and reveals the underlying flavors typically masked. That's why so many people put their liquor in the freezer: most drinks taste better when cold. It's similar to having a warm coke versus a cold one. Warm soda is not good, but when it's cold, it's the best selling drink on earth. When anyone experiences a drink made with the beyond zero system they will instantly taste the difference. We call it the "wow" factor because the taste is so drastically better that even master distillers in Kentucky say "wow!" when they taste the difference.  

Photo courtesy of Beyond Zero

FN: Any unique features of the freezer that most don't know about?

JS: One of the coolest things you can do with the machine is make a progressive cocktail. Basically the drink starts out as one drink and as the ice melts it becomes another. For example, you can make a Manhattan with Old Fashioned ice cubes and as they melt the drink will change into an Old Fashioned. Another cool feature we have been experimenting with is beer cocktails where we add different liquor ice into a beer. We also really enjoy making wine spritzers and champagne based cubes that still bubble after being frozen.

FN: Any other future plans you can share?

JS: We are planning to make a high-volume machine and a residential unit which will allow anyone to try the Beyond Zero experience from the comfort of their own home. For those who can't wait, the current machines are approved for home use and we have been taking orders from people that want machines for their home or boat.