Ask RuBo: Holiday Edition

Ruth Bourdain is a fictional mash-up of Ruth Reichl and Anthony Bourdain.

Dear RuBo,
I've read a lot of stories in the past year about fancy ice, and about how you're not supposed to use ice cubes from trays anymore for your cocktails. I'm throwing a holiday party and want it to be nice. Do you think I should go out and get special ice, or what?
—Cold Feet

Dear Cold Feet,
If you have the time and airfare, yes, you should by all means fly to Alaska and chip away at a glacier to procure ice for your cocktail party. That's what glaciers are fucking there for, right? And they're melting anyway, so I say go fill your ice bucket while you still can. Just be careful to avoid a certain crazy lady with an up-do, a rifle, and a screw loose.

On the other hand, if you can't afford the trip, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using homemade ice cubes made from regular tap water. In fact, the benefits of homemade ice are seriously underappreciated.

Homemade ice comes "preinfused" with so many amazing flavors right there in your own freezer. Those snails you brought back from Liberia? Check. That old hunk of camel loin you smuggled home from Saudi Arabia? Yessirree. Half-eaten box of frozen waffles? Why not. Ostrich giblets? Now you're talkin'. Octopus ’nads? Fuck yeah! Wow. I'm getting thirsty and hungry as I write this.

The longer the ice has been in the freezer, the better it will have absorbed all those odors, er, flavors. You'll mix the meatiest Mojito on the block.

Dear RuBo,
I like to serve mulled wine at my annual holiday party, but the ladle always falls down inside the serving container, and then somebody has to stick their hand inside to get it. Do you have a solution to prevent this situation?
—Sticky Hands

Dear Sticky Hands,
You've obviously never played the game Drop the Ladle. Without getting into too many tawdry details (not sure if this is a children's site), let's just call it a grown-up variation on Spin the Bottle. It's fucking fantastic, unless you don't want to have casual sex at your holiday party.

If you are going to insist on being a fucking prude, however, an obvious solution is to dispense with the ladle altogether and let your guests lap up the wine directly from the rim of the bowl.

Dear RuBo,
Is there a polite way to eat Mexican wedding cookies or other powdered-sugar-coated holiday treats without getting the sugar all over your nice holiday outfit?
—Dusty

Dear Dusty,
There are a couple of different but effective techniques. One tried-and-true method is known in the hospitality industry as The Slingshot. All you need is a rubber band and a willing accomplice. Ask said accomplice to strap one end of the rubber band to the cookie and pull it taut, then you open wide, signal for release, and prepare for a sweet, clean, buttery shot right at the uvula (also known as the backboard). It will hurt a little, but you'll stay sugar-free.

Another option is to consult your local cocaine abuser. He or she will undoubtedly be able to share with you a number of tools—from coke spoons to straws—that you can repurpose to snort off all the loose powdered sugar from the surface of the treat before it has a chance to spoil your holiday outfit. Happy holidays!

Got an etiquette dilemma for RuBo? Email ruth.bourdain@chow.com.