Nestor Diaz/Demand Media

If you want to add a semi-sophisticated touch to cocktails, serving them over crushed ice is a quick and easy way to dress-up a drink. Crushing ice quickly in a strong blender is the best way to achieve fine consistency that is perfect for for both smoothies and cocktails; this method rapidly exposes more of the frozen surface.

Review the owner's manual for your specific model of blender to make sure it is suitable for crushing ice. (Some blenders have thin plastic pitchers that can be cracked by the spinning ice cubes).

Pull the ice that you intend to crush out of the freezer and allow it to rest on the counter for about five minutes.

Fill the blender's pitcher about a third of the way with ice cubes. Leave plenty of free space in the blender so the cubes have room to bounce around. Water or fruit juice can be added at this step to speed up the process.

Place the lid on and pulse the blender five to seven times in quick, two-second bursts.

Set the blender to chop or crush at medium speed and churn the ice by gently shaking the pitcher for 15 to 30 seconds. Some blenders feature a lid-mounted stir stick that you can use to move the ice and help it crush faster.

When it reaches the desired consistency, stop the blender and dump the crushed ice into an insulated ice bucket. Use immediately or store in the freezer for later use.