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Bar Tips: Different Ice Types for Different Bar Drinks

Nobody likes their cocktail warm right?

Nothing beats hanging out at the bar with an ice-cold, nicely chilled, well-shaken cocktail after a long day at work. If you are a bartender looking at ways to improve your craft, then you’re in the right place. If you’re also looking for ways to impress during your house party, here are the top six ice types that are guaranteed to keep your drinks cool. 

1.Crushed Ice

Drinks of choice:  Mint Juleps, Rum Swizzles

Want to add a bit of texture to your drink? Add some crushed ice, or better yet some flake ice. Making crushed ice is more of an art than anything else. If you opt to go the old fashioned way, you’ll need a bit of elbow grease, a Ziploc bag, and a mallet to create the perfect crushed ice.

If however, you’re like us, and prefer a less painful method, then you’ll use an ice machine. To be honest, who wants to be crushing ice at the end of a long day anyway? Flake ice is just as good and comes in irregular particle sizes that allow you to choose different textures for your drink.

2. Big Ice

Let’s be honest for a second. Don’t we all hate it when the ice in a drink doesn’t last and the drink becomes super diluted? It’s such a turn off. This is where big Herculean ice cubes come in to play. Their large surface area allows for a slow and controlled melting. If you want to host the perfect party, you need to make sure you’ve got the right kind of ice for your drinks.

3. Classic Ice

Drinks of choice: Rum and Coke, Margarita, Martina

If there’s one type of ice cube you can never go wrong with, it’s this one. The classic ice cube is perfect for almost any kind of drink. They are great for shaking and stirring Martini’s and won’t dilute your drink – like poorly made ice would. If you want to add a little twist to this classic ice, you should opt for nugget ice which has the added advantage of being ‘chewy’ and flavor-absorbing.

4. Punch Ice

Drinks of choice:  Punch

Punch is a staple at almost any party. If there is one thing you need to remember when hosting a party, it’s this. People will remember the food and drink. Therefore, you need to make sure you’ve done this part well. You can screw up the games, but don’t mess the food up – and this includes the punch. Get it right, make sure you’ve got enough punch ice to keep the punch flowing and chilled. Nobody likes lukewarm, overly diluted punch on a hot day.

5. Full-Dice and Half-Dice Ice

Drink of choice: Blended drinks, frozen cocktails

If you’re serving drinks on a larger scale you might want to invest in a couple of commercial ice makers to make full-dice and half-dice ice. These two ice types are perfect for complementing frozen cocktails, soft drinks, and mixed drinks. If you’re hosting events at a restaurant this is generally the ice that should be used to chill drinks. Half-ice is seen as the most versatile for such large functions. This is why it is so popular in commercial kitchens, at dispensers, and convenience stores.

6. Collins Ice

Drinks of choice: Any drink served in a Collins glass, Tom Collins

The ice that is served in a Collins glass complements the shape of the glass and is spear-like in nature. For this reason the ice is used more as an aesthetic addition – while still cooling the drink of course. To obtain these long elongated ice cubes you’ll need to use an ice machine. You could potentially use molds, but if you can, opt for the machine instead, you’ll get better, firmer, longer lasting cubes.

Not All Ice are Created Equal

It’s good to know that not all ices are created equal. If you’ve ever wondered how bartenders and restaurants always seem to make the best cocktails and serve the most chilled drinks, now you know their secret. And you too can recreate such drinks in the comfort of your own home. Cheers!