1. Different Ice Sizes for your Cocktail Needs

    Ice is one of many things in life taken for granted. Yes, there many different forms of ice such as shaved ice, cubed ice, dry ice, and so on but there are many different uses. One of the best way to put your ice to best use is dropping a few cubes inside of your favorite summer cocktail.

    The type of ice used can either make your beverage of choice, a hit-or-miss. Serving the best possible ice possible starts with the quality. Be sure to use high-quality water such as filtered water as opposed to tap water from your home’s facet. Ice cubes made from poor quality ice tend to melt quickly resulting in watered-down drinks.

    If limited dilution is your preference, be sure to use large rock cubes. This is perfect for whiskey lovers. A large, square cube is sure to impress your customers. If you're looking for something with 'wow' factor - try a perfectly spherical cube! These may also contain frozen flowers which look gorgeous in your cocktails and will impress your customers. And if you tend to be on the lighter side, crushed ice is perfect for a Mint Julep or Moscow Mule. Choose your ice wisely and may your summertime margaritas be full of color and flavor! Dry ice is a great addition to evening cocktails with flair.

  2. How to Act in a Trendy Bar

    There's a new trend in the world of bars and pubs. That trend is being dubbed the 'trendy bar.' While your average bar is a place to go for your standard drinks, the trendy bar is less so and more a place to be seen there. They do not have bartenders, they have mixologists.

    Walking into a trendy bar, you will probably at first feel uncomfortable. Many of the patrons seem like they didn't get the memo about the dress code and will be booted out. Others are decked out in all things that glitter, definitely stopping in for a pre-drink before moving on. The rest of the crowd are bearded, gin-and-tonic swirling hipsters.

    Even ordering off the menu is an exercise in the unknown. By ordering the least threatening, or most familiar sounding item on the menu, you receive something in an artisan glass with artisan ice topped with something that may or may not be dried fruit.

    Forget about a pint of your favorite bitters or just a simple ale. It's all craft beers, with the option of a scoop of organic peanut butter.

    Facial Hair is Crucial

    If you are male and not sporting a well-quaffed beard, be prepared to be ignored. Especially by the mixologists, all sporting their own well trimmed facial hair. Also, you'll likely feel like you're being silently judged by the other bearded patrons.

    Forget about the nuts and pretzels. Forget about the usual bar food of french fries and greasy hamburgers. You'll find organic nuts and overpriced food on the menu.

    Your average bartender is well known for being a stand-in for a therapist. This is someone that you can talk about your sorrows whilst attempting to drown them in a boilermaker. Not so with the trendy bars. They have mixologists who obviously are too busy trying to remember the complex recipes from their menu to listen to how your wife just left with a bearded fellow.

    Then there's the issue of sizing. Everything is tiny. Most don't mind, however, unless they're used to regular bar sizes of drinks. And then there's the fact that you're paying out the nose for a tiny portion of gin-and-tonic, served in a tiny tea cup no less.

    To conclude, there will be no noisy patrons lifting one up in toast of the announcement of a birthday. There is no knocking back shots of tequila until someone vomits. But there is posing. With their smartphones for selfies.

  3. Slow Food Popular in Costa Rica

    Liz Furlong speaks of Costa Rica fondly. After all, she is one of the most in demand bartenders in the country. She has consulting appointment booked well into 2017.

    As she weaves her way through trellaces of passion fruit vines at Las Hortelanas, a small organic farm in Santa Ana, she recalls her impressions from her first bartending gig in the country.

    “There were fruits I had never heard of, all these plants and herbs. Everything was super vibrant and super-fresh,” she recalled.

    Her first bartending gig was at the Hotel Belmar. She noticed that situated across the property were all of these edible, organic flowers. No one was using them for anything other than decoration, so she did.

    Training Elite Bartenders

    Furlong moved to Costa Rica four years ago. She travels all over the country, working with chefs and helping to design custom cocktail menus. She also trains bartenders for high-end bars and restaurants.

    At the same time as her arrival in the country, there was a slow movement among the hospitality industry. The movement was transitioning from imported foods and drinks to home-grown, organic ingredients.

    Many of the old-school Costa Rican chefs are trained in French Cuisine. This means that the chefs are left with two options when it comes to ingredients. They can either force local ingredients into submission or they can import. There is also the assumption that tourists would prefer American fare and pasta to local, indigenous foods.

    If you want traditional Costa Rican food, one must typically visit a clandestino. A clandestino is an unlicensed restaurant, typically operated out of a local resident's home. At this kind of restaurant, you can find offerings like olla de carne. It is a delicious stew with beef, rice, pumpkin, yucca, and potatoes. Also on offer is actual ginger ale, served from glasses taken from the freezer.

    It has begun a trend among eateries in the tropical location. Several are now opening with empasis on using local ingredients and service fare that proves that Costa Rican food is far from boring.

  4. Drinks to Enjoy Anytime of Year

    While some people think that drinks with ice somehow go out of style in the winter months, here are a few drinks made with shaved or cubed ice that your guests can enjoy any time of year.

    During the month of February several restaurants which include Starbucks and Wendy’s are featuring iced coffee drinks available even during the depths of winter. Chick-fil-A restaurants are even giving these caffeinated taste treats away for free with no purchase necessary - but only one per customer per day. Why not try introducing your customers to the joys of iced coffee as well? You can be sure that you’ll have plenty of nugget ice on hand with any of the nugget ice machines ( that we offer at Ice Machines Plus.

    Looking for something Alcoholic?

    For Valentine’s Day, if you and your beloved would much rather spend a quiet evening at home basking before the firelight after an intimate dinner for two or enjoying a movie night, why not treat yourselves to a luscious Cherub’s Cup Cocktail filled with fresh strawberries and infused with the tastes of both elderflower and rose?

    And if by chance you are just back from a trip to the Big Easy earlier this month and are still hankering for a taste of New Orleans and that exotic Cajun flare that reminds you of Mardi Gras, why not make up a tall, icy glass of Rumbalaya? This seasonal reminder that spring is on its way features dark rum, vanilla and all spice is especially festive and exotic when served over ice.

    This President’s Day holiday is a time on the calendar when many people get to enjoy some time off. Why not try the Wild Sacramento? It features the name of the Capital of the Golden State of California? This drink, reminiscent of Long Island Ice Tea has the taste of several white liquors and citrus fruit juices all enjoyed in a chilled glass and served over Ice-O-Matic ice.

  5. Ice Bar Open for Just Two Weekends

    Ice BarHave you ever heard of a pop-up restaurant? It's a restaurant that's here today, gone tomorrow, and usually invitation-only unless you're lucky enough to stumble on it. There's also pop-up bars, and while this next bar isn't so much a secret, it is only around for a limited time.

    In Rockland, Maine and the Samoset Resort, an executive chef has created a frozen ice bar that's only going to be open for two weekends. He's calling it the Glacier Ice Bar & Lounge, and everything there is made of ice. One has to wonder what kind of ice machine they're using to make it all!

    It's a regular thing at the resort, but only for a very limited time. This year's theme is a pirate theme. The décor includes hidden treasure chests, pirate sculptures, and glasses made of ice. You'll want to bundle up though, and maybe skip the hot chocolate with your order.

    The strange thing about many of these ice structures is that they aren't as cold as one might think. Both ice and snow can act as insulators when they're thick enough. Get enough warm bodies inside and it can be rather pleasant, though you'll still need to bundle up a little of course.

    This isn't the only place that chef Tim Pierce does ice carving for bars. He's planning on making a similar bar in upstate New York and one in Bangor as well. If you like ice carving and really exotic locations, why not seek out some of his creations?

  6. Savory Cocktails

    Shrimp CocktailWhen you’re talking about drinks to serve at your bar, experimentation is the key. Everything is on the table when you’re thinking about ingredients for your drinks, too. For example, the Bourbon Trail from the Delmonico Steak House offers a delightful mixture of coffee liqueur, orange peel, and Buffalo Trace Bourbon. Essentially, if it’s got a flavor, it can be incorporated into the drinks.

    Do you add bacon into the mix when you’re talking about drinks and liqueurs? Put a little bacon gin, lavender syrup, crispy prosciutto, and more together to create something that’s not only drinkable, but some say that it’s on this side of heaven.

    While we haven’t seen any ramen broth cocktail recipes to spice up our time, we’re sure that there are some out there who have chosen ramen as a way to express oneself. We honestly believe that there needs to be more savory drinks brought into the world. 

    Some would say that the love of undercounter ice machines and bars go hand in hand. Where else will you get to see beautifully clear squares of ice being dropped into savory liquors and liqueurs? What kinds of experimentation do you do with your undercounter ice machine and your cocktails? Have you brought something revolutionary to the field? We’ve love to hear about it!

  7. Qualities of a Great Bar

    Bar InteriorThe entertainment world is one place where it’s necessary to stay at the cutting edge. Never is this so prevalent as with the layouts of modern bars. To get the people coming, there has to be that mix of ambiance, food, and equipment. How do you keep the bar backs stocking the bar back coolers because the customers keep coming?


    We’ve seen bars all over the country (and the world), and we believe that the one thing that makes them seriously popular is that they have a theme or an idea that they are true to. For instance, one local Irish pub has great Irish food, lots of wood, and traditional favorites on the menu. It would feel extremely out of place if one were to see Asian food on the menu and J-pop playing on the speakers.


    What do you stock the bar back coolers with? A variety of drinks, but those drinks have to stay in tune with the rest of the bar. Your place, for instance, probably shouldn’t have the world’s largest collection of alcoholic lollipops if the theme doesn’t necessarily fit with it.

    Customer Service

    More and more, people are going to bars for the experience, rather than just to get a few drinks. Sure, they want to hang out with friends once in a while, but they do entertain the possibility of making new friends and treading up to new horizons. A top-notch customer service experience can truly make this happen.

    What are some of the things that your bar has that nobody else has? Are you getting in all of your patrons on the basis of your televisions, your food? What sets you apart? We’d love to know.

  8. Ice and the Bartender: Know Your Ice

    Know Your IceScience says that ice is water in its frozen state. At the most basic level, this is true. However, knowing the different kinds of ice and where they are used can make or break your duties as a bartender.

    With the exception of warm drinks, ice is second to alcohol when it comes to importance in a mixer. Ice not only cools the drinks, but as it melts, it becomes a part of the mixture. Where bartending is concerned, there are four different types of ice: cube, cracked, shaved, and block. Each has their place in the myriad of cocktails that can be made.

    Cubed ice is great for just about anything. From juice to soda to that echelon of the south – sweet iced tea. In the world of the bartender, cubed ice is good for drinks on the rocks and other mixed drinks. The larger, thicker surface area allows the ice to melt much slower. It is recommended that the glass or serving container be filled approximately 2/3 with ice.

    Cracked ice is utilized best in frozen drinks as cubes can clog a blender and dull blades faster. Making cracked ice is relatively simple and requires a towel, Lewis bag, or another type of canvas bag. The other utensil needed is a blunt instrument. This type of ice is perfect for frozen daiquiries and margaritas.

    Shaved ice is what you typically find in soda fountain machines. It can be shaken with a cocktail to produce a slurry like mixture, a key component in adult snow cones.

    Back in the day, all ice started out as block ice. Thankfully, we no longer have to rely on picks and shavers to reduce block ice. This type of ice is still utilized to chill party punches and can take many different shapes. Many different kinds of novelty molds for ice are available. Just be sure that they are able to be easily removed.

    Another form of ice that is gaining popularity is the ice ball. Japanese bartenders utilize this particular form for serving whiskey on the rocks.

    Ice is important in the world of bartending. Know your ice and what types of drinks to utilize them in and you'll be set for your next entertaining endeavor.

  9. Cocktails for Thanksgiving

    CocktailsThanksgiving conjures up images of turkey, stuffing, and green bean casserole, but what do some people do after the festivities? They head out and watch bartenders create drinks using ice from their undercounter ice machines. Here are some combinations for drinks that you might not have thought about.

    Identity Crisis

    Thanksgiving puts a mishmash of delights on a collision course. You can have your celebration any way that you choose, even create your own tradition. This drink brings together the blending of the cultures with Mezcal, Angostura Bitters, Agave Syrup, Lemon Juice, and dry sparkling wine. You can get the fizz, the smoky, and the sweet all together.

    Mix these ingredients together with ice cubes to chill. Strain it out, then garnish it with a little mint. For proportions and a few more recipes, check out this Houston Press article.

    Fall Fashioned

    If you’re tired of the old fashioned and want to spruce it up for Thanksgiving, you can have a Fall Fashioned. This takes your traditional ingredients and throws a bit of cider in the mix. Whiskey, apple cider, simple syrup, orange juice, and some bitters blend together to make the magic happen.

    Muddle a bit of orange, add some ice from your undercounter ice machine, and stir it up. You can read about more cocktails over here in this Maxim article.

    What kinds of drinks are you going to make to honor the season? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

  10. What's Hot in Cocktails?

    Cocktail TrendsIt’s that time of year when you take a look at the new up and coming trends for the coming year. What’s hot? What’s not? What’s going to get your Manitowoc ice machines fired up this year? There’s a bunch.

    According to one of the bartenders at PABU in San Francisco, clear, hand-cut ice is becoming more of a thing because it adds to the aesthetic of a good cocktail. We’re all for that, most definitely, and we even have a clear ice machine for those who don’t want to hand craft their ice.

    You might also start seeing your vermouths and your sherries ending up on the rocks. It’s something interesting to start the bar-hopping adventure with, something that people love the flavor of. There was a time when it was unheard of, but now it’s something that people want to try.

    Bartenders are starting to move away from the classic cocktails, too. They’re beginning to experiment with what’s good, trying it out on their customers. There might be bad cocktails, but that’s part of the magic of creativity. It might have started out bad, but then there are bartenders out there who are making them good again.

    What types of trends are you seeing in your local bar? Do you think that you’re going to be seeing more Manitowoc undercounter ice machines to accommodate the new trends? Tell us in the comments.

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