Types of Ice
It's Mother's Day - the perfect day for brunch. Fun, relaxed, and usually involving an adult beverage (or two!) brunch is a Sunday favorite. Here are some tips on creating the perfect spread:
For a buffet style brunch: fresh and simple is best! A raw bar, like the one pictured above, is a really lovely touch, but make sure you have the proper ice and refresh the spread often to keep things fresh and cold. Including an assortment of jams, jellies, and spreads to go with your pastries is also a nice touch. Another buffet tip - a Bloody Mary bar is a fun and interactive talking point to anchor your brunch spread!
For a full menu brunch: a variety of choices is best to please your guests. Choose some sweet, some savory, and some traditional lunch items (sandwiches, cheeseburgers, etc) to make sure everyone can get what they want! Eggs benedict is an easy favorite and can be dressed up with a variety of proteins from ham to duck breast. Don't forget to keep some items vegetarian/gluten free as brunch can be heavy on the carbs and bacon for those with dietary restrictions. And finally, add sides! Fun to share (and an easy upset for the servers) some small, shareable plates such as a grapefruit brûlée or fried brussels sprouts will elevate your brunch game.
For the drinks: Mimosas are classic, but why stop there? Classic champagne cocktails can be fun and innovative. Bloody marys can be extreme when they are loaded with different ingredients. Particularly for Italian restaurants, don't forget a selection of classic, seasonal bellinis utilizing different fruit purees. Finally, offer some non-alcoholic beverage options: classic cappucinos and fresh pressed juices are easy, classic crowd pleasers.
Ice does two things for drinks: makes them cold and adds water. Bartenders use different kinds of ice to control these factors. In general, the heavier the ice the faster a drink will get cold and the slower it will melt. Ice types with more surface area and lighter weight will melt faster. Shaking or stirring will speed both up. But it’s more complex than that.
Water type – Impurities in water can affect the taste of ice and the overall drink, so most bars use filtered water. But trapped gases like oxygen can also make ice melt faster and look less appealing. Gourmet ice cubes use special freezing techniques to remove gases so ice is clear and very heavy.
Cubed – Cubed ice is used in drinks served “on the rocks.” Large heavy cubes add just enough water to the drink to release flavor compounds without diluting the drink too much. However, they aren’t good for shaking or stirring.
Cracked – Cracked ice is just cubes broke up with a mallet. This is the classic ice for shaking and stirring in cocktails. It chills very quickly. The ice is usually strained out afterward to prevent meltwater from affecting the final product.
Crushed – Crushed ice in the bar business is much like snow cone ice. This kind of ice is used in certain cocktails like juleps where the goal is to have a very cold drink. Cocktails with crushed ice use a lot of alcohol to make up for how fast the ice melts.
Blended – What about all those bar blenders you see in the stores? That’s just a way to make crushed ice at home. Better than whacking it with a mallet over and over again!
Ice ball – The current trend in high-end ice. Bartenders will use special molds for large cubes to make clear ice balls. Some even carve them by hand! Ice balls are even heavier and colder than cubed ice, sometimes filling the whole glass.
We’re fond of all types of ice, from clear to nugget to flake, but we rarely talk about clear ice cubes. Clear ice is used in the more ritzy drinks and for special occasions, and most of the machines which make clear ice do so in small quantities – making them perfect for private parties, stadium boxes, and corporate functions.
We’re specifically talking about the U-Line CLR series of ice makers. They take ice to the next level by making them almost absolutely clear, free from most imperfections. These are definitely elite top-shelf ice cubes.
The primary way that clear ice gets clear is by removing the impurities in the ice and creating the cube from the inside out rather than the outside in. Water is constantly circulated over the building cubes to create those elusive clear cubes.
The U-Line CLR2160 makes its name by having a number of features:
- Produces 32 crystal-clear cubes per cycle
- Illuminated inner chamber to highlight the ice display
- Easy to use controls, so you know what’s going on at all times with your ice machine.
- Totally reversible doors which facilitate customization in the ice machine.
- For the small home kitchen, the U-Line CLR2160 can be built in or installed as a freestanding unit.
- Easy to remove panels and clean the unit, as well as having a 45 minute cleaning cycle.
- Comes with a scoop and drain line kit
Want to throw a party? This is where you do it, using the most luxurious ice you can get.
(Please note that the CLR2160 has been replaced by the CLR1215B model since this post was published.)
Bartenders, like all artists, constantly search for the latest and greatest in their craft. They are bastions of innovation, striving to find that extra ‘something’ which will wow their patrons and increase their own income. Recently, the more modern bartenders have been turning their creative eye toward ice and their commercial ice machine.
Ice can make the difference between ‘meh’ and ‘wow!’ for a patron.
A bartender’s commercial ice machine is more than merely an appliance. That Ice-o-Matic under counter ice machine might be responsible for delivering a cube which turns an ordinary night into magic. It’s the bartender who makes it happen, using care, creativity, and passion to deliver the experience as well as the drink.
New drinks are crafted all the time. Substitutions which change the entire dynamic of the drink often get made. For example, a bartender might decide to use flake ice instead of cubed ice for their next venture, transforming a normal Jack and Coke into something which feels completely different on the palate. It’s all about elevating the libations toward the experience that they strive for. .
Some bars are small enough to warrant only one commercial ice machine. Others require an under counter Ice-O-Matic and need a modular ice machine in the back to pick up the slack. Whatever it takes to keep the magic going. The magic of delighting patrons doesn’t stop with a single appliance.
Will an Ice O Matic commercial ice machine handle the new creations?
Of course! ice o matic has several styles to fit the needs of bartenders everywhere. Each commercial ice machine has different a different style and capability. Does the drinkmaster want to devise a flake ice sculpture? How about cocktails? Neither are a problem because there’s an ice machine that can handle the load.
The ice that a bartender uses in a drink can make or break the flavor, appearance, and overall ‘feel’ of the drink. Because of this, they are constantly experimenting with ice and consistently on the search for the perfect cube to completely make th experience. More traditional bartenders work hard to elevate the old stand-bys to encourage their patrons to go ‘wow.’ Whether the drink was just created yesterday or around for hundreds of years, the ice served from the Ice-o-Matic commercial ice machine makes a difference.
With the rise of molecular gastronomy, bartenders are taking drinks to entirely new alchemical levels. For example, there are some very fancy new drinks that use techniques like dehydration or spherification. Traditional bartenders are also turning to the nuances of ice to elevate old standards. Whether new or old, the ice served from the ice o matic commercial ice machine makes a difference in the cocktails people drink.