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Aug 13, 2006 04:19 AM

That...that THING with the ice in it

I've been working a summer job at a restaurant with a rather nice wine menu. My question is about vocabulary. What is the term for the "buckets" of ice set near or on the table to keep the wines chilled? I want to say "carafe", but I think that's not right.


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  1. It's not carafe. The carafe is the glass thing they serve the house wine in (a bit like a decanter, only smaller as a decanter is built to expose as much of the wine surface to air as possible.)
    Isn't it just called a bucket?

    1. They used to be called ice buckets and wine buckets (including variants like Champagne buckets). These days you often hear them referred to by the generic wine chiller or wine cooler.

      OliveBelle's right about carafes, which are relatively wide-necked containers with a flaring lip that are used for serving beverages, often in volumes smaller than the original container's.

      1. "Ice bucket," is the term that I most often hear, as others have stated. Also, with strong deference to the other posters on the term "carafe," it is the glass container, most often used to serve "house wine," of to aerate wines for serving. In FR restaurant parlayance, "to decant" (using a decanter), and "to carafe," (using an open-mouthed vessel) are two different actions. Though decanting is often done to aerate the wine, when one gets strict in their usage (as FR restaurants are wont to do), "to decant," inplies that one is separating the sediment from the wine. This is often the case with Bordeaux reds, and wines like Vintage Port. "To carafe," implies pouring wine into another vessel for the sole purpose of aerating it. Some restaurants will use the more traditional decanter for this purpose, while some will differentiate between the traditional decanter (for decanting), and the open-mouthed vessel for "caraffing." Most often, it's just sematics, and the general shape of the vessel. I happen to use the term, "decant," when referring to both actions - but then I am not French, so I can get away with it, most of the time.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          interesting distinction... 10 years in the restaurant/wine business, and i've never heard that distinction made. i like it, though i'll probably keep just saying decant for both... *grin*

        2. Ice bucket is fine. The usual question from a waiter is, "would you like me to put that on ice"?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            you guys want a wine chiller. thats what they r called..."hey peter, put the bottle of chardonnay in a wine chiller" they are metal, keep them in the freezer part of the walk in and take out with wine service...the bigger ones are still chillers just with ice in it, napkin etc..bucket sound too "denny's"

          2. Thank you. I was especially interested in Bill Hunt's reply explaining the different (traditional) uses of decanters and carafes.