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Jan 13, 2007 01:04 AM

ice - what size cube?

Is there an ideal size ice cube for cocktails? I am interested in ones that are shaken and strained as well as on the rocks (like a gin and tonic) or even one shaken that is shaken but not strained.

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  1. Look in your freezer. Whatever size ice cubes you have in there, that's the ideal size for cocktails.

    I generally prefer cube ice from the store over ice made at home; home ice can pick up weird falvors and usually doesn't freeze quite as solid, meaning it melts faster. There's a company in Phoenix called Crystal Ice that makes absolutely wonderful ice cubes, about an inch and a quarter or so on a side and just perfect in every way.

    1. I prefer the smaller bar-sized cubes of ice, because you get more surface area for a given amount of ice. So you can get things to cool off more rapidly with the same amount of ice or use less ice. For example, I know some may call it sacrilege, but I like a little ice in my whiskeys, but one big cube may not coll things off as fast as I like and may water is down a lot. One to four small ones, depending on what I am drinking, can often cool it down faster and it does not water it down as much. If I put in one small cube, it's not watering things down a lot and the cooling effect is such to be complete in a short while.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Captain

        All well taken points Captain. However, it also follows that the smaller the cube the greater surface area in ratio to mass, i.e. it's melts faster. I guess we know you're not a man to determinedly dwadle over your dram, eh?

        1. re: Harp00n

          Yes, what you put in it melts faster as well as cools faster. But, I rarely dawdle all the same. Better to pour a smaller drink and then when you finish it and then have another. But if we are in a bar, pouring me a smaller one is not an option so long as I am playing for the fullsize drink.

          1. re: Captain

            I bet that statement would still stand, LOL, if you were "paying" for it too! :-)

            1. re: Harp00n

              Yes, I think the playing was a typo, ooops. Giving me a short pour is definitely an option when it's free. Who can complain when it's free. My favorite watering hole, sometimes it closes around me, has one staff member that will ask if I want another half beer, and the half has always been gratis. Sometimes I don't need it, but under those terms, I usually accept. And that and similar other examples of service are, of course, good reasons for why I keep going back.

      2. In general the bigger the ice the better for drinks. Most quality cocktail bars will have a kold draft machine which kicks out ice cubes that are 1 to 1.5 inches square. Some even sheetpans of ice and chip off blocks.

        There is a huge difference in a shaken or stirred drink that has larger quality ice as opposed to shell ice (the kind you see in most resturants). If you did two equal stirred drinks, one with larger cubes and one with general store ice you will end up picking up with a drink that has considerable more dillution with the smaller/crappy ice.

        Depending on how you like your drinks, this could be good or bad. You can always get a silicone muffin pan and freeze really good size blocks of ice for drinks.