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Shape of ice

Do you care about the shape of your ice for your cold beverages?

I hadn't really given this much thought until today when I was asked this very question.

"Would you prefer cubed, crushed, nuggets, diced, crescent, or gourmet?"

I asked for crushed for my Root Beer.

But I suppose my answer would change depending on the beverage.

Liquor - gourmet
Soda - crushed or diced
Tea- cubed
Coffee - cubed

You? Are you particular about your ice?

More importantly, have you ever asked for a particular shape of ice for your beverage?

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  1. Absolutely. Shaved for a quick, cold melt in a martini up, crushed in a mojito or mint julep, one cube in a peaty scotch.

    1. I DO care about the shape of the ice in my cold beverage. I haven't been to any place that has given me options but I'll tell you what I DON'T want....crescent shaped ice.

      The kind that so many home refrigerators make.

      The kind that whose curve fits perfectly with the curve of my glass and blocks the drink from entering my mouth.

      The kind that plays mean tricks and directs the liquid to the sides so that it dribbles down the sides of my chin and all down the front of my shirt.

      Curse you crescent shaped ice!

      7 Replies
      1. re: seamunky

        a perfect time to use an old fashioned mustache cup............
        It holds the ice back and lets the cold liquid through

        1. re: bagelman01

          I just saw my first mustache cup at a Victorian museum tour this summer! What a grand idea!

          1. re: bagelman01

            I had to look it up. Very cool. Makes me wish I could grow a moustache. (Chowhound's spellcheck doesn't like that spelling of mustache but that's how I learned it and I'm sticking to it!)

            1. re: seamunky

              Your spelling is traditional British English. It's been dumbed down over time.

              1. re: bagelman01

                And I must confess to dumbing down the Brits' method of drinking gin - by adding plenty of ice cubes and every pickled fruit or veggie that's known to man!

              2. re: seamunky

                "(Chowhound's spellcheck"

                Chowhound has a spellcheck? how did I not know this?

            2. Ipse, it's hard to top a non-kosher bar mitzvah festival - just spot the towering ice sculpture and behold, you'll find the biggest shrimp in town. And other goodies!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Veggo

                LOL! Reminds me of the time I brought shrimp salad to a seder. Oy vey!

              2. i remember loving a certain type of ice served at a local grill. It had the appearance of being forced through a straw. It was cylindrical in shape and the pieces were a quarter inch or so long. the texture was almost flaky and had the mouth feel when crunched. Those were the BEST cokes.

                I can't say I am particular now although I do yearn for that straw ice. I general don't take ice in beverages except cocktails or fountain sodas.

                1. I prefer large cubes. The smaller ones or the shaved ice tends to melt too fast and dilute the drink.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Atomic76

                    I like the cylinders with holes n the middle because I'm a kid at heart and like to push my straw through the holes. I typically get this type of ice in bags at the narjet or 7-11. But ANY ice is better than NO ICE, imho.

                    Coffee Bean and Tea Eaf in SoCal typically has wat my bff andcI call 'pellets'. Small oblong pieces with a cettain crunch/flakiness. We've been known to go in and just ask for ice. ThoughvI usually end up with an iced tea because I can't resist.

                    1. re: Miri1

                      Yes! The pellets are what I was remembering.

                  2. I despise crushed ice in anything. I am very particular and will go without if only crushed is available.
                    Daily ice from the ice maker is crescent , alcoholic beverage ice is a perfect cube (it is difficult to get them out of the silicon mold though) and water bottle ice is from long tubes from a mold.

                    I have never asked for a shape but I will ask if it is cubed/refuse crushed.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: sedimental

                      I'm with you on the crushed ice front. I do lovelovelove an ice-cold beverage, so if crushed is what's on offer, I always opt for a straw, which I don't particularly care for, but don't particularly hate either...at least it prevents an avalanche of crushed ice on the face.

                      1. re: cayjohan

                        Or, if you're klutzy me, ice shards down the throat.

                    2. I am an ice fanatic..in fact the freezer in the garage has three bags of store bought ice in diffrent shapes...my dream is to be rich enough one day to have an ice maker that makes different shapes of ice.. It started when I gave up soda... the ice became this perfect water vesselpackage..

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: girloftheworld

                        The problem with ice being the perfect water vessel package is that it takes too long for a sufficient amount, for a good drink, to thaw.

                      2. I guess cubes for "regular" cold drinks, crushed ice for mojitos and frozen drinks.

                        I have a friend who is crazy for these huge golf ball sized ice spheres - I have discovered through drinking at her house that I kind of hate them. On the other hand she gave us a silicone Titanic-themed ice cube mold that makes cubes shaped like the ship that actually do float ass-up, 3/4 under the liquid, and cubes shaped like the iceberg that float mostly under the liquid- and those are great, even on a practical level. They are smaller than golf balls, for one thing.

                        1. May I ask where you were that offers such an ice selection?

                          I'm not sure what is gourmet ice. I'm guessing it's chopped with an old fashioned ice pick. I have never had that. I think I would like the irregular pieces, as I do love crushed ice. I also love nugget ice. Whenever I get a Sonic diet cherry limeade, I squeeze the lime over the ice leftover after drinking and munch the ice. Kids at school used to eat ice with lemon and salt

                          1. I'm a cube gal, all the way. More friendly to my beverage drinking self than either crescents or crushed.

                            I ice pretty much every beverage. The clinking sound of ice against a glass is one of my favorite sensory inputs. Crushed just doesn't do that, and the crescents, as seamunky pointed out, are a little too combative, despite their clinking capabilities.

                            I, also, am wondering what "gourmet" means with regard to ice shape.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: cayjohan

                              I, also, am wondering what "gourmet" means with regard to ice shape.

                              Rectangular, brick (sometimes "octagon") shaped.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Ah, so completely rectilinear, versus the slope-y sides of most home trays. I could get to love that. Doable at home? What special trays to look for?

                                1. re: cayjohan

                                  Dunno if it's doable. I just know there are commercial machines that do this. And do it perfectly.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    (I need to get out more. For ice.)

                                  2. re: cayjohan

                                    At Sur le Table are available trays of 6 cubes , trays made of silicon. They make cubes, each about 2" on a side, just love them.

                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                      I have those from SLT, they look cool, but the ice is difficult to remove, you need to run it all under warm water and pop each one out individually. Good for a "rocks"cocktail, too much work for daily iced beverages where you use more than one or two cubes.

                                      1. re: sedimental

                                        Really, l just bend the silicone and they pop out with no effort. Perhaps we are talking of different things. OTOH l never fill to overflowing so no bridge of ice on top, have never needed warm water.

                                      2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                        Thank you for the information - those look like something I need! Well, like I need another hole in the head, but I get wrapped up in some odd aesthetics at times, and ice is one of them. (I've got my afternoon iced coffee in front of me, and I'll admit to feeling a bit of mild contempt toward my Rubbermaid-made slope-y cubes as I fantasize about perfect rectilinear cubes. Oh, such problems, eh?) Tell me this, if you would: are the SLT King cube trays terribly wonky to handle with filling and situating in the freezer? I've had in the past some silicone muffin pans that irritated the snot out of me with handling. Since my fridge's freezer is battleground for space, too, are the silicone ice molds more space-hungry with their flexiness. Thanks!

                                        1. re: cayjohan

                                          l always have a partially used very large can of tomatoes in the freezer and this tray daintily sits upon it.

                                2. I prefer cubed, but not solid cubes. I like the dice sized cubes that are hollowed out by a dimple on one side.

                                  I prefer crushed for mixing martinis.

                                  I prefer gourmet for bruises or swelling!

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                    "I prefer gourmet for bruises or swelling!"

                                    that is what that odd bag of frozen peas in the freezer that nobody remembers buying is for

                                    1. re: girloftheworld

                                      Many moons ago a buddy of mine after have a few too many cocktails had an accident which involved him falling on top of a coffee table. Ok, I can't lie, he didn't have an accident and fell down, he just passed out.

                                      He cut up his back a bit and there was some immediate bruising however we were renting a shore house and didn't have any first aid supplies, bandages or ice for that matter. Using the old "Frozen peas" theory, our freezer only yielded a couple of frozen burrito's. Our next dilemma was how were we going to make sure these stayed in place all night? Have no fear, duct tape was here........so we duct taped the frozen burrito's to his back and for the time all was good in the world.

                                      Imagine his surprise being the first one up, with a badly bruised back, and now thawed and well rolled over and mushed burrito's duct taped to his back. To this day I don't think he believes he fell and that was our best attempt at proper medical attention, to him it was something much more devious on our behalf.

                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                        He probably felt like you made him into a suicide bomber.

                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          Burrito's have been known to have some "explosive" results, traditionally only after consumption.

                                  2. I don't add ice by choice to anything that I drink and actually don't even keep drinks in the refrigerator but if at someone's house or a restaurant I much prefer cubed to crushed. With crushed, I can't seem to get to the liquid as all my lips meet are ice cubes. Also I find it seems to make the drink feel much colder which as someone who doesn't like cold beverages is kind of an issue. I'll drink a cup with regular cubes and it's fine, but leave the crushed for ipse I guess.

                                    1. I am replying to this as I enjoy a glass of root beer over crushed iced--my favorite. I am a little freaky about my ice...I use a hammer to crush ice to my preferred texture.

                                      1. Very particular about ice. Will get back on this.

                                        1. The 2 inch diameter balls are my favorite when I do not want to dilute the drink.

                                          Large cubes for all other uses.

                                          I don't like crushed ice for anything except a bruise. And cooling beer.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                            I've never seen 2 inch diameter balls, or balls of any sort, but am curious. Is this in high-endy cocktail places? Is this a trend thing?

                                            Gäh, I think I am thinking about ice too much. But happily.

                                            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                              Woof, IndianRiver, this is one thing on which I disagree with you. I really don't like those two-inch ice spheres - they bang into my mouth while I'm trying to drink my drink! As I posted above a great friend of mine also loves them for your reason, I believe - but I find them awkward.

                                              1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                Don't do it. Be nice. It has been over a year since we were last banned for 2 weeks.

                                                Screw it.

                                                It all comes down to your level of experience. For those of us with decades, if not a lifetime, of manuevering balls around, it is not a problem. So practice ,practice,practice, so you can manipulate your balls without undue waste of fluids or discomfort.

                                                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                  Two inch balls can be somewhat unwieldy, especially if they bang into your mouth... even more so while you are trying to drink.

                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                    Set the mood with AC/DC "Big Balls" for background music.

                                                  2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                    What can I say, IndianRiver. I totally set myself up for that one. Bravo!

                                              2. I love good ice. I have all the fancy molds. 2" balls, 2" cubes, 6" spears, etc.

                                                For tiki drinks you need crushed ice. It's a texture thing in many ways. Also on the very rare occasions I drink soda I prefer crushed ice as well.

                                                Juleps need finely crushed ice, powdered practically to snow. That's where my lewis bags and mallets come in. Old fashioneds, single malts, bourbon, and rye on the rocks means one huge ice ball.

                                                Tall drinks, high balls, etc. I like the ice spears, a 6" long, by 1"x1" rectangle of ice. Unless the tall drink is a swizzle, then it needs crushed ice.

                                                I sometimes carve balls with either a knife or ice pick, but I much prefer to carve jewels if I have large clear block ice to work with. I have emerald cut and table cut down to perfection. I'm working on my round brilliant cut diamonds.

                                                When shaking cocktails good quality ice cubes are great, but as long as the ice isn't too wet it's fine. Wet ice is terrible. Hard to get good consistency.

                                                My dream of having a high end bar will be capped off by an extensive ice program. Beautiful clear 200 lb. block ice, hand cut into all the appropriate sizes and shapes for the drinks. As well as hand cracked for shaking and stirring. And for a select few, hand carved ice jewels.

                                                Here's a video of a bartender I know doing some of the more simple cuts.

                                                I am also looking for an excuse to buy one of these now that Cocktail Kingdom is selling them so much cheaper than wen they first came on the market.

                                                I'm not one to do shots, but if you have to, then it should be out if an ice shot glass.

                                                1. Interesting question. I'm not terribly picky about my ice, but I don't even use it at home with the exception of a very rare cocktail. However, during the summer if I'm at home for a while (I'm in AZ so summer is very hot) I do like to put a water bottle in the freezer for an hour or so, then squeeze it to break the ice into sheathes. This is probably my favorite ice experience-the water is blisteringly cold, but the ice doesn't actually touch your lips.