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What about ice in the bar?

“Everything in moderation, and that includes moderation itself.” 



Honestly - in hospitality [and especially bars] we should study this quote often - maybe daily.
Bartenders are so prone to overdoing it with details at times - and then [or others] neglecting other details. 
One of the first totally neglected point - but nowadays vastly overdone topic is ice.

Until the "ice-craze" ice for drinks came out of a ice-machine. Usually a crappy one, which was not able to produce proper cubes - nor consistent and adequate quality of and shape of ice.
These ice machines are still standing in a lot of hotels - a lot of restaurants and a lot of bars.
Maybe half a decade ago, there was a rather healthy shift to better machines - ]lets mention here the only two brands, which are until now able to produce proper cubes: Hoshizaki and Kolddraft] - and everything could be so good.
But this was not enough for some. Japanese bartenders are chiselling ice shapes out of large blocks. This is perfectly fine in Japan, a land which is anywhere obsessed with details - but there guests are also willing to wait for quite a long time for a drink. But anywhere else it just became a fashion, which was quite unhealthy - as it was [and is done] not really in moderation.

While Dave Arnold [then working for the Culinary Institute of America and writing on the blog cookingissues.com - now a co-owner of the bar Booker & Dax] proved, that ice doesn't have that much impact, the general public [or the average joe bartender] didn't heard on voices of reason - but just parroted the current fashion - ice has to be extra pure [yeah it has to be made with clean, unpolluted water - but nothing more], has to be extra cold [despite the fact, that the "natural" temperature is 0ºC - not more, not less] and it has to be as big as possible [Dave Arnold at least proved, that the shape doesn't have an impact, if a cocktail with ice is shaken or stirred].

While some people are still doctoring with large home-frozen ice blocks, there are also companies, which take advantage out of it.

One company contacted me, to sell me an ice machine, which can produce cocktail-glass shaped ice [in this case you have only a holder and drink directly out of the ice]. Disadvantage, ice is melting [even if it is slow] and makes a mess.. and the machine was about U$11,000.
Another company contacted a colleague, to sell directly a frozen "glass" which resembles a beer mug.
They even mentioned, that it is inexpensive. Well - I don't know about you - but for me it is not inexpensive, if I have to add 2 U$ to the cost for every drink I use it for. Are these guys so delusional and have not a bit understanding, how you are calculating in hospitality? Or do they just want some stupid professionals? Not sure...

Another company I came across is Gläce Luxury Ice.
You get vacuumed pouches of ice made out of... water [apparently they say, that it is impurity free - so I guess, it is distilled water they are using] - perfectly cut into perfect cubes - or perfect spheres [you could call them balls].
I haven't told you the shocking detail - one piece of ice will set you back around 8 - 10 U$ [yes - not Dirhams - I am talking about cold and hard US Dollars].
Off course, one pouch doesn't contain one piece of ice only, so you have to buy at least 5.
The folks over at Gläce - don't get tired to say, that usual ice is contaminated [yes minerals are contaminating your water... not necessary in a bad way]. But off course they don't say, that commercial ice machines are not connected directly to the water source, but always filter the water before. I have to be honest - the containers of ice machines, which are holding the ice, are usually not surgically clean - but then we are talking about ice, which melts and "washes" any pollution off itself.
Needless to say, that ice from the tab [via a filter] is so much environmentally friendly and so much cheaper.
They also target "mixologists" - and all I can say is, shame on those, who are buying these product, because they are too lazy or too dumb to get proper ice.

Yes - you can freeze ice properly and clear [and especially in bars and hotels, which have a "walk-in freezer" this isn't a problem at all - just use a ice box.
Silicon molds are available [even if not really cheap]- and even an ice sphere maker is cheaper, than buying a week worth of Gläce ice. Off course you have to cover the box [cling film], use proper water [not from the tab - but the cheapest bottled water or filtered water is enough]. And after it is frozen, you can vacuum bag the ice, so you can freeze the next and the ice is air tight and doesn't take other aromas.

But maybe I don't get it... or maybe I am just not a freaking millionaire [wannabe], who has enough money, to even through it out for ice cubes.
Who knows?

===========================

Edit:
The folks of Gläce Luxury Ice mentioned on their facebook page, that they were featured on "The Colbert Report" - unfortunately they just mentioned to add a picture and no link.
Guess what - I was able to "research" the original piece of the show - please see below... Not sure though, if they still like to associate themselves with the show though... have fun!









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