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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 - 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?


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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