What Types of Ice Are Best for Bars and Cocktail Lounges?

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Popular Ice Shapes Easy Ice

There are all types of ice cubes, each with different shapes and textures, for specific business needs. Each shape is meant to address various bar and restaurant environments.  

Depending on whether you own a high-end cocktail lounge or large sports bar, the type of ice cube you use can save you money or elevate the presentation of a drink.  

Let’s look at some of the best types of ice cubes for bars and cocktail lounges of any size.  

Types of Ice for Clubs, Sports Bars, and Neighborhood Bars 

Nightclubs and sports bars generally have a high-volume of customers that want drinks out fast, so they can get back to watching the game or hanging out with their friends on the dancefloor.  

Neighborhood bars, on the other hand, are smaller but often forced to serve a full house with only one bartender on staff.  

These establishments need a high-volume ice machine that can keep up with rushes of customers looking for a quick drink. Both Manitowoc and Hoshizaki make ice machines specifically designed to address these needs.  

Manitowoc dice and half-dice ice cubes are a great choice for bars and restaurants looking for a large ice production rate, but also want to maintain a more traditional-looking square cube. Dice ice machines produce a “rhomboid” shaped cube that comes is a range of production sizes from 500 lbs to 1800 lbs.  

Manitowoc half-dice machines produce a rectangular “rhomboid’ shape about 3/8 of an inch thick. These are a great cube if you’re trying to limit overpours, as they fill a glass nicely, making drinks appear fuller.  

Hoshizaki KM cubes have a unique crescent shape that displaces liquid in a glass, also making drinks appear fuller. These cubes are solid and clear, so they melt slower than most other cubes.  

KM cubes’ crescent shape enables liquids to cascade over them, reducing splashbacks and minimizing loss of product.  

Hoshizaki KM cubers come in a wide range of production sizes from 250 lbs to 1800 lbs of ice.  

Types of Ice for Whiskey Bars and Cocktail Lounges 

Whiskey bars and cocktail lounges serve top-shelf spirits to customers with discriminating tastes. These establishments have to get drinks out fast, while still paying attention to the presentation of the drink. Bar owners tend to prefer a large, square cocktail ice cube for spirits and cocktails they serve.  

Let’s Talk Presentation  

Square cubes are a perfect match for lowball glasses, especially when serving classic drinks like a Sazerac, Old Fashioned, or a bourbon on the rocks.  

Spirits served with square ice cubes in highball glasses also get a presentation boost. Large, square cubes stack nicely in these slender glasses, guaranteeing drinks stay consistently cool throughout.  

When square cubes drop into an ice bin, they form fission cracks that refract light in dazzling patterns, especially when contrasted with a darker spirit like a rum or bourbon.  

Functionality in Ice Cubes 

Whiskey and bourbon drinkers prefer a larger cube because they melt slower and won’t dilute a drink as quickly as crushed ice.  

Manitowoc makes a “regular” cocktail ice cube that is a bit larger than their dice shape (1 1/8 x 1/18 x 7/8) and also features their signature “rhomboid” shape. Regular cube ice machines come in a wide range of production sizes, from 500 lbs to 1800 lbs.  

Hoshizaki makes a more traditional square shaped cube in their IM-series ice machines. These cubes also make a great choice for high-end cocktail lounges. IM cubes measure 1 in x 1 in x 1 ¼ in, so they’re not a perfect cube, but very close.  

IM cubes also have a 1 cm dimple that forms as a result of the ice making process.  

IM machines have a smaller production output than Manitowoc’s regular cube machines. Hoshizaki IM machines come in two sizes 200 lbs and 500 lbs of ice per day. While this is smaller than most ice machine outputs, it will cover the ice needs of may cocktail bars, which tend to be smaller than many sports bars and clubs.  

Choose the Types of Ice that Work for You

Whether you own a club, sports bar, or whiskey bar, you should take careful consideration of the type of ice you use. The style of ice cube can make serving drinks easier in a busy bar or make for a dazzling presentation in fancy cocktails.  

If you’re interested in leasing the perfect ice machine that will cover your ice needs, contact us or call us at (773) 975-2005.  

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