No cocktail would be complete without a few sparkling ice cubes to finish the look and cool the drink. A commercial ice cube machine makes high-quality ice that lasts longer in drinks, making for better cocktails that you can often market for higher prices. The machine you choose will determine the shape, size, and quantity of ice, which may affect your drinks menu and how you run your bar.
Choose an Ice Cube Machine That Makes the Right Ice
Before buying an ice maker, you should consider the ice itself – various factors influence how ice behaves in cocktails and custom drinks, including:
Many master mixologists only use clear ice – regular ice cubes often have air bubbles trapped in them that cause a cloudy appearance. Clear ice not only looks better but also melts slower than cloudy ice because of its dense composition. If you’re hoping to feature crystal clear cubes on your drinks menu, look for an ice maker that uses directional freezing. This technique freezes the water in one direction, pushing air bubbles out as it goes.
- Ice shape
Standard ice cubes are not always the best choice for custom cocktails as they often melt very quickly, diluting the drink and changing its consistency. Look for an ice machine that makes spherical ice to cool premium whiskey cocktails without diluting them or altering the flavour. Ice flake makers produce soft ice chips that add texture to a drink and work best for daiquiris and other blended cocktails.
- Ice cube size
Larger ice cubes melt slower and work well for keeping a slow-sipping cocktail cool in a lowball glass. Large cubes are also perfect for cooling shaken cocktails, while smaller ones work best for blended drinks if you don’t have flaked ice on hand. Look for an ice maker with full and half-cube size settings to quickly make a diverse range of cocktails.
Modular vs Undercounter Ice Makers for Cocktail Bars
An under-counter ice cube maker is convenient and space-saving, supplying a steady stream of ice right to your bar counter. While they may save space, under-counter ice machines typically only produce up to 300lbs of ice daily, which may not be enough for a busy bar with a substantial cocktail menu.
If you’re looking for a large ice cube maker that produces between 500 – 1000 lbs of ice daily, you may be better off with a modular ice machine. Not all modular ice makers come with collection bins, and you may need to buy one separately to store enough ice for your needs, keeping it frozen and ready to use.
Whether you’re serving craft cocktails at dinner or running a busy hotel bar, a commercial ice cube machine makes pouring drinks easier and faster, keeping customers happy and ordering another round. The FED is a leading supplier of commercial kitchen equipment in Calgary, including modular, countertop, under-counter, and hotel-style ice machines – contact us for more information.
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