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Olivia MarcyBuying An Ice Machine

Elevate Your Cocktail Game: The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Commercial Ice Machines For Bartenders


When it comes to knockout cocktails, bartenders know that ice is more than just a chilling agent—it's a fundamental component that can take a cocktail from “meh” to “masterful.” The right ice will enhance the flavor profile, take the visual appeal and texture of drinks up a notch, and play a pivotal role in creating a memorable cocktail. 

However, achieving the perfect ice for each cocktail can be a complex task. This is where the right commercial ice machine for your bar comes to the rescue. With a reliable source of quality ice at your fingertips, you can elevate your cocktail craft to new heights. 


Mastering The Art of Cocktail Ice


In the realm of mixology, the choice of ice type can make the difference between an ordinary cocktail and an extraordinary flavor profile, drink presentation, and overall drinking experience.

Types Of Ice For Cocktails


For bartenders serious about their cocktail game, choosing the right ice is second only to choosing the best liquors, mixers, and garnishes. Each ice type brings its own unique component to a cocktail, so making the right selection is crucial.

Cubed Ice

Cubed ice plays well with all kinds of drinks because it's in no rush to melt. That means your cocktail stays flavorful without getting watered down too fast. Ice cubes are perfect for drinks on the rocks, or cocktails that are shaken or stirred. With cube ice on hand, your cocktail game stays strong, sip after sip.

    • Versatile, ideal for most cocktails
    • Slow-melting, ensuring minimal dilution
    • Suitable for on-the-rocks and stirred cocktails

Crushed Ice

Crushed ice is the party trick of bar ice—flashy, fun, and flavorful! Think Mint Juleps and Daiquiris – it's their secret ingredient. It cools things down fast, adds a fun texture and flavor kick, and gives your drink that super cool frosty look. 

    • Perfect for classic cocktails like Mint Juleps and Daiquiris
    • Rapidly chills and dilutes, enhancing drink texture and some flavors
    • Creates a visually appealing, frosty look

Sphere Ice Or Large Ice Balls

Get ready to rock your cocktail world—Let’s talk sphere ice (AKA ball ice). This bar ice makes quite an entrance—but it's not all about looks. These icy orbs melt nice and slow, keeping your drink flavorful till the last sip. They're whiskey and strong cocktails’ BFF so, if you're all about a knockout presentation and savoring your sips, sphere ice is the way to roll.

    • Impressive presentation element
    • Slower melting, maintaining drink integrity
    • Suitable for whiskey and spirit-forward cocktails

Nugget Ice

Nugget ice (aka Sonic Ice and pearl ice) is a total game-changer for frozen cocktails and slushies. Because nugget ice is softer than most (essentially flake ice packed into chewable little cubes), it’s easy to blend and it mixes like a pro. Plus, it makes your blended drinks look as cool as they taste. 

    • Ideal for frozen cocktails and slushies
    • Blends smoothly with mixtures, offering a consistent texture
    • Enhances the visual appeal of blended drinks

Related: Why Do Bartenders Use So Much Ice?


Factors To Consider When Choosing A Commercial Ice Machine For Your Bar


Once you know the type of ice you need for your bar, it’s time to choose the best commercial ice maker for your cocktail success. There’s a lot to consider when buying an ice machine—everything from price point, ice production capacity, size, and brand deserve your attention. 

Capacity & Production Rate

When your bar's buzzing with excitement, having an ice machine that can handle the heat is non-negotiable. It's not just about making ice; it's about keeping up with the demand during those peak hours when every second counts. To get an ice machine that can keep up with demand, you’ll need to crunch a few numbers—this blog post will help you calculate how much ice you’ll need on a daily basis. 

A top-notch ice machine ensures that your bartenders stay in the zone, crafting cocktails without any ice-related hiccups. When the orders keep coming, have a reliable ice machine that can keep your thirsty customers happy.


Size & Footprint

In the hustle and bustle of a busy bar, every inch of space matters. That's why picking an ice machine that fits seamlessly into your bar design is a game-changer. The right size ice machine means your bartenders navigate the space efficiently—no awkward side-steps or ice-related obstacles–just a fluid workflow that lets the drinks flow and the good times roll. 

If you’re short on space behind the bar, consider an undercounter ice machine or a supplemental ice bin you can restock from a larger ice maker located in the back. 


Top Commercial Ice Machine Brands for Bartenders


We’ve outfitted bars and restaurants all across the Memphis area with the right commercial ice machine for their business. Here are a few of our tried and true ice machines to keep your business running smoothly: 

Manitowoc Ice Machines


Manitowoc ice machines are more than just ice makers; they're partners in cocktail creativity. With their ice type variety and intelligent diagnostics, these machines ensure that your bar is equipped with the right ice for every drink and that you're always ahead of the game when it comes to maintenance and performance. 

  • Ice Type Versatility: One of the standout features of Manitowoc ice machines is their diverse range of ice types. From classic cubed ice that's perfect for a wide variety of cocktails to the crushable goodness of nugget ice, there’s sure to be a Manitowoc ice machine suited for your needs
  • Intelligent Diagnostics: Manitowoc ice machines go the extra mile with intelligent diagnostics. These machines are equipped with advanced technology that monitors their performance and provides real-time updates. This means fewer surprises and more proactive management, ensuring your ice machine is always in top-notch shape to support your bartenders in crafting their finest concoctions.

Hoshizaki Ice Machines


When you think Hoshizaki, think crystal clear perfection and adaptable efficiency. Their ice machines consistently deliver high-quality ice cubes that elevate your drinks both in appearance and taste. With various models catering to different production needs, Hoshizaki ensures that your ice supply matches your pace, keeping your bartenders in the zone and your patrons raising their glasses to flawless cocktails.

  • Crystal Clear Quality: Hoshizaki ice machines are renowned for their ability to produce ice of unmatched clarity and quality. This level of clarity not only adds a touch of elegance to your cocktails but also ensures that the flavors of your drinks remain pure and unaltered.
  • Tailored Ice Production Rates: Hoshizaki understands that every bar has its own unique demands. That's why their ice machine lineup features a variety of models with different production rates. Whether you're running a bustling nightlife hotspot or a cozy cocktail lounge, Hoshizaki offers a machine that suits your volume requirements. This adaptability means you're never overproducing or under delivering – you're hitting the sweet spot every time.

Scotsman Ice Machines


Scotsman ice machines redefine what it means to be efficient and eco-conscious. With a focus on energy efficiency and straightforward maintenance, these machines not only keep your drinks chilled but also your operations smooth. The icing on the cake? Their array of ice types ensures your cocktails are as diverse and exciting as your patrons. Choosing Scotsman means choosing sustainable success without compromising on quality.

  • Energy Efficiency and Sustainability: Scotsman ice machines stand out for their commitment to energy efficiency, with many models carrying the Energy Star certification. These machines are designed with sustainability in mind, offering not just ice but also a greener approach to ice-making. With energy-efficient features, Scotsman ensures that while your cocktails stay cool, your carbon footprint remains refreshingly small.
  • Simplified Maintenance: Say goodbye to ice machine maintenance woes! Scotsman ice machines are engineered for easy upkeep, saving you time and hassle. With user-friendly designs and intuitive mechanisms, maintenance becomes a breeze. This means your bartenders spend more time perfecting their mixes and less time dealing with technical intricacies.

Ice-O-Matic Ice Machines


For bars seeking a quality ice machine with an outstanding nugget ice solution, Ice-O-Matic's pearl ice machines are the answer. Their commercial ice machines carry a strong industry reputation, and their proprietary pearl ice machine is the gold standard in nugget ice. Trusting in Ice-O-Matic means trusting in a brand that's dedicated to delivering excellence to bars worldwide.

  • Versatile Nugget Ice: Pearl ice from Ice-O-Matic isn't just any kind of ice – it's nugget ice, a versatile and beloved ice type in the cocktail world. This ice isn't just about cooling; it adds a playful texture and a distinctive chewable quality to drinks, elevating the sensory experience for patrons. Whether it's in a mixed cocktail or as a standalone treat, pearl ice adds a unique touch to your offerings.
  • Industry-Leading Reputation: When it comes to equipping bars with top-tier ice machines, Ice-O-Matic's ice machines enjoy a well-deserved spot at the forefront. The brand's legacy in the industry is built on reliability, efficiency, and the ability to consistently deliver high-quality ice solutions that elevate bars' operations, while their innovative focus on sustainability puts them as a leader in the eco-friendly ice machine equipment sphere. 

Buy Or Rent Your Commercial Ice Machine From Memphis Ice Machine Company!


Ready to delight your customers with your tastiest libations? Get the best ice machine for bartenders that produces the right type of ice, the right amount of ice, and at the right time. At Memphis Ice Machine Company, we can help you find the right ice machine for your business.

When you rent a commercial ice machine, you can enjoy reliable ice with the added benefit of routine cleaning and maintenance included in your rental fee. Get started with an ice machine for as little as $4 per day, and never worry about running out of ice again. 

Click here to learn more about our ice machine rental program, or contact us to get a quote, ask a question, or learn more about our ice machines!


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