Olivia MarcyRestaurants & Commercial Kitchens

Why Do Bartenders Use So Much Ice?

If you’ve ever ordered an iced cocktail at a bar, you probably noticed the generous scoop of ice the bartender piled in your glass. Many people think that bartenders adopt this practice to minimize the amount of alcohol they serve in order to reduce the cost of your drink without lowering the price. After all, more ice and large ice cubes mean less liquid, right?

On the surface, it could look like bartenders use so much ice to increase profitability for the bar—and cheat patrons out of a few bucks. But in reality, most bartenders aren’t overserving ice. Instead, they’re using some pretty cool science to ensure your drink hits your taste buds at just the right temperature.

The Cool Science Of Ice In Drinks

We all know the basic purpose of serving ice in drinks is to cool the liquid. But how exactly does this happen? As ice cubes come in contact with a liquid, they absorb heat energy from the liquid, causing the liquid’s temperature to drop. 

"This cooling effect is particularly important for certain types of beverages, such as cocktails, where the optimal serving temperature greatly affects the taste and overall experience."

The Magic Of Heat Absorption

Ice doesn't just cool down a drink; it actually absorbs the heat from the warmer-than-ice liquid inside your glass. And as the ice absorbs the heat, the cubes melt into water. This absorption of heat from the drink prevents it from becoming warm too quickly, ensuring that you can enjoy your beverage at a refreshing temperature for longer periods.

What's The Melting Point?

You may be thinking, “Ok, this is good information but why do bartenders shovel so much ice into my glass? Wouldn’t less ice absorb heat just as well?”

The answer lies in the relationship between the quantity of ice and its ability to absorb heat effectively. When only a small amount of ice is added to a drink, there isn't enough of it available to absorb the heat from the liquid efficiently. As a result, the ice quickly melts, contributing excess water to your drink. With so much excess water diluting your drink, the taste profile of your drink can be thrown way off and the flavors will be imbalanced, leaving you with a drink that tastes quite different from the original recipe.

With more ice to absorb the heat from the drink, your drink stays colder for longer, with less dilution. 

Related: Have You Noticed? Restaurant Ice Melts Slower

Why You Need High Quality, Clear Ice

We’ve talked at length about the difference high-quality ice can make—and not just in alcoholic beverages. Clear ice is a good indication of high quality ice that will melt slowly and keep drinks cooler for longer. 

For restaurant staff and bartenders who need a consistent source of quality ice, a commercial ice machine is a must. Commercial ice machines produce a substantial amount of ice quickly and efficiently—and create a variety of ice types, including ice cubes, bullet ice, and pebble, pearl, or “sonic ice.” 

When bartenders have a reliable source of quality ice, they’re equipped to produce delicious drinks consistently and serve cocktails at the optimal temperature, with perfectly balanced flavor.

Memphis Ice Has The Ice Machine For Your Bar & Restaurant

At Memphis Ice Machine Company, we know that MidSouth bars, restaurants, and commercial kitchens need high quality refrigeration equipment to keep their customers coming back again and again. That’s why we provide commercial ice makers from leading brands like Ice-O-Matic, Manitowoc, Everest, and Kloppenberg. Equipped with these machines and our preventative maintenance program, your business is set up for years of success—and thousands of happy customers. Ready to get started? Schedule a call today to get a quote, ask a question, or learn more about our service offerings for Memphis and MidSouth businesses!

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