ICE: AN ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT
Any drink served shaken or blended with ice needs a certain amount of water content to be properly balanced. A minimum 1 oz. to a maximum of 1 1/2 oz., of water should be present in any stirred or shaken drink served in a 5 to 7 oz. cocktail glass. Glasses larger than 7 oz. make it difficult to prepare a proper cocktail under any circumstances. I won't address frozen drinks here because that presents another set of problems for the bartender. The small ice chips commonly used at most bars destroy a drink, because they add too much water. The balance of ingredients is completely thrown out of whack by the instantly melting ice chips spewed out at the speed of light by these modern ice machines. Cubes they are not!
Kold Draft is the number one manufacturer of ice machines in the United States. They produce ice in three sizes: one and an eighth inches square, one and a quarter by twelve sixteenths, and one and a quarter by five eighths. What makes Kold Draft ice cubes different from the typical ice you find everywhere is the length of time they stay in the freezer. They are very cold and dense and melt very slowly. I have used Kold Draft cubes for years and puchased their machines for all the bars to which I consulted.
In some cases ice machines can be ordered with different size screens to produce large and small ice. GET THE LARGEST SCREEN AVAILABLE. Ice does have degrees of coldness. If you give a customer a fair shot of scotch over big square, cold, slow melting ice cubes he will get a scotch on the rocks. If you give that customer the same drink over the ice chips which most bars use (because it looks like more in the glass) the customer is being cheated and he will actually have a very weak scotch and water.
Crushed ice is also necessary at a bar. I have seen bars that actually augment their machine ice with block ice which they proudly show off behind the bar and use for specific drinks with the use of special tools. Café Adelaide in New Orleans does this. Large block ice is so dense that chunks broken off and pulverized in a canvas ice bag with a mallet make extraordinary Mint Juleps.
To learn more, please visit Kold Draft.