It has often been said that I drink just to support my ice and olive habits (probably true), so few things make me as nervous as not having enough ice. Before heading to friend’s for football or a movie night, I will always call and ask, “Do you need me to bring more ice?” Some friends I don’t even bother calling, I just stop and get a bag knowing it will be needed later on in the night.
I can tell you which Southern California brands of ice can be found at which stores within a five mile radius of my house, and which ones are round with holes in the middle, solid round, chips, and slivers and out of those stores which ones have the best price on ice, which ones keep their freezers warm selling you ice that has somewhat melted and refrozen, taking on a slightly plastic taste from the bag. Depending on what type of cocktails I will be making at home or at a party, I will buy one ice instead of another. In my freezer, you will often find a few types of ice I have made from the above trays and at least two different types of bagged ice.
When a fancy new supper and cocktail bar, The Tar Pit, opened in December, I didn’t rush there for the duck sliders or their pedigreed mixologists (although both are excellent). No, I went because I heard they paid particular attention to the ice for their drinks and had installed a Kold-Draft double-stacked ice machine which makes perfectly sized one and a quarter inch ice cubes, a Scotsman ice machine that makes pebble ice, with both machines hooked up to a reverse osmosis system, just for the ice. Yes, I do think it is heaven in a glass.
Why? Because a good drink starts with a good foundation. Not enough ice in the beer cooler? Warm beer. Not enough ice in the ice bucket? Warm cocktails and even worse if you’re the designated driver, warm soda. Nothing is sadder than the poor designated driver at the end of the evening, just staring at a half-empty, flat 2-liter of Coke, (most of which had been used as a rum mixer), on the table next to a sorry bowl with just a little bit of water at the bottom. Even scarier is the idea that you might have to make a drink using the slimy, greasy ice — what little of it is left — from the bottom if the beer cooler and hope it doesn’t taste like disintegrated Bud Lite labels.
Supposedly the rule of thumb is two pounds of ice per person. LIES! Three to four pounds a person should be mandatory for all gatherings. If you were having a Super Bowl party with all these fine sports writers who contributed to this predictions post over at the Gally Blog, you would need at least 60-80 pounds of ice for it to be a successful event.
So please, I beg you, do not forget the importance of ice at your Super Bowl party. Chips, salsas, ribs, hummus, pizza… I don’t care.
Have enough ice.
Ed. Note – This is post could have gone on for at least 1000 more words about ice, this is how passionately I feel about the subject. To this day, I am still rather upset I cannot get an all-water Slurpee to work, despite Tuffy’s best efforts.