5 Different Types Of Ice Used In Cocktails

In this quick guide, you will learn about the five different types of ice used in making cocktails and which one you should use for various kinds of drinks. Ice plays an important role in cocktails, and it’s not just about keeping drinks cold. The type of ice you choose significantly influences how much a drink gets diluted, how quickly it cools, and ultimately, its overall taste. From classic ice cubes to specialized shapes like spheres and blocks, each type serves a unique purpose in enhancing your cocktail experience. Let’s first look at the most commonly used type of ice: the ice cube.

1. Ice Cubes

The most common and versatile form of ice used in bars, ice cubes are perfect for both stirring and shaking cocktails. Their regular shape provides a balanced dilution rate, making them ideal for a wide range of drinks. Ice cubes are typically used in standard cocktails like Margaritas, Mojitos, and Gin and Tonics, where a moderate dilution is desired to blend the flavors smoothly without overpowering the drink.

2. Crushed Ice

Known for its quick melting rate, crushed ice is the go-to choice for creating colder cocktails with more water content. This type of ice is excellent for drinks that benefit from rapid chilling and a bit of extra dilution, such as Mint Juleps, Daiquiris, and Tiki drinks. The small ice shards blend easily with the ingredients, creating a refreshing and well-integrated cocktail experience.

3. Large Cube / Sphere

Large ice cubes or spheres are ideal for spirit-forward cocktails like the Old Fashioned or Negroni. Their larger size means they melt slower, minimizing dilution while still keeping the drink sufficiently cold. This type of ice is perfect for sipping drinks where the focus is on the spirit’s flavors, allowing the drinker to enjoy the nuanced taste of the liquor over time.

4. Cracked Ice

Cracked ice, with its irregular shape and size, offers a middle ground between ice cubes and crushed ice. It’s excellent for cocktails that require a bit more dilution than what a standard cube provides but less than what crushed ice offers. Cracked ice is often used in Whiskey Sours or Mai Tais, where a balance between chilling and dilution is crucial for the right flavor profile.

5. Ice Block

Ideal for making punch or large-format cocktails, ice blocks melt very slowly due to their substantial size. This type of ice is perfect for communal drinks where slow, consistent chilling and minimal dilution over time are desired. The slow melting rate ensures that the punch remains flavorful and well-chilled throughout the event, making it a staple for gatherings and parties.