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4 Types of Cocktail Ice: How to Choose the Right Cocktail Ice

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Mar 25, 2020 • 1 min read

Cocktail ice is an ingredient that’s easily overlooked by amateur bartenders; if you decide to make a cocktail with the ordinary ice in your home freezer, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to enhance your cocktail with the proper amount of dilution and a little decorative style.

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Lynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana Teach MixologyLynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana Teach Mixology

World-class bartenders Lynnette and Ryan (aka Mr Lyan) teach you how to make perfect cocktails at home for any mood or occasion.

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4 Types of Cocktail Ice: How to Choose the Right Cocktail Ice

The right type of ice can transform a cocktail from ordinary to extraordinary. This ice cube guide breaks down the main types of cocktail ice cubes and what drinks they're best suited for:

  1. One-by-one-inch standard cubes: This type of all-purpose cocktail ice can be used in almost any drink. It won't melt too fast or too slow, it fits in any glass, and it is adequate for both shaking and stirring. If you're an amateur mixologist looking to throw out your freezer's cheap ice tray, but you don't want the hassle of filling that void with a variety of different styles of ice cube, these versatile, one-inch cubes are perfect.
  2. Crushed ice: Crushed or pebble ice cubes work best in drinks that need dilution, such as the Mint Julep, Moscow Mule, Rum Swizzle, Sherry Cobbler, and most tiki drinks. For home bartenders who don't have their own crushed ice machine, all you need to make your own is a mallet and a handy tool called a Lewis bag (a canvas bag that will absorb extra water when you fill it with ice and smash the ice into tinier pieces).
  3. Large cubes: Large ice cubes work best in spirit-heavy drinks, such as the Old Fashioned, Negroni, and Manhattan. Big cubes melt slowly and allow you to enjoy the taste of a spirit before it gets watered down. Round ice cubes are popular because spheres have a very low surface area to volume ratio, which ensures that your drink gets cold without getting diluted too quickly. You can make your own at home with an ice sphere mold.
  4. Collins spears: These long rectangular cubes are a chic way to spruce up the look of highball drinks, such as the Tom Collins, Whiskey Soda, and Gin and Tonic. To make Collins spears at home, you can purchase a Collins ice mold that makes long, rectangular pieces of ice.

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Learn more about mixology from award-winning bartenders. Refine your palate, explore the world of spirits, and shake up the perfect cocktail for your next gathering with the MasterClass All-Access Pass.

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