Why Do Bartenders Use So Much Ice?

Until around two centuries ago, Ice was merely just an unfortunate side effect to extensively cold weather resulting in frozen and icy conditions – until Frederic Tudor introduced the world to ice cold glasses of water on hot summers days, creating a thirst for something most people didn’t know they had. In any establishment that serves drink, it’s a given that you will be served either your beer ice cold, your cocktail blended with ice and you soft drink accompanies with a glass of ice on the side. With this, it’s common for customer to think that the reasoning behind your bartender filling your glass with what is sometimes considered excessive levels of ice, is purely so they can put less liquid in your drink and to entice you to need to buy more – alongside with the myth that servers only ask you “Is your food okay” when your mouth is full so you don’t have the opportunity to say it’s not! This brings us to the real question: Do bartenders use ice to rip off their customers? We know for a fact that honestly, this is not the reason behind ice!


To simply explain and state the obvious, ice makes things cold and after your drink has been stored on a warm shelf, it helps to add to the taste for your guests. Every bar tries to store bottled beverages in fridges to help keep them chill but the ice on the side helps for when the drink is on your table to maintain that consistent cold temperature. There are not a lot of things in the world that will help make your drink chiller than ice – even blocks of steel stored in liquid nitrogen cannot chill a drink quicker than what ice can! Technically, chilling is a by-product of dilution: When ice melts, it transfers its chilling energy to its surroundings as it absorbs heat thus making its surroundings a lot colder. From here, one would start to question how the quality of ice contributes to the overall experience for you or your customer. If your bartender uses a lot of “wet” ice that has already started to melt, the surface area of water on the ice is larger; therefore your drink will dilute a lot quicker than if your bartender had used “dry” ice. It’s proven that colder ice chills a lot slower than warmer ice does - which is a strange concept to consider - but this is because the energy that the ice is absorbing is used to heat it up to a point where it can start melting; there is no dilution and no transferring of energy to the liquid around it therefore it cannot chill the liquid.


Why does this even matter, you ask? Well studies have shown that we react more positively to colder drinks in our oral receptors – and how we feel that if the drink is colder that it is more than likely to quench our thirst more than a warm drink. This doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy hot drinks because in Ireland, we know tea and coffee is BIG – it really just means we enjoy a cold drink a lot more! So consider this the next time you go to the bar, your bartender is not trying to scam you by putting more ice in your drink – they are purely trying to make your experience a lot more enjoyable in relation to taste!


Do you prefer your drinks ice cold or room temperature? Do you usually just have ice in your drink when you’re out in a restaurant or bar or would you use ice at home too? Let us know what you think on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn! In the meantime, why not shop our extensive range of Ice Machines online now to help create that positive experience for your guest!