What to Eat

Violet Hour’s Eight Kinds of Ice

Chunk or cubed?
Chunk or cubed? Photo: Matthew Martinez

Did you know that the Violet Hour employs eight different kinds of ice in the service of making your drink? Head Mixologist Toby Maloney explains to the Restaurant Intelligence Agency: “There is a reason for each and every type of ice. Chefs heat things up to change the flavor of their food. Conversely, bartenders cool things down. Inferior ice would be the equivalent of a broken stove.” So what exactly are the differences among these eight varieties? Read on to find out the whole chilly deal.

Cubed ice, used for shaking, is made from a Kold Draft machine, a cult classic device that produces ice 30 percent colder than normal ice.

Chunk ice is hand-chiseled daily after an overnight freeze in hotel pans. It’s sturdy enough that it can chill multiple drinks in a row (though the Violet Hour bartenders won’t employ that method unless the second drink is identical to the first.)

Shard ice is frozen in icicle-shaped molds and used in tall, narrow Collins glasses.

Crushed ice is generally used for drinks that require more water dilution, as the proportionately greater surface area speeds melting.

Cracked ice is made from shattered Kold Draft cubes. Like crushed ice it’s used to add more water content.

Block ice is frozen in a large mold, and it’s then shaved with a plane to make small ice pieces.

Swizzle ice is delicately formed by the condensation formed by swizzling crushed ice inside a metal julep cup.

Cheater ice is used to chill bottles. It’s never used in drinks.

A Lesson in Ice [RIA]

Violet Hour’s Eight Kinds of Ice