You may think that ice is ice – no matter what shape, it’s meant to cool down your drink and that’s about it. Wrong! Many high-end bars, including the one at the Ryland Inn, have made the switch to using hand chipped, artisanal ice cubes instead of using everyday ice machines. Although ice is often overlooked when making drinks, it is arguably the one of the most important elements in mixing a cocktail.
Up until the end of the 19th century, bartenders used large blocks of ice for drinks and had to break them apart manually. Customers could really appreciate the effort and craftsmanship that went into making the perfect drink. However, in order to cut down on costs and mass-produce drinks, most bars opted for the large, clunky ice machines. But these machines only make ice cubes in one size and shape! By crafting ice cubes by hand, bartenders are able to determine the specific dimensions that are ideal for different varieties of beverages.
Using larger, hand carved ice cubes has several benefits to your drinks. For one, the bigger the cube, the easier it is to keep your drink cold and maintain the flavor. Larger ice cubes take longer to melt, so it will delay your drink from turning into flavored water. Also, hand crafted ice cubes add an artisanal flair that can give your drinks a step-up from traditional cubes. They tend to be clearer than machine-made ice, and give your drinks that extra sparkle and shine.
At The Ryland Inn, our bartenders dedicate about 90 minutes to the crafting of the ice before the start of each shift. They are each masters of serving four star drinks, largely due to their expertise of the proper amount of ice to use in each cocktail and for the refined presentation of each drink. Come by for cocktails with dinner or drinks at the bar and experience the exceptional presentation and taste of drinks made with hand carved ice cubes!