We use cookies to track your browsing behavior on our site and provide ads relevant to you. You can opt out by disabling cookies in your browser. To learn more, see our privacy policy.

Ice Age

The Daiquiri No. 6, a signature cocktail at the swanky new Artesian bar in London’s Langham Hotel, is an artful mixture of lime juice, Bacardi Rum and agave syrup topped off with a few dashes of absinthe. The finishing touch? A round of ice laser-imprinted with the bar’s logo.

Perhaps it was only a matter of time before bars took ice to such high-tech heights. The cocktail revival’s obsession with the frozen stuff may have begun with a pursuit to slow the melting rate of ice cubes, which dilutes a perfectly mixed drink. But it has grown to include a variety of practices that not long ago would have seemed outlandish, like hand carving nearly glass-sized spheres from jumbo blocks of ice or using machines like the Kold-Draft, which produces very clear, perfectly shaped oversized cubes and costs more than $5,000. (The Langham outsources its engraving to a London firm.)


Mixologists consider ice as integral to the experience of a drink as fresh ingredients or proper glassware. “People taste with their eyes first,” says Jim Meehan, Liquor.com advisor. His New York bar PDT has invested nearly $15,000 in three different ice-making machines, including one that produces pebbles and an apparatus that molds cubes into baseball-size spheres.

At Dutch Kills, a new speakeasy-style bar in Queens, New York, bartenders begin carving ice into a range of shapes two hours before each shift starts. The establishment starts with 300-pound blocks made by a local ice-sculpture studio, which slowly freezes water over several days for a crystalline product.

Even though Richard Boccato, co-owner of Dutch Kills, may have helped pioneer this icy new “frontier,” he keeps a sense of humor about it. “It’s just frozen water,” he says.

Series & Type: Trends

Still Thirsty? Sign Up for the Liquor.com Newsletter

Get more stories, news, recipes and more delivered straight to your inbox.

From our Friends

Follow us on Instagram