What is Craft Ice?

What is Craft Ice?

Craft ice defines a large, clear piece of ice that accompanies a cocktail or fine spirit. Craft ice can be made into many different shapes, including spheres, cubes, sticks and shards. The drink, bartender, glassware, ingredients and/or desired dilution will often determine which ice shape is used.

Different Clear Craft Ice Shapes

Photo courtesy of Mixology Ice (from left to right large cube, sphere and stick)

Clear, craft ice in bulk is typically made by ice distributors and shipped directly to the end customer such as bars and restaurants.  Most major metropolitan areas have a craft ice distributor. Camper English of Alcademics has composed a terrific list of companies distributing ice. Check it out! 

These distributors use a Clinebell machine to freeze a “bathtub” of water from the bottom up. This process can take 2 to 3 days to form ice.  After freezing, the roughly 2’x3’x1’ block of ice is hoisted from the machine and cut into the desired shapes using a bandsaw.  The ice is stored and shipped to customers at a cost from $0.50 to $5 per cube. 

Hoisting craft ice Cutting Craft Ice

Tray of Clear Craft Ice

Photos courtesy of Wired

Why Large, Clear Cubes 

The finest bars in the world use these premium cubes with good reason as identified below. It’s not unheard of for bars and restaurants to spend thousands of dollars per month on craft ice to elevate their cocktails and customers' experiences.

  • Slow and even melting

    • The rate of melting is slower with large cubes, decreasing the rate of dilution (Lower surface area to volume ratio)
      • Dilution is important for consistent cocktail making 
      • Once served, dilution changes a drink profile over time 

Dilution Chart

  • Purity of the Ice

    • The directional freezing process reduces impurities which are disposed of at the end of the process 
      • We have an exciting experiment to visually show the separation of impurities in a future blog post 
  • Visually stunning 

    • Crystal clear 
    • Able to freeze additives such as oranges and kiwi 
    • Elevates presentation of a drink or cocktail 

Klaris Cubes

Where are Large, Clear Cubes used 

  • Typically paired with a Low Ball or Double Old-Fashioned Glass 
  • Mixed cocktail like an Old-Fashioned, Margarita, Negroni 
  • Fine Spirits - Scotch, Bourbon, Tequila 

Old Fashioned with Clear Craft Ice

  • Large craft cubes can also be used with any craft drink where less dilution and fewer impurities are desired.   Pairing a Klaris cube with a Yeti or Stanely makes for an ice-cold drink all day long, whether its coffee, seltzer, kombucha or water. 
  • Other shapes lend themselves better to different drinks, stay tuned as we expand our offerings into spheres, sticks, cubelets, shards and blocks 

    As craft ice has become more popular. Some distributors have started selling packs of cubes at specialty liquor and grocery stores.  This high-quality ice can become an expensive habit and can frequently be out of stock.  Also, during transportation, the cubes can melt. After refreezinge of purchased cubes the clarity can be reduced and removal of individual cubes from the storage bag can be difficult.  There are companies that offer door-to-door service, but the cost per cube is high and packaging and shipping frozen water is environmentally unfriendly. 

    Klaris delivers these high quality cubes using existing household utilities, water and electricity.  You can control how much craft ice is needed on your schedule without paying top dollar to enjoy a good drink. 

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