Great cocktails deserve great ice

In a basement fit for a horror movie film set, big things are happening — big watery frozen things. Three hundred pound blocks of ice are being frozen in behemoth ice makers and cut into gorgeous crystal clear cubes with a single intent, to chill cocktails to perfection. Penny Pound Ice stands alone in Los Angeles as the only place to go to get ice of this fashion.

Creating crystal clear cubes of ice like these isn’t as simple is sticking water in a freezer and popping them out when the timer goes off. Roughly 40 gallons of water are poured into huge rectangular metal monsters called Clinebell machines and begin a 3 day slow freezing process. Pumps at the bottom of the tank circulate the water as it freezes, much like a lake, causing all of the impurities in the water to rise to the top. Pure water freezes clear, and more importantly it freezes harder and at a higher density. When the large blocks have frozen through they are removed with a winch and then cut down to 2” x 2” x 2.5” cubes that are begging to be plunged into a boozy concoction.


Why put so much effort into ice cubes you ask? “Ice is the bartenders flame,” Says Eric Alperin, “Harder and denser ice means more durability when shaking and building cocktails, and allows a drink to mature at a more controlled dilution rate”. So next time you elbow up on the bar of Coles, order an old fashion and take a moment to appreciate that beautiful block of ice swimming in your glass.





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