• Never a Lack of Ideas: Introducing Gigantic Hipster Ice Cubes

    In the decades that I’ve been alive on Earth, I can say with absolute certainty that I’ve never pondered ways to make ice cubes more interesting. I’ve always been of the mind that they do a pretty good job of serving their purpose, since, you know, no one has ever really complained about them not being cold enough or whatever.

    But this is 2014, Surgers…and hipster culture is here to stay, at least for the time being.

    You probably won’t be too surprised to learn that Mother Jones was the publication that took an interest in something I have never heard before called “artisanal ice”:

    Yes, artisanal ice is now a thing. In hipster meccas from Portland to Williamsburg, bars are serving up their drinks on extra-dense, extra-clear cubes, produced through a laborious process of freezing and carving. Cocktail connoisseurs swear the difference in flavor is worth the extra effort: In addition to being more aesthetically pleasing, the cubes’ density and relatively large size mean they melt more slowly and dilute your drink less. 

    By the way, “large size” doesn’t begin to describe this ice, which you can see an example of in the video above. The cubes are friggin’ humongous. And even Mother Jones points out that the production of this “artisanal ice” — which takes place in a special freezer called a “Clinebell machine” — is bad for the environment:

    The tradeoff for better taste may be worse energy efficiency. According to Pete Palm, vice president of sales at Western Pacific Distributors—one of California’s major food service equipment wholesalers—a Clinebell has to run for more than three days to make the amount of ice a regular restaurant ice machine could produce in one day. “If I do some quick calculations on the lbs of ice and the [horsepower] rating I come to the conclusion that it does not meet what would be considered an energy star unit,” Palm wrote in an email to Mother Jones.

    When you read about the ridiculous amount of effort that goes into the whole process of making this ice, the cost-benefit analysis seems downright cuckoo. If people are truly upset with diluted drinks, there’s always ice chips or those stainless steel “drink chillers” they sell at Brookstone. These hipsters would rather waste their dough on trendy cubes that are so big, they’re actually getting less of the drink and more of the ice.

    Clearly, this has nothing to do with function or flavor whatsoever. But that seems pretty apt for the Bohemian lifestyle that celebrates it.



    Matt Fox

    Senior Editor

    Fox has history in broadcasting that spans two decades. From his early days as an FM host and club DJ in the mid-90′s to his later experiences in political talk radio, he has always had a knack for combining topical news with his love for popular culture. Those experiences culminated in his position as executive producer for several radio shows featured in the TALKERS Heavy 100. Originally from New York, Fox has made the great pilgrimage down to sunny south Florida.

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