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Ice And Easy Does It

Mar 18, 2008
Ice is a naturally formed crystalline solid and as such is regarded as a mineral composed of hydrogen oxide, water is known as the only non metallic material that expands as it freezes

A rough cube-shaped piece of ice is commonly known as an ice cube, and frequently used to cool down drinks, beverages & cocktails. Ice cubes are usually preferred over crushed or flaked ice because they melt at a slower rate. Ice cubes will be most common in mixed drinks (like rum and coke) and the drink can then be said to 'be on the rocks'

Ice cubes produced in a domestic setting are usually produced by filling an ice cube tray with water and placing the tray in a domestic freezer. More and more freezers on the domestic market are being sold with a built in ice making facility which dispenses the ice cubes into a storage bin.

Ice cubes can be purchased from most retail outlets and supermarkets in large bags (usually 2 kilo's in weight) purchased ice is notably clearer due to the way it is produced differently to domestic ice. Domestic ice produced at home is made by freezing all the water needed for the ice cube at once. This produces cloudy ice due to tiny bubbles being frozen underneath the top layer of ice which freezes first, and also traps any impurities in the ice cube. Ice cube makers or ice machines produce ice in a totally different manner by building up layers of thin ice over and over to finally end up with a fully formed ice cube. When ice is made using this method the dissolved gases and tiny impurities in water have a chance to wash away as more water is added to the forming ice cube as most ice machines or ice makers use flowing water or a spray arm method to slowly layer by layer fill the ice cube mould or tray.

Melted ice cubes sometimes leave a deposit of tiny white flakes once melting starts to occur, this is totally harmless and is due to the calcium carbonate that occurs in nearly all untreated domestic mains water supplies.

Ice cubes can be placed straight into a beverage glass or can be crushed before being placed into the beverage, crushed ice is usually used for cocktails or when faster cooling of the drink is required, crushed ice is also used to add an aesthetic effect to cocktails or when ice is needed to form a shape such as medical applications such as ice packs needed to cool an injury.

Ice affects drinks in several ways it cools the drink, dilutes the drink and takes up space in the drinking vessel, ice cools the drink by the ice being colder than the freezing point of water and therefore the ice absorbs the heat of the drink bringing the temperature of the beverage down according to the amount of ice placed in the glass once the ice reaches a certain level of temperature the cooling effect will produce melting of the ice and this will then start to dilute the drink with water. If a vessel is filled with cubed ice it will occupy about roughly half of the volume of the container, smaller pieces of ice like crushed ice will obviously take up more space or volume.
About the Author
Shaun Parker has been a pub landlord for many years. He is a member of the campaign for real ale and offers advice on ice maker to aspiring publicans.
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