I was lolling about on the couch, with the remote in hand, flipping between food network, law and order marathons and hgtv. For those not obsessed with home improvement like I am hgtv is the "home and garden television." Anyway, Vanilla Ice has a new show on hgtv. www.hgtv.com/the-vanilla-ice-project/show/index.html that got me thinking about ice. The actual frozen water cold stuff.
Thinking about ice, I thought about booze and then about The Playboy's New Host and Bar Manual from 1971 penned by Thomas Mario. He says "There was a time when rocks were really rocky, when a bartender armed with an ice pick hacked away at his block of ice until it eventually disappeared." Ice is so sexy!
I never seriously thought that much about ice until I started bartending in "nice places." AKA the same clientel just before the dinner and after dinner drinks set in. When I did start thinking about ice I was working at The Capitalle Grille. We had ice called "EDGE" ice. (EDGE means exceptional distinctive guest experience.) This fancy ice was 2 buckets regular ice and 1/2 bucket crushed ice so that each cocktail has the proper ratio of hard and melty ice. Good start.
My next job behind a bar- the ice crusher machine was constantly on the fritz or so far away from me, and the imbiber, that I developed an old school method of crushing ice. This consisted of putting ice in a clean towel and beating the shit out of it on the counter. This method is very eye catching. It also creates the perfect "dry ice" for cocktails. Wet ice dilutes a drink. "Dry" ice- not the smoking stuff- creates the perfect set up for a quality drink. Mario says that "Every barman-amateur or pro-should insist that his ice be clean, hard, and dry and should make each drink or batch of drinks with fresh ice.
Having said all of this. As a home bartender have fresh, really frozen ice. Don't use melty ice to create drinks unless you want people to leave.