When it comes to cocktails and other iced drinks, ice content has a larger effect than you may realize. As the ice melts it dilutes your drink, affecting the taste as you drink it. The shape and texture of ice also have an effect on the experience of drinking, whether you’re chewing up the ice as it melts or simply sipping from the rim of the glass as the ice clinks inside. Here are some different kinds of ice for different types of drinks.
Big blocks of ice fit one or two to a cup depending on the size of the drink. These are the slowest to melt, so they are the best for when you want to minimize dilution. You’ve probably seen them at bars or on TV in glasses of nice sipping whiskey or other spirits, and indeed this is how they are most often used. But they are also a great option if you are drinking cold-brewed coffee or tea which isn’t very strong, and you want to keep your brew from losing flavor for as long as possible.
Crushed or Pebble
Crushed or pebble ice is best for syrupy drinks, as the ice will soak up the flavor and will dilute faster to dampen the sweetness. Drinks like a mint julep or a heavily-flavored coffee drink are two examples. Think of a snow cone soaking up the flavor and color of whatever you pour on it. This is also the best ice for drinking in hot weather.
The standard one-inch ice cube is always the best option when you’re in doubt of what ice to use. It’s the most easily available, the standardized cubes mean you can control dilution more easily, and it will fit into any cup you’re using. This is a great option for regular cold brew, iced tea, or a shaken cocktail.