It is not a secret that the restaurant and bar business is highly competitive, and finding the slightest edge to attract and retain customers can be critical. Clear-ice is a new revolution that can be that sought-after edge, especially when it comes to cocktails. However, as making clear ice cubes isn't easy or convenient many restaurants and businesses now look to purchase clear ice.
But where can you buy clear ice from?
You can buy clear ice from most local ice manufacturers, who have most now expanded to offer clear ice cubes, spheres or blocks. There are also some companies that specialize in clear premium ice and will deliver it to local restaurants
The growing popularity and demand for this clear premium ice by bars and restaurants have also seen new ice manufacturers entering the market.
It can be time-consuming to source specific products or equipment while running and managing your core business.
Sourcing clear ice can sometimes be tricky and there are some things you need to look out for, below we will give you some ideas on sourcing clear ice from suppliers around you.
What To Look Out For When Sourcing Clear Ice
Not all ice is alike and if you're going to be spending money on buying ice for your business or home you want to make sure you're getting the best ice for you. Price per cube will obviously play a role but here are some other things you should consider when looking to purchase clear ice:
Quality of The Water and Filtration Process
Most clear ice manufacturers will filter and soften the water before using it to make clear ice. This makes the ice free of most impurities making it both appear clearer and taste nicer.
Bad water can make the ice taste bad so you want to avoid that. If you're using clear ice to make high end drinks then how the water tastes as it melts is very important.
Most companies will filter their water but some won't. It's worth asking the sales rep whether or not they filter their water and what filtration system they use.
Ideally you want water that has been filtered and “softened” which means removing salts like Calcium Sulfate.
This salt is what causes a white residue to appear in ice cube trays at home and can lead to small floating white pieces in your drinks as the ice melts, which obviously will not look good to your patrons.
Size of The Ice Cubes
When it comes to clear ice bigger is usually better as clear ice melts slower the larger the ice cubes are. This leads to less drink dilution as also tends to look better in your drinks.
However, you also want to make sure you get ice cubes that can fit in the cups you have. If they are too big this will be time consuming and expensive to cut each piece of ice to fit in the drink.
Most clear ice manufacturers use band saws to cut their ice to size and can customize sizes so you can get exactly the size you need. You may be more limited in sizing if opting for spherical or shaped ice.
Types of Clear Ice Offered
Cubes of ice is your stock standard and will be offered by any company selling clear ice, however for that extra WOW you can also often get spherical ice cubes or even ice cubes shaped like diamonds, hearts or other shapes.
You might want to supply round ice instead of square in your whiskey as round ice melts slower and can look better. So ask what shapes they offer.
Temperature of The Ice
Not a huge deal but it's important to note that many ice companies store their ice at their facilities and in their trucks at 15ºF/-9ºC whereas a traditional freezer at home is usually set at 0ºF/-18ºC.
Once you receive your ice from the supplier place it in your coldest freezer to bring the temperature down as this again leads to slower ice melt.
Different Places To Buy Clear Ice
Clear Ice requires special equipment and is time-consuming to make, and is not the core business function of any restaurant or bar. However, purchasing the product from a local manufacturer will still give you and your customers the benefit at a much-reduced price.
Clear Ice Manufacturers
Rather than making the clear ice yourself you can source it from a local clear ice manufacturer. Nowadays there are clear ice manufacturers in many different cities.
It requires different equipment and processing to traditional ice cubes or bags of ice which are made with ice machines that make individual ice cubes.
Clear ice is made first in blocks and is then cut to size so not everyone offers it.
Make It Yourself
If you cannot find a local clear ice manufacturer then not all hope is lost. You can make clear ice yourself and it is possible to make it in bulk with the right equipment (plus a team of dedicated staff who can make sure there is always fresh clear ice).
Click here to see my list of the best clear ice makers for making clear ice yourself. You can also read my guide to making clear ice for beginners.
Finding a Clear-Ice Supplier In Your Area
Don’t have a supplier yet? Find a supplier close to your business by following the easy internet steps below. These steps assume you have access to the internet and have a search engine application installed on your device.
Search for “clear ice suppliers near you”; ensure the location setting is “ON” on your device. Alternatively search “clear ice supplier CITY” or “buy clear ice CITY” and you should get some good results.
Step1: Navigate to a search engine in your web browser
Step2: Type the keywords “clear ice suppliers near me” in the text box of your browser and press the Enter key
Step3: Review the returned results
Alternatively, expand your search more specifically by including your area in the search text. We are using Seattle as an example area.
Step1: Navigate to a search engine in your web browser
Step2: Type the keywords “clear ice suppliers in Seattle” in the text box of your browser and press the Enter key
Step3: Review the returned results
Other Names For Clear Ice
The different names of clear-ice are as varied as their shapes and sizes, but they all relate to pure water that is crystal clear and optionally shaped for niche applications.
Examples of other names are craft ice, bar ice, premium ice, hand-cut Ice, and gourmet Ice. Clear-ice remains the most descriptive of them all.
Some Clear Ice Suppliers
With more than 250 ice manufacturing businesses in the United States, you are sure to find at least one distributor or retailer close to your business. For example, Texas has nearly 40, Florida almost 30, and California about 20 ice businesses.
Some examples are Arctic Glacier Inc., Reddy Ice Holdings Inc., and Home City Ice Company Inc. Also, Penny Pound Ice in Los Angeles, Just-Ice in Chicago, and Cristallino Premium Ice in Rochester, New York.
Can Restaurants Make Their Own Clear Ice?
Optionally, the restaurant or bar can purchase a clear-ice machine, thus eliminating the purchase of clear-ice from suppliers. The downside of clear ice machines is that the ice cubes will be smaller than clear ice from a supplier and may not be suitable for high end drinks and cocktails.
The Newair Countertop Clear Ice Maker is a popular option that produces about 40 lbs. of Ice a day. Get more info on the links below.
Different Types Of Clear Ice Products
Innovation has never stopped since the introduction of clear-ice products. Clear Ice has as many varieties as regular Ice, just in a pure form. In addition, they come in more shapes and sizes, primarily tailor-made for cocktails and drinks, for example, cubes, extra-large cubes, blocks, nuggets, and spheres.
A niche market has also emerged catering to specialty ice cubes by branding ice cubes. Branded Ice is stamped or molded. Adding the restaurant or bar logo on the cubes creates that extra bit of finesse and pizazz. Also, add a shape, message, or word for those special occasions.
Advantages Of Clear Ice In Your Drink Or Cocktail
The most significant related advantage is the slow melting rate of these pure ice cubes. As a result, the slower dilution will allow you to enjoy the original drink content taste for longer. Let us face it. A perfect see-through ice cube does look pretty. But more so, it looks spectacular by having an almost invisible texture, even while submerged in your drink or cocktail.
All drinks will taste better as there are no impurities added to them via impure ice cubes, thus improving the overall quality of cocktails and beverages. No pollution of your drink by impurities makes it healthier and the content purer. However, there is no guarantee of what it contains with white Ice.
Are Clear Ice Cubes Popular?
Since the introduction of clear-ice in a few restaurants and bars, it has spread like wildfire and has become very popular amongst business owners and customers alike. It adds style and leaves the restaurant and bar personnel with a sense of pride and superiority. Once you’ve changed, there is no way that you would want to go back, they say.
Restaurant and bar owners constantly strive to improve by changing menus and ambiance, so why not add another small step in the quest for ultimate perfection. Perfection is: enjoying premium liquor served in sparkling glasses, chilled with the purest of ice cubes.
Business owners are successful because they go the extra mile to serve their restaurant’s juiciest tender steak or the tastiest glass of wine. Similarly, clear-ice cubes provide that slight difference in detail that differentiates normal from excellence. Purchase from a manufacturer first, then make your own, should it be required.