Shaken, Not Stirred: Ice Machines for Mocktails

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Ice machines, while useful for every restaurant, can be particularly useful for a restaurant with special drinks on its menu. Ice machines allow a restaurant to have fresh ice available in large quantities at any time. But how to prepare your drinks using an ice machine’s ice? James Bond, the famous fictional British Secret Service agent, is known for preferring his martinis prepared “shaken, not stirred”. What is the difference between shaken and stirred? There has been much debate among cocktail connoisseurs about whether shaking or stirring is the better method, and in what case each ought to be utilized.

Shaken Drinks

A drink that is “shaken” is made using an ice machine’s fresh ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. About 5 or 6 ice cubes should be used per individual drink. Shaking a drink for about 10-15 seconds (longer is acceptable, depending on the beverage’s components) quickly chills it while aerating the drink. It is obviously works faster than stirring a drink, but can also dilute it.

Stirred Drinks

A drink that is “stirred” is made just the way it sounds—it is mixed with an ice machine’s ice in a glass. A stirred drink takes longer to chill, and in fact could take several minutes to achieve the temperature that shaking does in seconds. However, stirring allows a drink to remain less diluted, keeping its texture and appearance fairly unaltered.

Mocktails

Are you looking for a new drink to add to your menu? Consider the mocktail. A “mocktail” is a drink made by mixing two or more non-alcoholic beverages. Types of mocktails may include versions of an actual cocktail modified to eliminate the alcoholic components (called a “virgin” drink), or a drink unto itself, with no alcoholic counterpart. The mocktail is a friend to all, as it pleases all ages and can be drunk at any time of day. Ice from ice machines will help you add the finishing touches to delicious mocktails. We recommend that you try Manitowoc ice machines or Scotsman ice machines for brands that will deliver high-quality results. Below are two clever mocktails that will guarantee you get plenty of use out of your ice machines.

Fruit Punch – Shaken

This drink bears no resemblance to your average packet of cherry Kool-Aid. A Fruit Punch is made with orange juice, mango juice, pineapple juice, grenadine syrup, and fresh cream. All ingredients should be added to a cocktail shaker (already equipped with an ice machine’s ice to chill the drink), and shaken well. It is then strained into a highball glass, and served most often with a slice of pineapple and a cherry as garnishes.

Virgin Mary – Stirred

A Virgin Mary is, of course, a non-alcoholic version of a Bloody Mary. This drink is often served as a breakfast or brunch menu item, and is a great way to mix up your beverage choices at the beginning of the day. Use a mixing glass with ice from your ice machines to stir the ingredients together, then pour into a roly poly glass and garnish with a stick of celery, mint leaves, or a lemon wedge.

Ice, Ice Baby

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Ice machines are a critical component to the foodservice operator. They are expensive to buy, operate and maintain, but also a necessity. What do you need to know before diving in to this big purchase? Some considerations would be:

  • type of ice machine
  • operating costs
  • reliability
  • size
  • water or air cooled
  • remote or self contained refrigeration

All are important factors in your buying decision. Let’s see if we can make sense of a couple of these options.

There are two types of ice machines to choose from. Cubers are by far the most popular. A hard cube melts slowly and produces the best drink product. You can choose from full or half size cubes. Another option would be the flaker ice machine. It produces soft nuggets, or flakes, of ice. This is a great option for salad bars, hospitals and limited specialty drinks.

You’ll also want to consider operating costs before you make your purchase. Some of the the most popular brands are Manitowoc, Scotsman and Hoshizaki. The operating cost of electrical and water usage vary significantly between brands. Both Manitowoc and Scotsman utilize a system that efficiently minimizes water wasted and the cost of production. The operating cost of a comparable Hoshizaki unit can be substantially higher than competing brands. Do your research before you buy.

Reliability and size are also important factors. Available service reports rate both Manitowoc and Scotsman machines highly. Make sure you are getting a quality machine with a good warranty. Remember to buy a machine with adequate production and a bin large enough to hold your highest demand. Consider the environment your machine will be in as well. Manufacturers rate production at optimum conditions, and they will produce less ice in a warmer environment with warmer water. Buying ice because you under estimated your needs is very expensive!

There are usually two considerations for the machine cooling system. Water cooling systems are generally more expensive in daily operating costs. They are necessary for remote refrigeration where there is a great distance between the machine and the condenser. They can be worse for the environment because they produce more waste water and in general, the industry is turning to air cooled units. The one exception to that rule would be if your machine will be in an area with very little air circulation. The lack of circulation requires a water cooled unit. An air cooled unit produces less waste and has a lower daily operating cost and most ideal for self contained units.

Finally, consider if you need remote or self contained refrigeration. Remote systems are for generally larger machines over 800 lbs. In this case, the condensing unit is usually mounted on the roof of the building to minimize the noise and heat put off. Self contained units house the condensing unit inside the machine. They are easier to maintain and access in the case of repairs.

This is just a quick rundown of the many options available for the ice machine. I hope it helps get you started in the right direction picking the right product for you!

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