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I discovered the Opal Nugget Ice Machine recently and wanted to share it and get some thoughts from the TikiCentral community.

http://www.nuggetice.com/

Cnet Preview/review: http://www.cnet.com/products/firstbuild-opal-nugget-ice/

The Opal will be a countertop unit that will produce 1 lb. of nugget ice per hour, filling a bin with three pounds. It will be available for pre-sale through indiegogo.com on July 28, 2015 at a discount from the $500 regular price.

I seem to recall Trader Vic's using nugget ice for their drinks (at least at the old Dallas Location). Is this the case everywhere?

If I am recalling correctly, I really liked have the nugget ice over the standard crushed. This looks like a pretty cool ice maker, but I currently have a Waring Pro crusher and wanted to make sure Trader Vic's DID in fact use nugget ice before I irritate my wife by purchasing another ice-related appliance. :)

Thanks for your help!

Good question. I have a countertop ice maker on my bar, and I have come to really dislike it because:

  1. Noisy.
  2. Very low capacity for ice.
  3. Very small reservoir/tank for the water.
  4. Can't hook it up to my plumbing or my bar sink.
  5. Melted ice in the tray is not recycled by the machine. And as slow as these tabletop machines are, you will see in excess of 50% wasted/melted while you wait for it to fill your (most likely non-insulated) reservoir.
  6. It's a great unit, but it's slow and a pain to keep filled.

For the Opal, when I went to their web page, I didn't see many of the things I dislike above listed or addressed in their design. 1 lb of ice per hour is EASILY exhausted. Measure out how much 1 lb of ice really is - how many cocktails per hour can you make when you consider ice for shaking, and ice for filling glassware, and the low volume production of the unit?

So, what did I finally decide to do with mine? I'm going to retire it. I found a "scratch & dent" Kitchen Aid standalone icemaker with 50lb capacity for half price - about $750 - at Lowe's. I got very lucky, and in addition I cannot find the dent or scratch...

$750 is a lot of money for me, but it addresses all of the problems I have mentioned above. I finally came up with no better option than to just go for broke. And I will be plumbing a water supply line to the wall and I will be required to install a drain line for melted ice. Not everyone can or wants to spend the money or do the plumbing. I'm lucky that the plumbing won't be a huge pain in the butt through the attic and wall. But the money -- well -- it's so totally gonna solve my ice making need at my bar. Right now I have to run to my fridge all the time or keep an ice chest at my bar.

So those are my thoughts. My suggestion is to think it through carefully, especially because there already are a lot of countertop ice makers for sale on the web. While I bought a good one at the time, about two years ago, there are much better ones out there now.

Hope that helps.

One more very important thing --- "chewable" nugget ice is light and very low density. This means it will dissolve quickly and dilute your drinks more quickly than the traditional hard ice. That's highly undesirable in most cases for cocktails, and underscores how you need to understand ice and how it's made and how it works in cocktails. My new 50 lb scratch-and-dent machine makes hard ice.

Ignore the Opal's review about paying "thousands" for a home ice machine. That's too salesy for me to agree with, and you'll see what I mean when you research other existing countertop machines and other under-counter machines which are similar to my ice maker. That's an exaggeration.

Here's a photo of what I have - it's slightly smaller than an under-counter trash compactor. They come in 15" and 18" wide models. Shop your closest Sears Outlet for scratch-and-dent stuff. These babies are rarely cleared out by Lowe's or Home Despot because they rarely have special orders for ice machines, and even more rarely damage damage one. I got lucky and saved $100-$200 from what I would have paid for the same thing at a Sears Outlet store.

And one more thought...

If you buy a 50 lb under-counter machine, you do not have to install plumbing or a drain line. There are ways around these requirements, but you'll have to get creative with storing the melt water and you'll need to add a little mini-pump module to the inlet side of the ice maker. They're designed for that option in areas with low water pressure.

I've done quite a bit of research, and my comments are a multi-year brain dump in just a few paragraphs.

Hope that helps...

Thank you for this super thorough response @AceExplorer, your notes and suggestions make complete sense. I have found that the uninsulated bin in my ice crusher tends to melt very quickly and I had that concern about about the Opal as well. What I had not considered was the density of the nugget ice vs. crushed and how that would affect the cocktails. I might have to get some Sonic ice and do a few experiments. For now I'm probably going to be stuck with bagged ice and the crusher for parties since my place is a rental and can't go with a built-in machine quite yet.

Does anyone know if Trader Vic's uses nugget ice or crushed?

Most tiki establishments use crushed ice. Most drinks call for that kind specifically by recipe.

Thanks Ace, those are the same points I thought of, but didn't want to deal with the few here
whom get apoplectic with any of my remarks. :lol:

MaiTaiMonkey - glad I helped! I understand the challenges of living in a rental, there are limits. You can only do so much unless you resort to using specialty pumps and reservoirs and other things like that. Let us know how your quest goes. Over time you may come up with other solutions. When you get bored, remember you can focus on other aspects of ice -- huge cubes, large spheres, rectangles, etc. TikiHardBop here impressed this upon me a number of years ago, and it got me down the path of thinking about ice.

ATP - heh, I know what you mean! I type pretty fast, so I do worry that what I write sometimes is too flippant, or may come across as sarcastic.

Nuff said... Drink up, everybody!

J

On 2015-07-15 19:50, AceExplorer wrote:
When you get bored, remember you can focus on other aspects of ice -- huge cubes, large spheres, rectangles, etc.

Don't get me started! :) I've become that person with several containers of different sizes and shapes of ice in my tiny freezer in my rental, just so I'll have the perfect ice right when I need it, plus a few fun shapes to keep me from getting bored out of my mind. I've also tried some of Camper English's clear ice experiments, but I'm too impatient and limited in space to really have any success.

I do like to have the large ice spheres handy because I'm a neat rum drinker a few nights a week, but it's too hot here in the southeast right now to drink them without some ice. So when I'm drinking rum, I want to chill it, but usually only want a little bit of dilution. The large spheres serve that purpose nicely.

I also like to save steps and time when I can, so instead of having to crush ice for every cocktail that calls for it, I have trays that make tiny (less than 1/2") cubes that I can use instead of crushing larger cubes.

Then there are a few fun shapes to float on the tops of cocktails (I usually do those in different colors by adding a bit of grenadine or blue curacao to the water), and the long narrow cylinders for water bottles.

Ice is a deep, deep rabbit hole!

JenTiki, that's great information! I can't recall what the TC threads on ice cubes contain, but we should re-post your message to an ice-specific thread and you and I could share photos there.

I used to have the tiny cube trays many years ago before I was into cocktails, and I know what you mean. My trays were hard to empty, so I think I recycled them when I moved to Florida. I have a couple of "stick" ice trays for water bottles which are sold in local stores that do not work well for freezing juices but work fine for water ice. I've occasionally thought about posting that info so folks can know when to avoid those.

Yup, it's warm in the Southeast right now. The large spheres are awesome for sipping rum, whiskey, and gin neat.

TP

If you have a local Sonic you can buy their signature ice from them at around $2.50 for a 10 lb bag. I find it works really well with many Tiki drink recipes

Thanks, Tiki Phil, that's been mentioned on this site before. That's a good reminder.

On 2015-07-16 08:26, Tiki Phil wrote:
If you have a local Sonic you can buy their signature ice from them at around $2.50 for a 10 lb bag. I find it works really well with many Tiki drink recipes

Not in all areas. I recently got a friend into mixing cocktails and he doesn't have an ice crusher so I recommended this as I'd seen others post about it. He went to three Sonic locations near him and none would sell him ice. Closest one he found that would was 45 min away!

imho I don't find that Sonic-style ice ideal for tiki drinks. Too soft/slushy & melts way too fast. The Waring Pro makes a nice ice crusher.

J

Here in Charlotte, NC, it's not just Sonic, but just about any fast-food drive-through place will sell bags of ice. I've seen the signs at Jack in the Box, KFC, McDonalds, and Bojangles. I expect that's pretty common all over the south where it's a freaking sauna all summer.

EJ

On 2015-07-16 13:26, mikehooker wrote:

On 2015-07-16 08:26, Tiki Phil wrote:
If you have a local Sonic you can buy their signature ice from them at around $2.50 for a 10 lb bag. I find it works really well with many Tiki drink recipes

Not in all areas. I recently got a friend into mixing cocktails and he doesn't have an ice crusher so I recommended this as I'd seen others post about it. He went to three Sonic locations near him and none would sell him ice. Closest one he found that would was 45 min away!

I have run into this issue as well. I thought all Sonics sold their ice but they do not.

Sonic is for born losers.....

EJ

On 2015-07-18 19:43, Atomic Tiki Punk wrote:
Sonic is for born losers.....

You must use Sonic ice then. Thanks for the heads up.

On 2015-07-18 19:43, Atomic Tiki Punk wrote:
Sonic is for born losers.....

I love the indoor seating....

Oh, wait!

On 2015-07-18 19:43, Atomic Tiki Punk wrote:
Sonic is for born losers.....

??

Quite honestly I have been hoping one would open near me. Why? For the ice. It's true, a lot of people here at TC have given a thumbs up to their pellet ice. Search it out. It can be perfect for Mai Tais. I guess I must be a born loser.

Sonic ice is often called "nugget ice" or "chewable ice," and Facebook has a page devoted to lovers of Sonic ice:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sonic-Ice-Lovers/381864378579488

Now you can enjoy reading posts like this:
AJ: SONIC ice is my LIFE! A bag a day...on my way now!
Like · Reply · 3 · August 30, 2014 at 5:10pm
ARBG: lmao!!!! Told you. Its not a game.
Like · Reply · 2 · January 17, 2015 at 2:40pm

And:

Who has heard of the Luv the Nug truck from Scotsman?
Follow it here http://www.luvthenug.com/
and see if it's coming soon to your town!

And, getting deeper into the ice bin here, I found this on the Scotsman ice machine web site... They compare both nugget ice and cube ice. They readily admit that cube ice melts slower and "won't dilute drinks as fast." The nugget ice, on the other hand, is "perfect for soft or blended drinks."

So we have plenty of room for personal preference, although I personally prefer cube ice for my cocktails. And I could never see myself using nugget ice for any spirit "on the rocks," like a good rum or good whiskey. I may consider nugget ice for daiquiris and similar highly-blended drinks. This gives me a few reasons to buy a bag at my local Sonic one day and do some tests. Ice, after all, is a very important element in the finished mixologist's production.

Scotsman on Nuggets:

Scotsman on Cubes:

H

Yes, I wouldn't use nugget ice to chill a premium spirit, however, If you haven't tried making a Mai Tai with pellet/nugget ice, give it a try...
Shake with your typical (colder) crushed ice but then pour it over then nugget ice. I've only had one like this once, but it was good, hence my desire to have an easy source for more nugget/pellet ice.

http://blog.icesurance.com/2014/04/14/ice-o-matic-nugget-ice-machine-and-kold-draft-classic-cube-machine/

"The Ice-O-Matic Nugget Ice Machine is elegantly suited for Swizzle drinks and Trader Vic’s 1944 Mai Tai..."

[ Edited by: Hakalugi 2015-07-20 13:02 ]

I would drink that.....

Haka, I will try that, "don't knock it until you've tried it." A good Mai Tai doesn't last very long in my glass anyways, so either way I'm good. My guests, however, tend to nurse their drinks more than I do, so there may be more of an issue for them than with me.

Yeah that does look tasty. Couldn't you just go to 711 & fill a big slurpee cup of that pellet ice?

I'm always amazed at how many "ordinary people" (ie not passionate cocktail fans) are so passionate about ICE.

Since we opened up our deck bar this year (I detailed the build here - http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=49315&forum=20&28 ) we've had numerous gatherings and small parties.

I always serve drinks with Sonic Ice, as there's a Sonic close to us, so it's just as convenient to get it from the drive thru there as anywhere else. And almost every party someone will ask me about the ice - where we got it, how it's made, how much does it cost, etc. I must have sent ten customers their way already. Amazing.

Oh, and if you're looking to create clear ice balls for premium spirits, there's an interesting Kickstarter that has four days left to run:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/230120275/polar-ice-tray-the-perfect-ice-for-the-perfect-dri

T

I wonder if the nugget ice would take up more space in the glass as
it is more tightly packed in the glass?
Thus you get less drink and more low cost frozen water.
This is how a person who was in the restaurant biz thinks.
A test between the nugget ice and cube ice as to how much drink you get in a glass with both would be
a fun one.

I will bet that the nugget ice give you less drink per glass.
But then in a home bar this does not matter.

Skip, the manufacturer says the nugget ice absorbs the drink flavors. So I think the opposite may be true. Nugget ice absorbs liquid whereas more solid ice does not absorb liquid. But I think this is very dependent on how finely you crush your non-nugget ice and if you pack it into your glass.

Thinking out loud here...... So maybe a comparison of ice by weight so that both glasses have the same ice by weight. Then you measure how much liquid it takes to fill the glass to the top of the ice.

Time to get some Sonic ice and do a test, right? Use colored water so its easier to see, and you don't waste any booze, ha...

S

On 2015-07-23 07:54, AceExplorer wrote:
Skip, the manufacturer says the nugget ice absorbs the drink flavors.

It astounds me the absolute rubbish that marketing people come up with to try and sell you their product. How is that physically possible? As far as im aware, ice is not porous, and even if it is, the second any liquid comes into contact with the ice it is going to start melting and it is going to melt even faster even more so if the ice IS porous, as the liquid now has more surface area to come in contact with. That is going to dilute your drink even quicker, which means a watery drink, not one with absorbed flavour.

But much (maybe not all) of this "nugget ice" is so soft you can easily squish it between your thumb and forefinger. It is made in a way that it is both light and soft, and it is surprisingly porous. I say this based on personal observations; I frequent restaurants where they use that kind of ice in their soda fountains. But I do not prefer it for cocktails at all because it does melt fast, and it waters drinks down much quicker. Ice is primarily a cooling agent before it is a dilution agent, although reasonable dilution does play an important role in cocktails.

I believe the "nugget ice absorbs flavor" is technically correct, and also agree that it is a statement made by marketing people. So I'm not arguing that point. It's just not a big deal in my coke, but the ice does have absorbency. We could test this claim: Fill a cup with nugget ice, pour in a dark drink, then dump the cup in the sink. Do the same with non-nugget ice. I think we may see that the nugget ice retains more of the drink than the non-nugget ice.

So, debating ice cubes, are we? I need a cocktail! :drink:

I only use my own special "Prism" shaped ice (for a rainbow in every glass!)
hey there is nothing wrong with that!

T

"So maybe a comparison of ice by weight so that both glasses have the same ice by weight. Then you measure how much liquid it takes to fill the glass to the top of the ice."

No way, I've been to bars that use this stuff they give it a light pack to the top.
And in the test it needs to be a light pack to the top on both ices.

This nugget ice is porous it I think is kind of scraped off the inside of a frozen tube and then
churned down that tube to the ice bin.

BUT the cubed ice is run over a metal plate that is cold and the ice forms in a cubed plate
of sorts, when done filling the plate it heats the plate and the ice plate drops and breaks up
making your ice cubes.

I have had and worked on a few ice machines in my day.
plus you need to clean them once a year at least.
If you saw the inside of the ice machine at the bar you drink at you would not go back, it's
called cold mold.

I think we may need the Myth Busters on this one.
They would do the test and then blow up both machines, Awesome.

S

On 2015-07-23 15:03, AceExplorer wrote:
But much (maybe not all) of this "nugget ice" is so soft you can easily squish it between your thumb and forefinger. It is made in a way that it is both light and soft, and it is surprisingly porous. I say this based on personal observations; I frequent restaurants where they use that kind of ice in their soda fountains. But I do not prefer it for cocktails at all because it does melt fast, and it waters drinks down much quicker. Ice is primarily a cooling agent before it is a dilution agent, although reasonable dilution does play an important role in cocktails.

I believe the "nugget ice absorbs flavor" is technically correct, and also agree that it is a statement made by marketing people. So I'm not arguing that point. It's just not a big deal in my coke, but the ice does have absorbency. We could test this claim: Fill a cup with nugget ice, pour in a dark drink, then dump the cup in the sink. Do the same with non-nugget ice. I think we may see that the nugget ice retains more of the drink than the non-nugget ice.

So, debating ice cubes, are we? I need a cocktail! :drink:

Maybe what i said i didn't explain correctly. I have no doubt, and agree, that the ice can be made to be porous and by that very nature it is 'retaining' the drink as you put it, but TO ME, retaining the drink in the ice, whilst it is a form of absorbtion, is NOT the same as the ice itself absorbing the flavours of the drink, which is what the marketing term is saying.

And i'm not debating ice with you ACE, i just personally think that a lot of talk about how important ice is, is a load of bollocks. I don't disagree that different shaped ice can and does play different roles in different drinks and the way any or all drinks will change due to the dilution rate, BUT, to the average person at a bar, most wouldn't notice a great deal of difference at all as to what type of ice was used. Yes, the dilution amount is going to affect the flavour, and so will any impurities that might be in the ice (a separate issue which is not what i'm talking and do agree can have an affect on flavour), however, if you put the same drink in front of me in a blind taste test, and i'm pretty confident most people, in ten different glasses with ten different types of ice drinking through a straw without allowing the person to stir the drink to be able to 'feel' what sort of ice is in the glass, the only thing that you might be able to notice is that maybe a few of those out of the ten will taste more diluted than the others. MAYBE, you might be able to notice that one or more are slightly colder than others, but that would be about it.

And that is all just IMO. If i order a drink at a bar, as long as it is balanced and has good flavours that appeal to me, i couldn't care less what sort of ice they use, nor would i ever ask them to make the same drink again for me with a different type/shaped ice because it will make the drink 'better'.

And just for the record, i don't shake my mai tais. I mix it all in the mixing glass and then pour it straight into the drinking glass with the ice i bought pre-bagged from the gas station. So that ice is usually the round stuff with a hole through it and then also the shards and chunks (which come from dropping the bag on the floor to break it up) that i scoop up along with them putting them into the glass. I don't mind the taste being overly strong on the first few sips because by the time i get to the bottom of the glass it has diluted enough, whereas by shaking it first it becomes far too diluted by the end for my liking.

T

Well I do think that taking hard or cube ice and then using one
of those old timey snow flake ice crushers from the fifties does
make a better drink.

Now I almost never do it even though I have like two of those machines
just because of the time it takes.

This way makes crushed ice that is not mushy like this nugget ice.
For me nugget ice can be too watery.

This is a cube ice maker how to clean.
See the big plate.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGgSSiuWxnA

Thanks, swizzle and Skip, that's great information. Swizzle, I wasn't poking at you, so forgive the choice of words, "debating ice" seems to have come across wrong, it was intended in a very jovial sense. I'm always really happy when we can discuss this sort of stuff here, and the written word is sometimes awkward.

We've covered a lot of good stuff in this thread. I have 4 or 5 different sizes and shapes of ice in my bar. It is an important part of my decision making when I make drinks, and I know it is for you as well.

Cheers! :drink:

On 2015-07-23 13:44, swizzle wrote:

On 2015-07-23 07:54, AceExplorer wrote:
Skip, the manufacturer says the nugget ice absorbs the drink flavors.

It astounds me the absolute rubbish that marketing people come up with to try and sell you their product. How is that physically possible? As far as im aware, ice is not porous, and even if it is, the second any liquid comes into contact with the ice it is going to start melting and it is going to melt even faster even more so if the ice IS porous, as the liquid now has more surface area to come in contact with. That is going to dilute your drink even quicker, which means a watery drink, not one with absorbed flavour.

Yes actually, Swizzle, ice is usually porous. I did a lot of research before buying my ice maker to make sure that I got an ice machine that would make clear ice cubes. All of the "foggy" non transparent cubes are porous. This happens because air bubbles get trapped into the water during the freezing process. Any ice cubes you freeze yourself are going to be porous, there is just no way around it unless you have a special device to make them clear. The ice maker I have (I can get the model when I am at home if anyone cares) actually pours water over freezing copper pieces so that it freezes layer by layer so it ensures that no air gets trapped in the cube. Little by little it slowly freezes each layer to get a pure ice cube. Obviously, it is easier and faster to do it the other way, so most ice out there will have these pores or flaws.

Most recipes that call for crushed ice, do so because the melting ice is meant to give a bit of watering down.

Take the Bali Hai Mai Tai for example:

Most of us have tried one at one time or another. Whether you like it or you hate it, I think everyone can agree that a bit of water in it is essential. They use crushed ice. The first sip to people who have never tried it is always like, "damn, this is all booze!" About half way through the drink you realize that you are enjoying it now. If you sit on it and all the ice melts, you will think it is too watered down. If you were to put an ice sphere into it, it would taste super boozy all the way until the end.

So when a recipe calls for crushed ice, there is usually a reason for it.

S

Ace, don't worry, i know you weren't poking at me and you are correct, the written word is sometimes awkward as people interpret what they read in their own way.

And luna, i do agree that ice can be porous, even though i said otherwise. What i was thinking and how i said it didn't come out right. I was thinking of a solid ice cube and that WATER is not porous. As i said earlier:

"I have no doubt, and agree, that the ice can be made to be porous and by that very nature it is 'retaining' the drink as you put it, but TO ME, retaining the drink in the ice, whilst it is a form of absorbtion, is NOT the same as the ice itself absorbing the flavours of the drink, which is what the marketing term is saying".

I stand by my comment above. The drink is entering the 'pores' of the ice but then pretty much being released again straight away as the ice has so much surface area, the liquid is going to make it melt faster. I'm comparing an ice cube to activated carbon used for filtering water (from my days in the aquarium industry) where the carbon does both. It 'absorbs' and 'retains' until it cannot absorb any more and then starts releasing everything it HAD absorbed. Ice cannot absorb anymore than the pores allow and then it just starts melting and releasing it. I personally think that 'retaining' and 'absorbing' are quite different when it comes to talking about ice cubes, where as others may see it as splitting hairs.

And i DO agree that different (shaped) ice plays a different role in the type of drink. I just feel that people are far too anal about it. I'm here for a good time, not a long time. I'm not going to lose sleep over someone using the 'incorrect' type of ice in my drink. Having said that, i trust that the person making my drink knows how to make one properly to start with and uses the ice that is best suited to that style of drink.

Swizzle, I agree with all of your statements as well. Ice just dilutes quicker the smaller it is. Shave ice seems to absorb liquid, but it is actually the ice being smaller and melting faster. I don't really stress about cubes either and I will often use 7-11 ice if my sources dry up.

I don't want to eat at Sonic ever, although I have been wanting to buy a bag of ice to check it out. At my house i just got Collins ice cube trays (super excited about them), Sphere, Moai, Old Fashioned style big cube ice trays and an ice crusher. All my special ice usually runs out when I have 20+ people over, so I will use whatever ice I have for the rest of the night.

Fancy ice is great, but a cold drink is more important. Any ice is better than no ice.

S

On 2015-07-28 23:29, lunavideogames wrote:

Fancy ice is great, but a cold drink is more important. Any ice is better than no ice.

I think you summed it up perfectly here.

Get a room, ice lovers!

T
J

On 2015-07-23 15:03, AceExplorer wrote:
But much (maybe not all) of this "nugget ice" is so soft you can easily squish it between your thumb and forefinger. It is made in a way that it is both light and soft, and it is surprisingly porous. I say this based on personal observations; I frequent restaurants where they use that kind of ice in their soda fountains. But I do not prefer it for cocktails at all because it does melt fast, and it waters drinks down much quicker. Ice is primarily a cooling agent before it is a dilution agent, although reasonable dilution does play an important role in cocktails.

Well-worded from AceExplorer. I work in the building where the team is developing the Opal nugget ice maker, so I've been fortunate to do lots of taste testing. Tiny ice flakes are compacted then extruded, producing nuggets which are more than 50% air (safe and fun to chew). For cocktails and drinks, the trick is to make your cocktail very cold to slow the melting, or make it strong to compensate. Nugget ice is all about the mouth-feel and crunchable texture.

Opal's crowdfunding campaign launched last week and quickly met it's goal. Units will be delivered in July of next year, but there's a big discount off the $499 retail price for pre-ordering on Indiegogo. Here's the link with more information on the product: http://igg.me/at/getopal/x/9650218

FirstBuild shares the project development and takes feedback if you have ideas: https://firstbuild.com/JBerg/opal-nugget-ice-maker/activity/

EJ

Found this while surfing the net. I guess there are a shit ton of people who like Sonic ice. Check out the funding link. I guess they are all losers?

http://refrigerators.reviewed.com/news/ge-opal-ice-maker-brings-sonic-nugget-ice-home

I gave Sonic ice a try this weekend. I lucked out, one was built recently 5 minutes from my house and they do sell ice for 2.75 a bag. After making a couple drinks, I'm a believer. I had a quality ice machine on my wish list because I wont buy bagged ice from a Gas Station or Supermarket(You shouldn't either) but this will eliminate that need and save me some money.

$2.75 for a 10 lb bag seems pretty steep to me but I guess that's the cost of convenience since it's ready to go and doesn't need to be crushed. I stopped buying bags at gas stations after discovering a stand alone self serve ice and water stand by my house. You can get 16 lbs of ice in a bag for $1.50 or 20 lbs worth for the same price if you bring a cooler. My freezer tends to run on the super cold side so ice tends to clump together but I use an ice chipper and it breaks up into small pieces suitable for cocktails so I don't have to use my crusher. For whatever reason, the ice from gas stations doesn't break up in the same way and a crusher is needed, plus when I get near the end of a bag it becomes one giant ice brick that won't break up without smashing it into pavement. Oddly enough, I've found the ice from Target is a lot more manageable and won't clump up in extreme cold like gas station ice.

I've been wanting an ice machine for a LONG time. $2.75 is the absolute cheapest that I can buy a bag of ice 'round our way and that's for 7 lbs. Most places are around $4 for a 7-9 lb. bag and it's $8 for a 20 lb. bag at the grocers. I wish there was a Sonic near me so I could try their ice.

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