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Didn’t Ice Used to Come Cheap?

By Anthony Todd in Food on May 8, 2008 3:30PM

Ice%21.jpgWe’ve seen a new type of product showing up in liquor stores over the last few months: purified, spring-water ice. The ice is sold in large, zip-top bags or in individually wrapped trays that are ready-to-freeze. The claim is that “ordinary” ice, either bought at a grocery store or made in your freezer, is not made with pure water and will change the flavor of drinks. To be frank, this sounded like the height of pointless snobbery – and it also struck us as somewhat twisted to be selling luxury ice during a recession. We were sent a bag of one of these products, called “On The Rocks,” and we decided to conduct a little taste test!

We tasted the ice in both soft drinks and liquor, and contrasted it with regular ice frozen in our very own freezer. Much to our dismay, we could actually taste the difference when we put the drinks side by side – our ice had absorbed a subtle but noticeably “off” taste from our refrigerator. The drink tasted better with the ice from the package! Before we decided to whole-heartedly endorse the packaged ice phenomemon, we tried one more thing: we cleaned out our ice trays and refilled them with filtered water from a Britta pitcher. Not surprisingly, in the next comparison we couldn’t tell the difference.

The moral of the story is that ice DOES matter. If you have old or stale ice, or if your freezer smells particularly funky, your drinks will taste a little strange. If you’re concerned about this, clean out your ice trays regularly and use filtered water. Consider keeping ice in a sealed plastic container, rather than exposed to the open air in your freezer.

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