"What we did with culinary—the kitchen side of it—20 years ago is happening now, behind the bar."

 - Tony About-Ganim                                          
Master Mixologist, “The Modern Mixologist”

The Modern Mixologist knows. The craft cocktail craze is pushing the limits. It has us looking for opportunities in every component of the beverage experience. And as a result, ice is getting fancy—artisanal ice as it’s called. So media outlets everywhere are documenting its rise to prominence.

This NPR article spotlights how hand-cut, artisanal ice at one D.C. bar is elevating the guest experience and adding value with large, hand-cut cubes made from highly purified water.

The slower melt maintains the drink’s integrity longer, but purveyors agree it’s about aesthetics too.

If shape alone is worth an extra dollar, get ready—because we’re far from the ceiling of ice innovation. We at NRA Show and IWSB know this because just last year, a company on the floor called Beyond Zero was showcasing machines that actually turn liquor into ice.

And with a little creative searching, you can find creative people who promise a very exciting future, experimenting with variations like:

Smoked Ice...

Ice made from juice...

Shaped like LEGOs and Easter Island sculptures

Made from wine

Using grapes as your ice

And these 5 creative takes...

So it’s seems depending on the approach or branding—your special ice is either about value, exclusivity, taste, purity, novelty or some combination.

But if aesthetics alone is earning a premium, it's clear there's a lot more fun to be had simply with the way our ice makes us feel.

What if as you sip your Manhattan, you knew that in the process of freezing, your ice cube was charmed with Shakespear’s 12th Night read by Morgan Freeman? I’d pay an extra buck for that too.