What are the best ice machines for restaurants, bars and nightclubs? Today we’ll discuss why Hoshizaki ice machines are the best for making perfect drinks.
You’re the proud new owner of a 1,500 pound commercial cube ice machine and you couldn’t be happier, right? Next thing you know, customers are complaining that their expensive drinks are overly-diluted. One guy in particular – a really good customer who drinks Bruichladdich like it’s going out of style says his drinks taste like slushies! What the heck is going on?!
BUYER BEWARE - NOT ALL ICE MACHINES ARE THE SAME
You invested $5,000 – what’s wrong with the equipment? The equipment is functioning properly. Now what? Just whose equipment did you purchase? This may sound trivial, but not all ice makers are created equal. There’s far more to the equipment than meets the eye – way beyond the price tag. In this post, I’m going to discuss how the type of ice maker you purchase has a direct impact on the outcome of the drinks you pour.
FOR PERFECT DRINKS THE ICE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
The perfect drink isn’t just about the booze – it’s also about the ice and the dilution. Hard ice makes for much better tasting drinks. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal:
“The resurgence of classic cocktails has spawned a concurrent trend of ice appreciation. High-end cocktail bars are serving their $18 drinks with dense, extra-large cubes, hand-cut and spheres.”
ICE COMES IN MANY SHAPES AND SIZES
Some bars are even purchasing large blocks of ice and hand-carving them for added visual presentation. But in reality, it’s more than just presentation. The larger chunks and chards dilute at a slower rate, thereby imparting better flavor. Although large chunks or cubes are ideal, they aren’t the whole answer. If you’ve shopped for ice machines, you might be aware that there are machines that make various sizes and shapes of ice, including:
PERFECT DRINKS, ICE SIZE AND SHAPE
The art of making the perfect drink involves matching the size of the cube to the glass without over-pouring the liquor and mix. Ice cube size and shape need to fit the glass or you’ll have a bad presentation – and a bad-tasting drink. For instance, cubelet ice has its place, but you need to realize that cubelets will make the drink cold faster but at the expense of faster melting, and faster melting yields faster dilution. Large cubes aren’t used for drinks such as margaritas. As you can see, glass selection and ice shape and size deserve careful evaluation before purchasing an ice machine. Many venues have more than one type of ice machine.
THE BEST ICE MACHINES FOR HOTELS, RESTAURANTS & BARS
The most popular manufacturer of ice machines among experts is clearly Hoshizaki America (Hoshizaki). Their machines are a spin-off of the legendary Kold-Draft concept. Kold-Draft innovated the technology of making hard ice in 1955. Over the years Kold-Draft’s marketing faltered and the patents expired. Hoshizaki then entered the market and virtually copied Kold-Draft’s concept. Although Kold-Draft still exists today, Hoshizaki is acknowledged as the gold standard by industry experts.
The original Kold-Draft concept, intact and used today by Hoshizaki, is a unique approach that uses an evaporator (an upside-down ice cube tray) sandwiched between two stainless steel plates.
Ice machines made by all other competitors use water filters, which results in “soft” ice. In other words, while the ice produced by the competitors’ machines goes into defrost at a premature temperature, the ice produced by the Hoshizaki machine goes into defrost at -4°F (-20°C)!
HOSHIZAKI OFFERS A VARIETY OF ICE MACHINES
Hoshizaki makes a machine for the various ice sizes and shapes mentioned above. For instance, if you want flaked ice (which won’t produce “slushies”), the Hoshizaki model F-500BAF produces 500 pounds of quality, hard flaked ice. For venues sprecializing in bourbon, scotch and whiskey, the hands-down favorite is the model IM-500SAA. This 500 pound-capacity machine produces perfect 1 ¼” (32mm) square cubes (see photo at top). At an average retail price of $5,600, this machine is about 30% higher than an equivalent Manitowac machine. However, don’t be misled! Not only will the Hoshizaki IM produce superior-tasting drinks, you won’t use nearly as much ice!
BAR DESIGN TIP:
Hoshizaki ice machines are stackable. For applications requiring 1,500 pounds, we normally specify three Hoshizaki IM-500 machines stacked on top of one another.
In conclusion, your ice needs will be best-served if Hoshizaki equipment is specified in your bar design. You will have superior-tasting drinks.
Having trouble with your bar plan? Contact Us today for your free consultation!
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