If you’re wondering how to blend ice, or how to crush ice for the best-tasting drinks, you’re in the right place. Here, we’ve answered all your questions on blended ice vs crushed ice, and how you can blend it or crush it to best suit the drink you’re serving.
With summer in full swing, serving ice cool drinks is a must. But with drink recipes using so many different styles of ice, it can be confusing to know how to prepare it. What we think of as crushed ice can vary in size, shape and texture – from small ice chips down to fluffy blended ice you might find in a slushie.
One recipe tells me to crush, the other says blend ice – are they the same thing?
In short, yes they are – but with a slight distinction. The main difference between crushed ice and blended ice is the size of the ice itself. For example, if you think of a mojito, the ice is often crushed into small chips to create a matrix for the cocktail to flow around. On the other hand, when someone refers to blended ice, they are often referring to ice in a smoother form, like a smoothie or slushie.
What should I use to crush ice?
The traditional way to crush ice, and one you’ll often see bartenders use, is with a Lewis bag and a mallet. A Lewis bag is made from a canvas material that gives you great control over how crushed you want your ice to be. You fill the pouch with ice, close it, and hit it with a mallet to the desired size.
You can also crush with a cocktail maker – just use the muddler to break it down. A word of warning, though – don’t put your cocktail ingredients in while you do this, they’ll break down far quicker than the ice! That’s because the force required to crush ice is far greater than crushing mint, for example.
Can I crush ice in a tea towel?
If you don’t have a Lewis bag to hand, you can crush ice with a tea towel and rolling pin. Fill the centre of a tea towel with ice, pull the tea towel closed and smash it. You can also crush ice in an electric blender, though you’ll have to keep a close eye on it, because the ice does tend to break down quickly due to the high power.
How do I blend ice?
Blended ice is trickier to achieve by hand. Because the particles are much finer than crushed ice, you may need to call on your blender to achieve the desired consistency. This is especially true if you are catering for a large group and need quick results.
What sized ice cubes should I use to blend ice or crush ice?
Put simply, if your ice cubes are too big, it will take ages to get the desired effect. If they’re too small, you’ll get loads of water too quickly. If you need to crush ice or blend ice, we’d recommend using Party Ice or Polar Cube ice, which are the ideal size for blending and crushing.
Now you know how to blend ice and crush ice, it’s time to find the perfect summer cocktail. The only question is, which will you try first?