Ice is the universal ingredient to pretty much any cocktail that was ever invented. Aside from several exceptions such as the Champagne Cocktail or any hot drinks you might have at the bar, you’ll notice that ice is present in any other alcoholic and non-alcoholic concoctions.

There are several ice forms and they show up in different kinds of cocktails. The trouble with some alternatives is that the consistency has to be just right, and that means that you won’t be able to get it from outside as our ancestors used to. Fortunately, you don’t have to grab your ice fishing boots and get out there in the wild to make good ice these days.

Ice cubes are used for most types of mixing from shaking to stirring; they can be added to sodas, juices, and any kind of drink on the rocks. Cubes do not melt as fast as cracked or shaved ice, and if you don’t want your drinks to become diluted, try using larger cubes. You can crack your cubes with a Lewis bag or just a clean towel, but you are going to need some type of blunt object like a muddler or a hammer. If you have some pent-up frustration, this method can help you lower your anger.

Cracked ice is used in drinks like Margarita or Daiquiri. You can get it from the store in this form, or you can make it by yourself with the technique we’ve mentioned above. Shaved ice is very fine, and it can be utilized in a shaker to produce a thicker cocktail. You can make so-called adult snow cones with it by serving it in a glass and pouring any type of liquor you want on top.

Block ice is out of style nowadays, but it used to be the main tool of bartenders back in the day. To break it up, you’d have to use an ice pick or a shaver. Fortunately, blocks aren’t popular anymore, but they might be useful in certain situations such as keeping containers cool or chilling party punches.

It shouldn’t be rocket science to make ice. But, in some cases, its quality can make the difference when it comes to your cocktails. If you want pure, delicious mixes, you need to use the cleanest water you have at your disposal. It might be a good idea to steer clear from unfiltered tap water as it might affect the overall taste of the cocktail. Use natural spring water or distilled water if you want your results to be the best.

For those who like ice in their drinks at home, the simplest solution is to use ice cube trays. You just have to make sure that they are fresh. Their size depends on what you feel most comfortable using, but usually, one-inch cube trays make the best. There are also refrigerators outfitted with ice makers, and these can save you a lot of trouble. At the bar, though, you’ll have to rely on what an ice maker can do.