10 Different Types Of Ice and When To Use Them?

You probably heard about regular ice, ice cubes, ice balls, and clear ice. But, do you know- there are many more types of ice available and used for different purposes.

Who cares what the shape of the ice is? Ice is ice, and all it does is chill the drinks. But do you know that choosing the wrong ice type can spoil the taste of your drink?

Yes, choosing the wrong ice can add more water to the drinks. Perhaps, this looks normal, and who cares if the ice cubes are large or small?

But, it’s not true. You have to select the right type of ice that can be a lot of fun and enhance the drink’s taste. Different drinks require different kinds of ice. 

So, here I will provide you with a quick guide on the type of ice cubes and when to use them. The guide will help to decide what type of ice goes perfectly with the type of the drinks.

Different Types of Ice and Uses

Types of ice

Let’s have a look at the various types of ice and what you can do with them-

1. Regular Cube/Half Cube

Regular Ice Cube

The first form of ice that you get is regular-style ice cubes and half cubes. This is one of the highly used ice types in households.

It can be produced in a refrigerator with an ice tray. It doesn’t consume much energy and melts moderately. If you don’t have an ice tray then you can make ice cubes without an ice tray too.

Regular ice cubes are easier to chew than lathe square ice cubes. However, it dilutes the drinks relatively faster than other forms of ice cubes.

The shape of the ice- It is in rhomboid shape, and crystal-clear ice cubes hard to chew 

Melting Rate- It melts moderately.

Application- It quickly breakdown and is used for blending purposes to create smooth finish smoothies.

When to Use the Regular Ice?

Regular cubes are widely used in the hospitality industry. These ice cubes are one by 1 inch in size, which means they easily fit into the glass and cups and blend nicely with the drinks. Usually, it goes perfect with soft drinks, cocktails, margaritas, and coffee.

2. Full Ice Cube

Full Ice Cube

Full-size ice cubes are also a popular type of ice cubes available. This type of ice cube provides cooling and adequate aeration for all kinds of beverages. Generally, it melts at a slower rate and reduces the dilution amount.

However, the full-ice cubes are difficult to chew and very tough for the teeth enamel. Thus, chewing can be quite painful.

The shape of the ice- Double of the half ice cubes, clear and rhomboid shape with a hard surface.

Melting Rate- It melts slowly.

Application- Full-size ice cubes are used for various purposes, such as bagging and cooling the drinks.

When to use the Full Ice Cubes?

This ice cube form is perfect for chilling all forms of drinks, including bourbons, whiskeys, and many cocktails. The size of the ice cubes in two by 2 inches and has a hard surface.

This is why it fits a variety of glasses easily. You can find this kind of ice cube in bars and restaurants. Ideally, large ice cubes are used in shakes.

3. Bullet Ice/ Hollow Cylinder Ice

Bullet Ice

The third form of the ice cubes is bullet or pill shape. However, it is less likely to be of bullet style. It has a cylindrical tip with a flat cylindrical surface at the end.

The bullet form of the ice cubes is popular for commercial purposes. The only downside is it melts too often and very quickly.

You can use it in drinks due to its small size; it fits glasses of all sizes. Bullet form of ice is also used in dispensers. It can be produced with any portable countertop ice makers.

The shape of the ice- Bullet/Pill/Hollow Cylinder shape.

Melting Rate- It melts faster.

Application- It is widely used in the hospitality industry and dispensers.

When to use the Bullet Ice?

The bullet form of ice is usually used for drinks and blending purposes. This ice is hollow from the inside. Due to this, it melts faster. But you can also use these forms of ice cubes for coffee, brews, and another form of mocktails.

4. Sphere/ Ice Ball

Ice Ball

The sphere or the ice ball type ice in the drinks looks visually stunning. It is pretty easy to make with the help of the molds and can be prepared at home in the refrigerators.

The ice sphere falls into the full-size ice cubes category and is often used in cocktails. 

This is commonly used in the drinks as it slowly dilutes the drinks and it doubles as garnish. The ice melts slowly and is good for the glass.

Though it is a full half portion of the glass due to its bigger size, it goes perfectly with all drinks. You can make clear ice balls in your refrigerator with sphere moulds.

The shape of the Ice- Clear and sphere shape ice.

Melting Rate- It melts slowly.

Application- This kind of ice cube goes perfect for garnishing purposes and whiskey. 

When to use the Sphere/Ice Balls form of ice?

Due to its slow melting rate, it is used in cocktails and other soft drinks. The size is bigger and goes perfect in bigger size glass.

It melts slowly, so the sphere form of ice can often be used for blending and other purposes. However, most of the applications of this form of ice are similar to large ice cubes.

5. Nugget Ice/Sonic Ice

Nugget Ice Drink

It is a nugget form of ice often known as pebble form, pellet form, sonic ice, and soft form of ice. It has a soft, chewy structure, so it blends easily with all forms of drunks. It’s highly servered ice type in resturants and bars.

It melts slowly, due to which it can keep the drinks cool longer than before. But, it can not be produced in a refrigerator. You need to buy a nugget ice maker to make at home.

Nugget form of ice doesn’t consume flavor. In actual it enhances the flavors of the drinks. In addition, its small size makes more space in the glass, thereby reducing the amount of the liquid.

The shape of the Ice- Pebble, pellet, nugget, or soft sonic style ice cubes.

Melting Rate- It melts slowly.

Application- Widely used in all forms of cocktails and cold drinks.

When to use the Nugget Ice/ Sonic Ice?

Nugget form of ice is highly versatile and widely used in smoothies, sodas, frozen drinks, and cocktails. Moreover, it is used in juleps.

Mostly, the nugget form of ice is used in salad bars and helps in keeping the salad cool. It is also used for food display purposes.

Similar GuideNugget Ice Vs Bullet Ice

6. Crescent Ice

Crescent ice

The Crescent shape of the ice, often known as half-moon style ice, is similar to the half-cube size of the ice. But due to the different shapes, it helps to fill the glass better.

Therefore, it helps to reduce the number of spills number. In addition, it helps keep the drink cool and offers instant cooling effects. 

The exceptional thing about the crescent shape of the ice is liquid displacement. It melts slowly as it has rounded edges. Due to its round edges, it is hard to chew and crush.

Therefore, it can be used for both cold drink’s purposes and is useful in all kinds of hospitality services.

The shape of the Ice- Crescent shape, moon shape with hard surface and clear base.

Melting Rate- It melts slowly.

Application- It is widely applicable in cocktail lounges, fine dining, restaurants, and bars.

When to use the Crescent Type of Ice?

The crescent form of ice is generally smaller in size, and as it melts slowly, it is widely used in cocktails, soft drinks, dispensing, and other forms of drinks. It is also used for bagging purposes.

Also ReadEdgeStar IB250SS Crescent Ice Maker Review

7. Flake Ice/Shaved Ice

Flake ice

Flake form ice has a great texture and always strikes the snow into the mind. But it doesn’t have any uniform shape and size.

It is thin, soft, chewable, and easily melt when used in cocktails and other liquid drinks. However, the soft chewable ice is great for different smoothies and blending purposes.

It is best suited for frozen desserts, easy to mold, and ideal for food display purposes. You can produce it with the help of flake ice makers or ice shavers.

The shape of the ice- It doesn’t have any particular shape and size as it is in the form of flakes. 

Melting Rate- It melts rapidly.

Application- It is used for food display, smoothies, and for blending of the food desserts.

When to Use the Flake Ice?

Flakes from ice melt rapidly, due to which it goes perfectly with the blending of the desserts, best for the food display and preserves the food in a better way. Moreover, it goes perfect for all desserts, especially blending the drinks and snow cones.

Ice bags fill with the flakes often used in the treatment of sports injuries. Also, it’s the best form of ice to make Halo Halo, Bingsu, and other types of ice cream.

8. Clear Ice/Gourmet Ice

Gourmet ice

The Gourmet form of ice is often known as the crystal-clear ice made in a cylindrical shape. It is hollow from the middle and adds more degrees of visual concept into the soft drinks. Gourmet forms of ice provide rapid chilling and melt slowly.

This form of ice is available in different shapes, sizes and the most popular shape is an octagon-shape and clear form of ice. Though it melts rapidly but doesn’t dilute the drunks easily and hence, in turn, doesn’t spoil the taste of the drink.

The shape of the ice- It has clear octagonal and small shapes hard to chew.

Melting Rate- It melts slowly.

Application- It is used for cocktail lounges, fine dining, restaurants, and other bars. 

When to use the Gourmet Ice?

The gourmet form of ice is crystal clear and has a hard chew surface which is why it melts slowly. Though it is difficult to chew, it is widely used in restaurants, upscale bars, special events, blending, and cocktails such as whiskey and others.

9. Block Ice

Block Ice

This is the traditional form of ice that is available in large blocks and cut to the order. You may find this kind of ice floating in the large cocktail batches, floating into the bowls and Agua Frescas.

The block ice is made with the help of the insulated cooler into the freezer. The insulated ice cooler reduces the cloudiness and makes the ice clear.

It is best suited for the large container, drinks, and slowly chilling the drinks. This is why it is widely used in chilling food and transportation. Block ice generally produced in commercial machines but you can make block ice at home too.

The shape of the ice- It is available in the form of large blocks of the ice.

Melting Rate- It melts slowly.

Application- It is used in food transportation, coolers, and keeping drinks chilled for longer duration.

When to use the Block Ice?

The block form of ice is widely applicable in all forms of industrial sectors, especially hospitality. The large blocks of ice can be stored for further use.

It can be used in cocktail glasses, agua frescas, and many more. Moreover, it can widely be used for blending purposes. It is used in bulk form and is slow chilling. It is perfect for soft drinks at parties.

10. Dry Ice

Dry Ice Production

Last but not least is dry ice. The temperature of dry ice is extremely low. Hence, direct contact with the skin is avoided. Due to extremely low temperature, the melting rate is very slow, hence it keeps your drinks cool for a longer time. 

Since the dry ice is extremely cold, you need to use protective gloves before you use them. Do not touch with bare hands as it can burn the skin. The dry ice is available in the form of blocks and pellets. You need to crush the ice with the help of the ice crackers to use it. 

The shape of the Ice- It is available in big blogs and flakes forms.

Melting Rate- It melts very slowly.

Application- It is used in ice coolers, chilling drinks, and food for a longer duration.

When to use the Dry Ice?

A dry form of ice is perfect for chilling drinks. However, due to its cooling effect and slow melting, it also transports the food material. A dry form of ice is used to make the smoking blueberry lavender Martini and other drinks. This is also used in creating smoky effects.


These are ten different types of ice that are widely used for drinks and cocktail purposes. However, some ice forms are also useful in the transportation of food products and are used in dressing the salad. A different form of ice shape goes well for a different form of ice. So, now you know about ten different ice shapes and when to use them.