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8 Numbers behind... Ice cube

8 Numbers behind... Ice cube

Ice may be nothing more than solid water; but it is versatile and full of surprises. Here are some numbers to help you to know it better.

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  inches is the perfect diameter for the so-called ‘ice ball’, the sphere of ice that is added to a whisky for perfection. In fact the use of classic cubes is forbidden. In the absence of the right mould (there are a great many on offer both in shops and online) a ‘giant small cube’ is better.

2/3  is the perfect quantity of ice for a Daiquiri or a Margarita, two of the most popular cocktails. For these two cocktails cracked ice will be used, that is to say ice that is crushed on the spot and melts fast, since the cocktail will be drunk fairly quickly. As a general rule, crushed ice is used in cocktails with a high percentage of alcohol and without aqueous elements. In other cocktails it is better to use small cubes or ‘lumps’. Liqueurs and ‘pure drinks’, on the other hand, are served with a single large piece of ice, because they are enjoyed more slowly.

3  are the characteristics a good ice cube should have. The first of these is transparency, which should be almost total, without ‘shadows’. The second is the shape, which must be regular, even after being cut. Finally it must be hard: the more noble, the better. If an ice cube breaks on contact with the drink, this is a sign of poor quality and of having been frozen too rapidly. After all, one must take care – even when dealing with ice.

5  billion dollars is the predicted value of the ice-making machine industry in 2019. This figure refers in particular to the machines that produce ice cubes. This business is growing rapidly, with an annual increase of about 7.9%. 38% of the industry is in the hands of the United States, which dominates the league table.

8  dollars is the average price of a ‘luxury small cube’: that is to say, a small ice cube that is completely flavourless, which melts slowly, in 30 minutes, so as to cool the cocktail without diluting it. Thus the demand has arisen from the creation of what has been defined as ‘the luxury ice industry’.

500  grams of salt per metric ton of water is the maximum quantity allowed for the production of ‘flakes’ of ice. This is an alternative to the classic ice cube, more like snow; it is produced by using this ‘brine’, very diluted. The flakes obtained are between 1 and 15 millimetres thick, with an irregular shape, and between 12 and 45 millimetres wide.

1,748  was the year when the first method of artificial refrigeration came into existence. Its inventor was William Cullen of Glasgow University, but he did not manage to find a practical use for it. Later the American inventor Oliver Evans made further progress in 1805 when he made the first ice maker. In 1834 his compatriot Jacob Perkins made a model that used compressed air. That earned him the award of 40 patents.

101,325  Pascal is the standard atmospheric pressure at which ice forms at a temperature of 0°C (or 273,15 K). This is the solid form of water and is composed of crystals of varying shapes. If the shape is hexagonal the ice will be Type Ih, which is the most stable and the most noble. The ice with cubic crystals, Type Ic, is less stable. Affected by air pressure and temperature, there are however other types of ice: 15 types in all.

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