Do you really need an ice bucket? Only if you don’t want to keep running to the freezer for ice.
If you’re mixing cocktails for friends and don’t want to keep going to the freezer for ice, an ice bucket is essential.
“I tend to use them for entertaining,” said Julie Reiner, a founder of Social Hour Cocktails and an owner of the bars Clover Club and Leyenda, in Brooklyn. “I use one when I’m making cocktails at home, or if I have parties and want to leave the ice out.”
For a long-lasting supply of ice, an insulated model with a lid is preferable. One with an internal drain grate is even better.
But there is also style to consider when you’re furnishing a home bar. That’s why Ms. Reiner keeps a couple of ice buckets at home: an insulated Crafthouse model with a drain grate for performance and an ornate, antique glass one that makes a decorative statement.
After all, part of the pleasure of serving cocktails is the spectacle. And “a nice-looking ice bucket,” Ms. Reiner said, “is a great thing to have.”
How large should an ice bucket be? “I tend to use a smaller one,” Ms. Reiner said, “because I’d rather refill it than have the ice get too melted.”
Is an ice bucket the same as a champagne bucket or wine cooler? Not exactly: An ice bucket holds ice to put in drinks, Ms. Reiner said, while the others are meant to chill bottles (although some can do double duty).
Is a good handle important? It’s not essential, but it may make life easier when you’re moving the bucket around the house or carrying it outside.
Crafthouse Ice Bucket with Tongs
Double-walled stainless-steel ice bucket with drain grate and acacia-wood top
$99 at Pottery Barn: 888-779-5176 or potterybarn.com
Tina Frey Small Ice Bucket
Resin ice bucket with leather handles
$155 at March: 415-931-7433 or marchsf.com
Leather Ice Bucket
Sol & Luna leather-wrapped ice bucket
$450 at Favor: 888-543-4392 or infavorof.com
Manhattan Ice Bucket with Tongs
Polished stainless-steel ice bucket from Georg Jensen
$189 at Kathy Kuo Home: 888-908-2925 or kathykuohome.com
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