Are you equipped?

Did you know that ice is classified as a food? Simon Aspin, commercial director for Hubbard Systems, distributor of the well known Scotsman range of ice machines, says: “Ice is classified as a food and regular cleaning will help ensure you comply with food hygiene regulations. Make sure you empty, clean and sanitise the storage bin on a regular, weekly basis. Having a maintenance schedule for the components that need regular cleaning will help keep your equipment in peak condition.”

Here’s a leap for many bartenders on ice: “Never use bare hands, which is unhygienic, or a glass, which is incredibly dangerous,” advises Aspin. “It is impossible to see broken glass among ice. When it comes to handling the ice, always use a scoop or tongs.”

He also stresses that bar staff need to be trained, not only to follow the manufacturer’s suggested cleaning schedule, but also to be aware of how the equipment works, as this will help them recognise any faults if they develop. Hubbard Systems has produced videos showing how to clean ice makers. They can be found at:

“The latest back-bar icemakers are designed to produce large amounts of ice without taking up too much space. Cocktails, shorts and soft drinks all look and taste better when served in quality glasses with a generous amount of crystal clear, long-lasting ice,” says Aspin.

“If you’re thinking of investing in a new ice maker go for a quality brand with decent after-sales support. What you don’t want is an ice maker that breaks down and then can’t be fixed because there are no spare parts available. Also look for machines that are easy to clean and maintain on a day-to-day basis.”

With Drinks International’s increasing involvement with bartenders through our The World’s 50 Best Bars survey, supplement and event, it has become apparent that many top bartenders’ working practices are, or should be, not dissimilar to that of chefs.

Many bartenders are handling and preparing fruit and vegetables to be either ingredients or garnishes in cocktails. They may also be handling and serving food during service. Plus, they may be handling ‘dirty’ coins and cash, which have been in someone’s soiled pocket.

It goes without saying that no bartender wants either to give someone food poisoning or damage the reputation of his/her bar. Nevertheless.


Aspin advises choosing models with practical features. For example, when it comes to a back-bar ice maker with an integral storage bin, you should be looking for half the capacity as storage. For a machine that makes 40kg of ice a day you should have ice storage for around 20kg.

By the way, Aspin says: “If you’re getting a new ice maker check what sort of ice it makes ­and make sure it’s the right type of ice for your site (Guide to Ice:

Hoshizaki claims to make the largest machine-made ice cubes in the world (Hoshizaki makes a machine that makes an even larger shaped ice block, not technically a cube).

The supersized cubes produced by Hoshizaki’s IM-65NE-LM measure 48x48x58mm. The company says the cubes make a dramatic statement in any drink served in any glass large enough to accommodate them, typically a highball or rocks glass.