With summer here, there’s no better time to celebrate the warmer months with cool cocktails in the comfort of your home. Whether it’s an after-work happy hour or a weekend soiree you’re planning for your backyard, serving up a bevy of perfectly chilled cocktails will definitely let you toast to a season of summertime fun.
When planning a summer party, keep in mind that drinks are often the most important element. In other words, you don’t want to be just serving wine or beer. When planning a summer cocktail party, consider the base of the drinks you’re going to serve, and don’t limit yourself to single spirit drinks. For example, it’s always a good idea to have a rum-based drink, vodka-based drink, and of course, the obligatory fruity, frozen summer concoction.
With that in mind, cold drinks require ice, and this is especially important in on-the-rocks beverages, as ice is a major factor in constructing the perfect Tom Collins or Scotch. The best quality and tasting ice either makes or breaks a great drink, and cubes should be shaped in such a way that it does not take up much surface area, as this prevents the drink from “watering down.”
Therefore, if you’re throwing a summer cocktail party, don’t forget to have ample amounts of ice. While your refrigerator’s icemaker can provide enough ice for a few glasses of water or ice tea, you may have to seek other methods of obtaining larger amounts of ice. Many people purchase ice from the supermarket or even from ice companies. These companies use state-of-the-art ice making equipment with a reverse-osmosis purification process, and the resulting ice is bagged and made available to customers.
This type of ice most often comes in the form of dry ice, glacier block ice, and cubed ice. Dry ice is carbon dioxide in a frozen state and is ideal for keeping perishables frozen for long periods of time. Because dry ice doesn’t melt into water but turns into a gas, they are not used directly in beverages. Glacier block ice comes in large blocks and perfect for camping on ice chests. Cubed ice, on the other hand, is what most people use in their drinks, and these can be purchased in various sized bags and quantities.
However, if you don’t want to deal with the issue of buying cubed ice from an ice company, a portable ice maker may be just the solution. These types of units are compact, good for countertop placement, and usually produce ice in minutes without needing to be directly connected to a water line. Instead, bottled or tap water can be poured directly into the icemaker. Furthermore, many portable ice makers can produce ice in different sizes and cube shapes.
Our product team has spent the majority of the summer months testing and reviewing some of the most popular portable ice makers on the market today. Well-known icemaker manufacturers include Franklin Chef, Amcor, Avanti, and Sunpentown, but when NewAir, a company primarily known for its air conditioners and heaters, offered to supply us with their NewAir AI-210SS portable ice maker to try, we were excited to see how it measured up in terms of features when compared to competing units. Here’s what we found:
Style and Design:
When we received the AI-210SS icemaker, we really liked its sleek and stylish design. It featured a silver body with black accents that looked great sitting on our kitchen counter. Although it weighed approximately 46 pounds, we could tell it was constructed of heavy duty materials and built to last. This 115 volt icemaker easily plugged into a household outlet, and the front door was easy to open and close. Also included was a removable bin and ice scoop. The LCD screen was bright and easy to read, and we were able to have the unit up and running after just a few minutes. We also appreciated the fact that it even had a “Self-Clean” function.
According to NewAir, the AI-210SS portable ice maker produces ice in as little as six minutes, and we found this to be true. Twelve pieces of ice per cycle were made in our choice of three different sizes (small, medium, and large), and instead of having to deal with a water line, we simply poured bottled water into the reservoir. In terms of maintenance, when we were done using the AI-210SS, we simply emptied the unused water via the side mounted drain.
Overall, we feel the NewAir AI-210SS is the best choice for homeowners that need a compact ice maker. It makes a large amount of ice in a short amount of time and is actually more affordable than other units with similar ice making abilities.
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