If you mix cocktails for friends and don't want to keep getting ice, an ice bucket is essential.
"I tend to use them for entertainment," says Julie Reiner, founder of Social Hour Cocktails and owner of Brooklyn's Clover Club and Leyenda bars. "I use one when I'm making cocktails at home or when I'm having parties and want to leave out the ice."
For a long-lasting ice supply, an insulated model with a lid is preferable. One with an internal drain grate is even better.
But style must also be considered when 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 the performance and an ornate, antique glass that makes a decorative statement.
After all, the spectacle is part of enjoying the cocktail. And "a good-looking ice bucket," said Ms. Reiner, "is a great thing."
How big should an ice bucket be? "I tend to use a smaller one," says Ms. Reiner, "because I would rather top it up than let the ice melt."
Is an ice bucket the same as a champagne bucket or a wine cooler? Not exactly: One ice bucket holds ice for filling beverages, said Ms. Reiner, while the others are intended for cooling bottles (although some have a dual function).
Is a good grip important? It's not strictly necessary, but it can make life easier if you move the bucket around the house or carry it outside.
Crafthouse ice bucket with tongs
Double-walled stainless steel ice bucket with drain grate and acacia wood attachment
$ 99 at Pottery Barn: 888-779-5176 or potterybarn.com
Tina Frey Small Ice Bucket
Resin ice bucket with leather handles
$ 155 in March: 415-931-7433 or marchsf.com
Leather ice bucket
Sol & Luna ice bucket with leather coating
$ 450 at Favor: 888-543-4392 or infavorof.com
Manhattan ice bucket with tongs
Ice bucket made of polished stainless steel by Georg Jensen
$ 189 at Kathy Kuo Home: 888-908-2925 or kathykuohome.com
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