As the staple of many classic cocktails, crushed ice is key within bartending and 'cocktailing'. Such is the demand for the crushed stuff these days, it's easily and readily available from most supermarkets, no effort required!

But you can't always rely on stock and it may not be the most cost-effective solution. What you need is to learn how to crush ice at home.

Take a look at our guide to making homemade crushed ice through one of these ingenious methods below...



Method 1 - How to crush ice in a blender

Crushing ice in a blender is the most popular way of making crushed ice. It requires no physical effort and you're guaranteed a nice even texture of ice. Follow the steps below to make the perfect batch of crushed ice!

  • Step 1 - Place 400g of cubed ice into the blender. Add a splash of water, just enough to cover the top cubes. This will help the blender work its magic.
  • Step 2 - Pulse the ice, regularly shaking the blender to make sure all the ice cubes are being blended at the same level. We recommend pulse blending for just under a minute.
  • Step 3 - Strain the crushed ice, ensuring no excess water is left in with the ice. Otherwise, it accelerates the melting process. Once you've done this, you're done!

Of course, you can use either a blender or food processor. A food processor will do exactly the same job, just in lower quantities. Nevertheless, it's still just as reliable and gives you the same outcome as if it were a blender.


Method 2 - How to crush ice with a rolling pin and tea towel

Whilst the blender is the most popular option, it's not your only option. Learning how to crush ice without a blender requires a bit of elbow grease (and a touch of anger).

For this, you'll only need some ice, a rolling pin and tea towel.

  • Step 1 - Place the cubes of ice into the middle of the tea towel and fold in half.
  • Step 2 - Take your rolling pin and begin hitting the ice firmly and evenly. Take care to not hit the ice too hard in just one area. Do this and you'll have an uneven batch of crushed ice. Remember you still want lumps of ice, just not cubes. Ice resembling snow won't do!
  • Step 3 - Once battered, shake the crushed ice into a bowl ready for use in cocktails!


Method 3 - How to crush ice in a plastic bag

Lastly, we have the plastic bag method. All this requires is simply hitting a bag of ice. However, there are some things to consider before and during crushing. We prefer the previous two methods when making your own crushed ice, but this will still do the job!

  • Step 1 - Take a bag of ice and run it under some warm water for 30 seconds. This will encourage the ice to crack due to the temperature difference, making crushing easier.
  • Step 2 - Now place the bag of ice onto a flat surface.
  • Step 3 - Begin hitting the bag forcefully with a rolling pin, making sure to shuffle the bag around, avoiding an uneven crush. If you find the bag is breaking, place a tea towel over the bag.
  • Step 4 - Bash for around 5 minutes. After, the ice should all be crushed perfectly.

This method can help make crushed ice a lot quicker than the previous one. However, there is more of a chance of crushing unevenly. Bear this in mind when choosing this method.

If you're more of a visual learner, we've got just the video for you. Our bartending instructor Jimmy, talks you through how to crush ice in the comfort of your own home, as well as how to make clear ice cubes...

Crushed ice cocktails

There are many classic cocktails that require crushed ice. Cubed ice is a lot more common in bartending, however sometimes you need that crushed stuff to really make a cocktail pop.

Here are the most well-known cocktails with crushed ice...

Crushed ice FAQs

Shirley Temple mocktail

Crushed ice vs ice cubes - which are better?

There's no right or wrong answer here as each cocktail is different. Some use crushed, cubed or even no ice, and it's not often that the three shall meet. It all depends on the type of drink. 

Some cocktails require the crushed style to dilute the alcohol a little, like the highly alcoholic Zombie. Plus, it'll add texture and cool the drink a lot quicker than cubed.

However, cubed ice melts a lot slower and allows for more cocktail within the glass. More often than not, a cocktail requires cubed over crushed. Adding crushed ice to a Gin and Tonic or Whiskey Sour is just plain weird, so proceed with caution! 

Finally, we'd like to add that when preparing cocktails in a cocktail shaker or mixing glass, always use cubed ice. This way, you'll prevent serving up a watery cocktail full of little icicles. 

Why use crushed ice for cocktails?

The reason behind using crushed ice in cocktails is down to three reasons.

It makes the drink more evenly cold and refreshing, adds a texture to the cocktail and waters it down a little, making it a lot easier to drink. All this combined means you get yourself an amazing drink.

Now you know how to make crushed ice, why not try mastering 60+ classic cocktails to go with it? Learn more about our bartender course to get your career kick-started...