The Nicest Ice in France

Quicktake: The Nice Company makes high quality clear ice and ships it throughout France.

It’s easy to forget that water is a critical cocktail ingredient, as ice both chills and dilutes your drink. While so many cocktail ingredients are becoming more refined, ice is often the “forgotten stepchild”. Mixers manufacturers go on about how much an integral part of a drink they make up, but who champions the H2O essential to 99.9% of the cocktails out there? Sure my home ice isn’t perfect – but I do give it thought and attention. [I’ll be expounding on that later this month with some home ice hacks and tips]. In the meantime, I’m going to tell you where to find the nicest ice in France: The Nice Company.

Perfectly clear ice cubes are really lovely to look at

The Nice Company is “the first clear ice producing company in Paris to cater specifically to the craft cocktail community. Founded for bartenders, by bartenders” The couple behind the cubes, Brittini Rae and Joseph Biolatto, haved owned and/or worked in some of the best Paris cocktail bars (Bar le Forum, Candelaria, Baton Rouge) so they know what’s needed when it comes to the clarity, purity and shape of ice behind the bar for the creme de la creme of ice cubes. 

highball ice cube
I appreciate the height and density of the ingot cubs for highballs and long drinks

In their Paris workshop they use filtered water and special equipment to create a range of shapes and size for their perfectly clear ice. I’ve tested and tasted it and can attest to its clear, clean and dense qualities that make it really lovely in your liquids. The Nice Company works with bars, hotels and restaurants to create bespoke ice. And now you can get it at home too. 

Ice comes in sealed bags, but the founders recommend plastic containers for longer term

Their standard ice comes in spheres, cubes and cuboids and the new online shop offers various combinations of the shapes and sizes. The 39.99 Euros 50 piece discovery pack includes a selection of four different designs and larger party packs contains 100 rocks or other combos for 85 Euros.

On the left: The Nice Company clear ice block. On the right: my own normal ice block.

I know Paris freezers are generally small and it’s tough to find storage for 100 cubes. But, in these somewhat depressing and down times, it’s nice to treat yourself if you do have the space. It’s a sophisticated chilling option for fancy year-end parties. And, it’s also something really nice for non-alcoholic drinks. Those foregoing booze at the holiday parties often get a second-thought kind of mocktail. But, a huge crystal clear frozen rock can help transform even a basic zero octane sip into something a little more special.

And guess what else? They also sell personalizable ice stamps if you want to get really fancy.  And by now, Dear Reader, I think you know me well enough to know I wanna get a little fancy sometimes! I actually already own an ice stamp for my home bar and love it. It’s an easy way to make your special mark on home cocktails. Mine was a Christmas gift from my Seattle BFF and favorite cocktail partner … so keep that in mind for your cocktail friends because ‘tis the season!

The cubes are clear and pretty, but also denser so they melt slower and last longer

Of course, you can easily and cheaply make ice at home, and that’s pretty much what I do most of the time. My home bar ice is filtered water made in large cubes that have a real-life rustic feel. I know with a bit of effort and know-how you can sort of come close to creating something kind of clear for your cocktails. But it takes time and work. And the Nice Company’s tagline pretty much sums that up: “We don’t sell ice. We sell time.” (clever call on that tagline!)  It’s been a tough year, so we can all do with spending a little more time on what we really enjoy as well as putting something just a little bit more beautiful into our lives (and glasses). 

Wanna take a deeper dive into the world of ice? I interviewed the Nice Company founders for an episode of Paris Cocktail Talk all about ice.

Featured photo credit: by Yoan Bonneau @yoangoodwater

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