Now that every bartender makes his or her own bitters, syrups, and infusions, it’s no wonder that even ice has gone artisanal. Some places have Japanese saws and picks to carve cubes to order, while others conducted taste tests on bottled water for their spherical ice. D.C. even has its own boutique ice company, Favourite Ice, that sells custom-sized, crystal-clear cubes to bars and restaurants.
So perhaps it was only a matter of time before someone actually started charging for the fancy frozen stuff. Leading up to its opening, downtown bar and restaurant Second State promoted a classic cocktail menu with a $1 upcharge for drinks served “on a rock” from Favourite Ice.
“It’s worth it,” said bar manager Phil Clark at the time. “When it goes into a cocktail, it’s crystal clear. It’s purified water, so there’s no minerally taste.”
Even with the extra fee, Clark said the bar wouldn’t make a profit on the ice when you factor in delivery costs.
But that didn’t make it any easier to swallow. News of the $1 ice cube spread across the media world—Business Insider, Huffington Post, New York magazine, Fox News—sparking outrage. “I’m pretty sure we’re up to the third or fourth sign of the apocalypse at this point,” wrote Jezebel.
The restaurant apparently didn’t think all press is good press. They swiftly axed the upcharge and eliminated the entire section of the menu where it was listed.