The Real Reason Americans Love Their Drinks With Ice

ice waterI read a funny piece in The New York Times recently about how Russians don't like ice in their drinks -- but I thought the same thing that another blogger thought: It's not them; it's us. Americans are unique in our obsession with ice. Travel just about anywhere else in the world and you rarely see people fill a glass with it.

So what's the deal? Why do Americans love drinks with ice so much? There are a few theories out there, but I think I've zeroed in on the main reason, and it has to do with our kitchens.


It's our refrigerators! In general, American houses are larger than houses in other places, including Europe. Which means we have larger kitchens. Which means we have room for hulking mega-sized refrigerators that make and dispense ice cubes. 

When it comes to appliances, America is the country of More Is More. A larger, separate compartment for frozen foods? Our idea, 1940s. Chilled water dispenser and ice-maker? Our baby, 1970s. Those ice dispensers have become standard, which means if you CAN fill a glass with ice before pouring in a drink, of course you're going to, because it's a big, hot country filled with deserts and swamps. And because there's a seemingly endless supply of cubes coming from the magic ice maker. You fill a glass with ice cubes and the darn thing just makes more!

Meanwhile, people elsewhere in the world, if they have a refrigerator, they have a 25-incher with maybe a small freezer compartment. Maybe you'll keep a couple of ice cube trays in there (which you'll have to carefully ration). Or maybe you'll skip the ice cube trays altogether and keep ice cream in there because ice cream is more delicious than ice.

How do I know this? I live in, shall we say, a European-sized apartment in the city with 25 inches for a refrigerator. Our refrigerator is nearing the end of its life, so I've been checking out new ones -- and guess what? Little fridges are not so plentiful in the U.S., and they definitely don't come with ice dispensers. 

So enjoy that big glass full of ice. Fill'er up for me.

Do you like ice in your drinks?

Image via Andrew Mason/Flickr

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