For those of you who know me in person, the following statement will be no surprise: I LOVE ICE! I don't know if it's the fact that I was born and raised in Key West where hot has a whole new meaning, 364 days a year. Yes, they have one cool day where the temperature gets down to 60. I now live in Mississippi, where summer and hot are one and the same. You can't get from your car to Wal-Mart without breaking a sweat. I hate to sweat. But that's another post for later. So I'm not sure when this love affair started, but I know that I couldn't live without ice in my drinks.
Back in the day, my family had ice cube trays. Do ya'll remember those? We had these metal ones with a lever that you had to pull up in order to free the ice from the tray. I'll never forget how my hands and fingers got stuck to the trays. Eventually we progressed to plastic trays. I'm not sure whose job it was to empty the trays, but I do remember getting yelled at for taking a few cubes out of the tray without dumping them all and refilling the trays. Mom and Dad should have made that a household chore. At some point, we got a newer refrigerator that had an automatic ice maker so the days of the ice trays disappeared. They still don't have ice-in-the-door. It wasn't until David and I bought our own house and appliances several years ago that we got an automatic ice maker and ice-in-the-door. As a matter of fact, that was the only thing I cared about when picking out the fridge. I feel really sorry for anybody who hasn't experienced the joy of having ice-in-the-door.
But back to the story. I got a job teaching. I found that I liked the sound of my own voice and I talked a lot. All that talking got me really thirsty throughout the day. And since I like my drinks (now mostly Diet Coke or Diet Dr. Pepper) VERY cold, I had a dilemma. I had a mini-fridge in my classroom but just refrigerating my drink didn't make it cold enough. So one day I stopped at the Circle K on my way to work to pick up a fountain diet soda and saw they had an insulated cup you could buy and get free drink refills. Let me see if I can paint this picture for you. It's this ginormous 52 ounce cup made by Aladdin. Very shortly after purchasing it I found that the ice in the cup would last all day. This was wonderful! I could put ice in my cup at 6 in the morning and still have ice at 5 in the evening. I started toting this cup with me to work. I would fill it at home with ice and buy bottled soda. To this day, I still carry this cup. If I forget it one day, I will not know what to do. Do not fear, my dear readers, I do not tote this with me everywhere. I've suffered many tauntings over my large cup o' ice, so when out in the general public, I'll head to different places around town to get my drink on ice.
This brings me to ice and the watering holes I frequent. Mind you, I will take ice in any form in my drink. But if I have to choose a place to get a drink from in town that has the best ice, hands down, Sonic will win. Sonic ice is these little pebbles of ice that make your drink so slushy. They crunch very well when your drink is done too. When you factor in that my town has 2, soon to be 3 Sonics, so accessibility is good AND that Sonic has happy hour everyday and drinks are discounted, you've got a recipe for chilled loveliness. On a side note, they serve their beverages in styrofoam cups so the ice doesn't melt that quickly. I recommend the Route 44 Diet Coke. You'll get lots of good ice and drink to last you most of the day. Some restaurants have that ice that looks like little cylinders. That kind of ice is good too, since you can spear it on your straw when your drink is gone. I haven't seen that kind of ice in awhile, so I'll have to do some investigating.
I've never been to Europe. I've been told that they don't hold the same regard for ice in their drinks as Americans do. Whenever my European tour begins, I'll have to figure out how to get my 52 oz. Circle K cup full of ice through security at the airport.