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Discount Diva: For ice chewers, here's how to get that good ice

Samantha Christmann

There are two kinds of people in this world: people who look at ice cubes as a way to cool their drinks, and people who look at ice cubes as a food group.

There is no more discerning consumer than an ice chewer. Once we’ve tracked down good ice, we will drive miles daily to secure it.

The true ice aficionados will know what I mean. Good ice is cloudy and white. It’s soft and chewy. It gives easily between your teeth.

Disappointing ice is clear, hard and dense. It doesn’t “chew” so much as crack. It’s the kind you chip your tooth on or, at least, I once did.

Why are we talking about eating ice when the snow is about to fly? Shouldn’t I have brought this up in the heat of summer? Bah! Ice addiction knows no season.

If you’re an ice lover, you understand. And you’ll appreciate these life-changing ways to get your fix, listed depending on your budget and commitment level.

• Buy it from Sonic Drive-In. Sonic Drive-In has the quintessential “good ice.” In a transformative turn of events, I just found out that you can buy Sonic ice straight from the source. And they won’t even look at you funny when you ask; people go to the Cheektowaga location (3601 Union Road) and buy it all the time! It’s only $1.62 plus tax for a 10-pound bag.

• DIY. You can make your own chewy ice in your freezer using regular ice cube trays, thanks to this excellent tip from

It turns out, the key to chewy ice is density and air content. All you have to do is fill your ice cube trays with some type of carbonated water, such as club soda (79 cents for one liter).

Freeze it as usual, pop it out, then put the ice cubes in a Ziploc bag and whack it once on the counter. Put the ice in your drink and enjoy the greatest thing that ever happened to you.

If you want to get fancy and switch things up a little, you can try flavored seltzer waters, like Polar or La Croix. You might also look into ice cube trays with tiny reservoirs for mini ice cubes.

• Buy a “nugget ice” maker. Depending how much ice you eat (and I worked with a woman who used to buy and eat a 5-pound bag per day), you might want to splurge on a countertop ice maker.

But not just any kind will do. If that were the case, you would just use the ice maker that came with your fridge.

No, you have to find one that makes what is known in the industry as “nugget” ice. That’s the good stuff.

The most famous countertop nugget machine is the Opal Ice Maker. It started with a campaign on crowdfunding site IndieGogo and exceeded its fundraising goal on the first day. By the time the campaign was over, ice lovers had raised $2.8 million toward the invention, funding its goal by 1,697 percent. You can buy one on for a whopping $549 (or $49 per month).

But there are other ice makers that offer nugget ice at a cheaper price with varying degrees of success; including the Della Portable ($119) and Avalon Bay ($155).

Note: Long-term ice cravings can be a sign of pagophagia, a form of pica related to iron deficiency anemia. Personally, my ice cravings were out of hand when I was pregnant, but went away as soon as my doctor prescribed an iron supplement.

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