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Dry Ice – The Witch’s Cauldron

In 1835 Charles Thilorier the French chemist observed dry ice. In 1897, Herbert Samuel Elworthy the Englishman patented it, and in 1999, I, Greg Pittard the ‘ice expert’, burnt myself with it – ouch!

For those that don’t know the dry ice basics, here you go: It is super-chilled carbon dioxide, super-chilled to minus -80, so super-chilled that it turns from a gas to a solid, and comes in the form of slabs the size of a mobile phone, or pellets the size of marbles.

As far as the hospitality sector is concerned dry ice slabs are used predominately to keep things frozen, such as ice cream on aeroplanes, and the pellets are mainly used for special effects, name dropping Gordon Ramsay Restaurant, and Novikov as 2 of our clients who use this to good effect.

So what? Well if this supercool ice comes into contact with liquid then it reacts and kicks out a lovely thick, billowy, heavy, white smoke that is heavier than air, and subsequently looks like it was created in, a witch’s cauldron.

Needless to say, Dry Ice is incredibly popular this time of year, and here at Icebox, we are busy selling and advising on all things dry ice related, including how to use it with cocktails, punch’s and yes witches’ cauldrons.

In short, and unfortunately, if you touch dry ice with bare skin (for longer than 5 seconds) it will give you a nasty little burn. This also means if you put it in a drink, or a punch, and you swallow it by accident, then you are heading to A&E in an ambulance

Solutions? Well there are great products out there: Smokingshots sell glasses with perforated plastic inserts at the bottom of them, and Chillistick sell sealed cocktail stirrers, both of which you can add a few dry ice pellets to sit in the cavity, and safely react with the drink, however see previous paragraph, if this goes wrong then it’s not going to go well for the person serving them.

The good news is, yes there is good news! Is that this product can be used safely and still get the amazing billowy smoke effect that we all love. We sell this stuff en-masse this time of year, and throughout the year, and the key to keep it away from mouths, bear skin, and definitely kids.

So, for bars and events, dry ice in a sealed off / or open watched over, container, sat on the bar, or used in a shaker, or in a pot next to your drink service area is safe. For mums and dads, and potentially witch’s cauldrons, pop some pellets in to the bottom, and ensure the kids don’t put their hand in it, and make sure the grown-up monsters keep those little ghosts and ghouls safe, so there is no – ouch!

To find out more about Dry Ice, contact the Ice Expert