If you’re mixing cocktails for friends and don’t want to keep going to the freezer for ice, an ice bucket is essential.
“I tend to use them for entertaining,” said Julie Reiner, a founder of Social Hour Cocktails and an owner of the bars Clover Club and Leyenda, in Brooklyn. “I use one when I’m making cocktails at home, or if I have parties and want to leave the ice out.”
For a long-lasting supply of ice, an insulated model with a lid is preferable. One with an internal drain grate is even better.
But there is also style to consider when you’re furnishing a home bar. That’s why Ms. Reiner keeps a couple of ice buckets at home: an insulated Crafthouse model with a drain grate for performance and an ornate, antique glass one that makes a decorative statement.
After all, part of the pleasure of serving cocktails is the spectacle. And “a nice-looking ice bucket,” Ms. Reiner said, “is a great thing to have.”
How large should an ice bucket be? “I tend to use a smaller one,” Ms. Reiner said, “because I’d rather refill it than have the ice get too melted.”
Is an ice bucket the same as a champagne bucket or wine cooler? Not exactly: An ice bucket holds ice to put in drinks, Ms. Reiner said, while the others are meant to chill bottles (although some can do double duty).
Is a good handle important? It’s not essential, but it may make life easier when you’re moving the bucket around the house or carrying it outside.
Crafthouse Ice Bucket with Tongs
Double-walled stainless-steel ice bucket with drain grate and acacia-wood top
$99 at Pottery Barn: 888-779-5176 or potterybarn.com
Tina Frey Small Ice Bucket
Resin ice bucket with leather handles
$155 at March: 415-931-7433 or marchsf.com
Leather Ice Bucket
Sol & Luna leather-wrapped ice bucket
$450 at Favor: 888-543-4392 or infavorof.com