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What is an Ice Bucket?

By R. Kayne
Updated May 16, 2024
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An ice bucket is an insulated container used to make ice readily available for chilled beverages. It can be used at home in a wet bar to make ice available for guests, or it can be placed on a countertop at parties. Another use is to keep wine chilled at the dinner table, both at home and in restaurants. These buckets are commonly available in hotel rooms where guests can use them to carry ice back from an ice vending machine. They are available for purchase at department stores and anywhere kitchen products are sold.

There are many styles of ice buckets available, from very basic models to elegant designs. They typically have a hat-style lid that slips into the lip of the bucket. The lid is lifted or lowered into place without turning by using a central knob or finial. The handle might be a basket-style swivel that can drop to one side when not in use, or knob handles might be located on either side of the body of the bucket. Ice is often removed from the bucket using ice tongs. In some cases, tongs are sold with the bucket, but more often, they’re sold separately.

There is an bucket design for every decor, occasion, and purpose. A basic model with a black vinyl exterior will go with almost any kitchen. In the summer months, one can be placed on the countertop can keep kids from opening the freezer repeatedly or running a noisy ice dispenser continuously. It can also be taken to the backyard for barbecues or to tailgate parties. One can even come in handy when camping.

Stainless steel ice buckets are highly polished and add a tasteful flair to any party. Hosts can place glasses and beverages next to a bucket and guests can help themselves, leaving the hosts free to entertain. If something a bit more elegant is appealing, individuals might prefer a cut crystal model. This type can look beautiful sitting out, even when not in use. One can be used at a wedding, shower, or other special occasions, and they are often used at conventions, employee outings, and organizational gatherings.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Wisedly33 — On Oct 01, 2014

I like a double walled ice bucket because it helps keep the ice from melting, and also keeps condensation from forming on the outside of the bucket.

I never think about ice buckets that I don't think about my grandpa. He misplaced his dentures and no one could find them. They finally located the teeth in the (empty) ice bucket! My grandfather couldn't recall why he put them in there, but he said he supposed it was because he wanted to keep them cool. That's a funny family story that has come down through the years and always makes us smile.

By Scrbblchick — On Sep 30, 2014

A friend of mine who used to work in housekeeping at a hotel, said the ice bucket was always the most used item in a hotel room. She said she rarely cleaned a room where the ice bucket hadn't been used. She said it was always nice when the guests remembered to empty the bucket and throw the plastic liner away, or at least empty the bucket.

She said emptying ice buckets in hotel rooms could be a less than fun job, since you didn't always know what would come out of them. I can only imagine. A job in hotel housekeeping puts you in the path of all sorts of people.

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