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Nick Hiltbrand

Sin Hielos

                So I was out to lunch with Josh and Trish yesterday, and when the waitress asked us for our drinks, I ordered my usual “Diet Coke with no ice.” The waitress paused for a second, and then mentioned how her grandson was the only other person she knew that ordered her drinks without ice and how she never quite understood why. I was half-tempted to inform her as to why her grandson was obviously a bright young lad with the logic behind the no-ice concept, but I had an oven-baked Rueben foldover coming my way and I didn’t want to hold it up its production any longer by making a scene, plus that’s what a blog is for right?

                I’ve confused girlfriends, friends, family and acquaintances alike with my strange drink order. Even overseas in Mexico, my family can tell you about the funny reactions we’ve seen from waiters when I’d ask for a “Coca-Cola Light sin hielos.” But I assure you that no amount of awkward looks, questions I’ve heard a million times or accusations of rebellion will deter me from passing on the frozen stuff. And now for the logic…

                Well my reasoning is really broken down into three points: Quantity, Quality and Temperature Indifference… And yes, I did just come up with names for my points a few moments ago.

  1. Quantity. This one is probably the most straightforward. You have a 20oz glass, without ice you get 19-20 ounces of the good stuff, with ice that is usually not the case. Sometimes it’s not too bad, like when the waiter/waitress puts a reasonable 3-4 cubes in your glass, you may be sacrificing an ounce or two of potential soda space, but hey at least you know you’re drink is cold right? But then there’s the usual scenario… Waiter/Waitress is in a rush so she takes the glass and quickly scoops it, filling it to the brim with enough ice to rival the local skating rink, and tops it off with what little soda can fit amongst the crevices of the mountain of cubes that has formed in your glass (See picture above). At first glance it looks like you’ve got plenty of pop (I’ve given up trying to stick to either soda or pop as my one reference to soft drinks) to drink, but in three sips when you realize that all you’re getting is melted ice and that there was just enough soda in the glass to change the overall color of the glass and not a drop more, you’ll realize the error of your ways. “But Nick,” you’ll say… “It doesn’t matter if I’m getting refills.” True, if the waiter is tending to your refills every 5-10 minutes. Come talk to me though after you’ve paid $2.45 for a soda and spent 60% of your dining experience sipping on melted ice waiting for your next refill.
  2. Quality. If you’re a pop aficionado like me, you don’t like your pop altered. You don’t want it foamy, flat, being of the RC variety and most of all diluted! Even if you do get a reasonable amount of ice, 5-10 minutes in, you’re drinking some gross concoction of water and your precious soda. The soda fountain already has the perfect soda-syrup:water ratio programmed into its system, in fact you could even say that ratio is really the sole purpose of the machine’s existence, so why would we throw off that balance with ice (more water)?
  3. Temperature Indifference. In my experience, 19 out of every 20 restaurants’ pop is already plenty cold enough sans ice, which I think is pretty reliable seeing as to how I get soda at just about every restaurant I ever go to. The one exception I am making in this entire post is that when a restaurant serves warm (i.e. room temperature or warmer) soda, I will then get ice, cause let’s be real here no one likes their pop that warm… And do you really like your pop to be ice cold? Idk, I feel like really nothing tastes better at its coldest, because it’s tough to taste too much when your mouth is fighting off the numbing sensation. When you first open a tub of ice cream, is it tastiest right at the beginning when getting your spoon through it seems tougher than digging through concrete with a gardening spade, or does it start to taste better when it softens up a lot more? How about when it melts? You’re lying if you say that you haven’t loved sipping the last bits of the melted ice cream from a bowl.
  4. (BONUS) Beer. I say bonus, because I’ve been explaining my stance on the whole ice thing for years and only now thought of this as I was writing this post… For those of you of legal age who like to enjoy an adult beverage or two, how is getting a draught beer much different than soda? I’ve had plenty of draughts from a tap that were warmer than soda from a fountain, and all the commercials keep talking about is how great an “ice cold” beer is, but have you ever heard of someone asking to get ice in their beer when it doesn’t taste like it had just been airlifted from the rockies? No, because it would dilute it, it’s plenty cold enough and with beer costing what it does no one would dare sacrifice pint-glass space for ice when they could be filling it with more brew.

Just food (drink?) for thought.


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