Booze | July 22, 2022 1:12 pm

Thankfully, You’re Not Actually Being Charged for Ice in Your Drink

One travel writer got to the bottom of what an "ice surcharge" really means

Close-up view of alcoholic beverage on ice in a glass on isolated background. If you see an ice surcharge on your drinks bill, don't worry.
Turns out an ice surcharge may be the only good surcharge
subman/Getty

If you see an ice charge on your drinks order, relax — nothing nefarious is going on.

That’s the conclusion reached by Chris Carley of the travel site Eye of the Flyer. After noticing the charge at two different venues — one in Vegas and one in New York — he made a few queries and did a little research, discovering that the charge probably reflects an additional pour of whiskey. In other words, you’re most likely getting a 1.5 oz pour if you order something “neat” but 2 oz. if you get something on the rocks. So you’re paying for the slightly extra amount of booze.

As Vital Vegas explained a little while back: “One of the motivations for this practice is 1.5 ounces of liquor doesn’t look like very much alcohol when poured into a rocks glass. Those in the bartending field say customers who order drinks on the rocks are well aware they’ll get a larger pour, and customers tend to feel they’re actually getting a decent deal because they’re getting a third more hooch for a nominal charge.”

It could also mean any number of other things, according to one Twitter user:

This is certainly not to excuse other surcharges being added to your food and drink bill — just be sure to notice if those “temporary” charges disappear when the price of gas drops or the supply chain improves.