Ice in soft drinks: Are Europeans right or superstitious?

I tend to like a little bit of pop with my ice…

I don’t mind it a little watered down. Too thick and syrupy otherwise.
I also don’t like all the carbonation, and pouring it over lots of ice resolves that issue.

Your Milage Will Vary.

Do they have ice water, or just a glass with cold water in it?

The EU, in my experience, is just used to having everything luke-warm or luke-cold. Probably due to energy conservation. There have been times where the hotel room or restaurant was just absolutely stifling. I have no idea how they survive that.

Even other places where you would expect some form of ventillation, air flow, anything at all, don’t have it. Being in a metro in Prague was absolutely incredible. No airflow at all, no deodorant at all (it’s just the way that they are), I thought I was going to pass out.

The lack of ice is not surprising given how insanely expensive soda is in the parts of Europe I’ve been. Beer and wine (depending on the location) are often cheaper where they are far more expensive than soda in the US.
Also, flat water is universally free in restaurants. There was a bottled water fad a while back, but it is mostly gone now, except maybe in big cities. I guess we just have more water to spare.

No joke. I started drinking beer at lunch when I was living and working in Budapest in the late 90s/early 00s because it was cheaper than getting a Coke. I sometimes want to revert to that behavior back here in the US, where it’s not quite as understandable. :wink:

I don’t over-ice my soft drinks. Since many places now have self serve drinks, I use two or three cubes at most.

I drink and eat tons of ice, usually with diet coke. I don’t think there is a health issue there. (I’ve been told eating ice is bad for your teeth, but I usually only eat the crushed kind, and my teeth are still fine.)

However, if I didn’t get free refills (or giant cups), I’d reconsider ordering it. Because yeah, you’re getting a bunch of water instead of the soda you paid for.

Also, I can’t imagine having ice in my beer or milk, which is 100% cultural. I can see if you’ve been raised differently than me, ice in soda would have the same negative connotations.

This has become extremely common in Peru in all eateries except high-level restaurants and places with machines (KCF, McD, BK).

The size of individual pieces doesn’t really have anything to do with how fast it melts (except initially, when being cooled down), assuming the same overall amount of ice, since whether it is one tiny piece or a glass full of ice, the temperature of the whole glass will stay near freezing until it all melts.

That said, I don’t like ice for the same reason Nava says - it melts and dilutes the soda, which then doesn’t taste as good, not like it is going to get that warm either in the time it takes to drink it.

I agree. Fountain drinks are plenty cold to begin with.

My dad, who was Hungarian, used to tell us when we were kids that drinking cold liquids while eating a hot meal could crack your teeth. I’ve ignored that logic and usually drink my soda with ice unless I’m drinking it from a can or bottle.

Apparently your business isn’t being a rock star.

Believe it or not, there is actually truth to this, as this study (PDF) demonstrates:

(they used bovine teeth because there weren’t that many human teeth without existing cracks but both showed similar damage; the temperature difference can also be easily exceeded by drinking ice-cold liquid. One caveat is that living teeth can repair themselves to an extent).

I actually like a lot of ice for pretty much the same (opposite?) reason: I hate the overly sweet taste of straight soda. Even worse if it’s luke-warm. I find that when soda is really, really, mind-numbingly cold the flavor doesn’t seem as strong. And then as it warms slightly the melting ice dilutes it nicely. So bring on the ice. :slight_smile:

To each their own.

A cube of ice melts much slower than the same volume of ice chips because the area where thermal transfer occurs is much lower.

That’s why I don’t have ice in my soft drinks. Besides, if you let it sit for any length of time, the ice melts and the soft drink tastes horrible.

This is only true, as I said, when the water/soda/etc is above freezing; the temperature will drop to freezing and melting will slow down to what is needed to balance heat input. Try it yourself:

(of course, there is some point where the surface area of the ice (and the size of the container) does matter, but for practical purposes it doesn’t matter)

Nowadays it would be unusual to not get ice somewhere and if you don’t get offered ice you’ll usually get some if you ask for it. Not too long ago though ice was rationed for some reason in most places, maybe to save on costs? I suspect they don’t put as much ice into a soft drink here as Americans are used to for two reasons, a) it never gets all that hot here and b) if you’re drinking out of a glass, how a soft drink will typically be served, a surfeit of ice makes it difficult to drink, unless you’re using a straw. But if you ask for loads of ice you get it. If I’m having a mixed drink in a bar I’ll usually ask for it in a pint glass full to the brim with ice and they usually have no problem providing it.

:smack: I lived in Karsruhe, Germany for 10 years…from 1980 to 1990. They did not put ice in their beverages then either. But they also drank warm beer, drank beer on their work lunch breaks, the females refused to shave under their arms and they did not use deodorant…anti-perspirant or regular. There are a lot of things they did and still do contrary to what we as Americans do, but a lot of it has nothing to do with medical findings…it is just ancestral ways and traditional followings. The issue with the omission of ice in beverages was told to me by a German friend. Whenever we went out and ordered a drink, I always had to request ice…even if the drink was one that required ice by bartending standards. I asked my German friend, Sabine, why is this? And she said, "In Europe, Mothers do not give their babies cold liquids to drink because of the shock factor to the head…what we call “Brain Freeze.” Because children are not given cold liquids, like anything else, what you are exposed to is what you become accustomed to. Therefore, from childhood, they become accustomed to drinking not cold or room temperature drinks. It is that simple. And that’s the STRAIGHT DOPE!

Bear in mind that there’s a historical basis for this stuff, too. Ice used to be a luxury item, but as was far more readily available in North America, which is colder and has more fresh water immediately available to major populatiom centers. At one point, cutting and transporting ice in New England and transporting it around the world was a major industry, but the major markets remained American cities. The northeastern USA is both colder and hotter than much of Europe, and so was an ideal place to harvest ice, store it, and then sell to overheated and thirsty customers.

Most of this was passe by 1900, but there already existed by then a different attitude between Americans (and Canadians) and Europeans. The former thought of ice as a common thing; the latter, a luxury.