Ice tongs are a type of kitchen utensil used to lift pieces of ice out of an ice bucket and lower them carefully into a beverage, to prevent the ice from falling and splashing into the drink. It is also much more sanitary to use tongs than for someone to grab the ice with his or her hands. For those who enjoy entertaining, good quality tongs are a must.
Often, ice tongs and an ice bucket will come as a matching set. An ice bucket is an insulated container with a lid, used for storing ice and keeping it frozen in warmer temperatures. This prevents the host or hostess from having to make frequent trips back to the freezer for more ice. The ice bucket will often have a hook to allow the tongs to hang from the bucket and prevent them from becoming lost.
Ice tongs may be made out of silver, stainless steel, or plastic. Silver and stainless steel tend to hold up better, but are also more expensive initially. Some tongs come as part of a set with other bar items, such as wine or bottle openers. Good quality ice tongs may also have rubber handles, to make them easier to hold, and sharp notches, or "teeth," in order to get a better grip on the ice. Some tongs also feature a locking mechanism, which allows them to remain closed and take up less space while being stored in a drawer.
Some people choose to decorate their kitchens with antique ice tongs. Though the name is the same, this type of tool is different than the tongs used for small pieces of ice today. Antique tongs are usually made up of two large hooks, which are driven into a large block of ice. When the hooks are lifted, they press into the ice and keep it secure. These were often used when ice would be delivered to homes.
Ice tongs can be found in stores in the kitchen or housewares section, or may be purchased online. Antique tongs are also fairly common, and can be found in an antique store. When purchasing any item, it may be helpful to check online and see if the product has any user reviews, to make an informed purchase. Keep in mind that though silver tongs may be visually appealing, they will need to be polished the same way that fine silver flatware does.