beyond punch bowl beverage dispensers

an ice punch bowl beverage dispenser with XU lettering

(Note: If you subscribe to the ice carving secrets newsletter, you’ve probably already seen this as it was part of the your-eyes-only info that I sent out links to a couple weeks ago.)

Many of you have either carved or seen a punch bowl beverage dispenser like the one above, especially if you have access to an ice bowl machine (or have your own ice bowl freezing set up). I like them and I think they are a neat idea. They're a bit like self-service ice luges where the drink actually stays in the ice long enough to get a little cold. Unfortunately, I don't sell a lot of them, because I would like to; they're pretty easy to make and could be lucrative. I think the reason that I don't sell many is that they're missing an element of excitement.

Crown Royal logo ice sculpture and an ice basketball beverage dispenser

The idea above, however, has a bit of excitement. It's not immediately obvious, but it's there and sometimes, that's part of the excitement: when you discover something that you didn't notice right away. I'm talking, of course, about the basketball atop the "net." Just like the punch bowl above, it's a beverage dispenser. Instead of just a punch bowl on top of a pedestal, however, it's a sculpture that dispenses drinks. I'm not sure that it's a match for an ice luge in excitement generation, but it's a big step up from the punch bowl.

Below, I've included a diagram that details the anatomy of the basketball beverage dispenser, in case it's not immediately obvious. The only difference from the equipment that the punch bowl requires is that I cut away some of the edge of the plastic bowl insert that helps keep it in place. I wanted to leave more room to weld the top of the ball on. I also carved a slight inset for the plastic liner so that it sits a bit low and doesn't interfere with welding the top on. The ball top is attached after everything is in place and even after the drink is added to the bowl. If more drink needs to be added though, there's a hole in the top of the ball. I'd advise using a tube and funnel to add more, lest the drink flow down the inner surface of the ball top and not necessarily into the plastic insert in the lower half. And I know it's hard to see the tap, but it's there and that type has worked well for me so far. Aside from the tubing itself, the only other thing required is the connector that connects the plastic bowl insert to the 1/2" I.D. tubing. I'll have to add a link for that later or you can call Alice at Ice Crafters to get it (part #IC-D4006): (800) 871-0739.

descriptive diagram of the ice basketball beverage dispenser

The basket ball itself is made from two punch bowls. They were temporarily frozen together and carved into the ball. Once the ball was carved, they were separated and the lower part of the ball was attached to the net pedestal for transport and delivery.

If this idea were limited only to basketballs, then it would be kind of a lame idea. All sorts of balls is better, but not much. Any sort of sphere gets better still. (globes, planets, stars, disco balls, or...the Death Star?) You could freeze items into the bowls and that would offer more possibilities. However, I was most intrigued by the idea of moving away from the sphere shape altogether. The best idea that I've had so far in this vein is below.

ice diamond beverage dispenser for Krewe of Hermes in 2014

I had to come up with this in the midst of a Mardi Gras rush, so I didn't quite get the finished look or the photos that I was hoping for, but you get the idea. It was a pretty simple thing to make a bowl into the bottom of a diamond. Much of the faceting was already there, it just needed flattening. And then, all that was needed was a top. I'd like to take this idea further as well. One of the first things to come to mind is adding pearls, perhaps lots of them made by an ice ball machine for a diamonds and pearls themed event. (That theme comes up a lot in my area.)

I know that there are a variety of ways to make ice beverage dispensers. I totally hate that term, by the way. That's part of the problem and the lack of excitement: a crappy name. "Luge" is so much better... Sorry, off topic. Anyway, I've certainly seen other shapes such as tall rectangular tubes and such. But I think that taking them in a sculptural direction is the most interesting and exciting way forward. I hope you agree and I also hope you'll share any thoughts or ideas that you have along these lines.
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