Ice cubes are to drinking men as shotguns are to quail hunters. If there is one area where America leads the world, it is in the production and availability of ice cubes.
Be it campers, boats, hotels, motels, taverns, pubs, ball parks, race tracks, or a lawn party Americans expect instant access to machines which dispense unlimited quantities of ice cubes, ovals, half moons, blocks, or splinters. Vodka rocks? Fill the glass with ice, then with Vodka. Virtually all of our refrigerators have icemakers.
When was the last time someone said "out of ice"? Out of work, razor blades, lamb chops, wetting solution maybe out of ice never. We drink our drinks cold. It is ingrained in our culture. Our GDP is twice that of Japan - eight-times Europe and totally beyond the rest of the world.
Try to get an ice cube in Tokyo or more than one ice cube in London. Order Vodka rocks in Dusseldorf a thimble full of Vodka over a single cube. Ask the bartender to fill the glass with ice and you have run him out for the evening.
Go to the movies in France. Coke from a fountain - no ice. To a cricket match no Coleman coolers warm beer. The Russians have sputnik, nuclear warheads, and virtually no ice machines. The worlds leader in Vodka consumption sometimes chilled but never over ice.
To the average American scotch, bourbon, rye, gin, blended whiskey "neat" equals undrinkable. As I have traveled around the world often paying large sums in five-star hotels for a bucket of ice, I have tried to equate our passion for cubes and the rest of the worlds indifference.
Can it be our essential sense of fairness? Our basic good humor? Our compassion for the less fortunate? Our fondness for sport? Our commitment to quality? Our tolerance for diversity? Our devotion to food? Our need to be loved?
Or could it be we simply like our drinks cold?