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Weird Wednesday: In Europe, Ask for Ice

Americans who hopped across the pond to celebrate the Royal Wedding a few weeks ago were in for a few days of revelry, great food and of course, some drinks as well. While London is a great place to enjoy a gin and tonic, they do have a few quirks when it comes to their beverages that most Americans find downright weird. Order a glass of water or a soft drink, for example, and more often than not, the glass arrives sans ice.

The best European travel tip is make sure you ask for ice!

European Travel Tips

You’ll have to ask for ice most places in Europe

This is a stark contrast from restaurants and bars in America where you’re likely to get a glass filled to the brim with ice. This is, obviously, to keep your drink cold, but also to a little bit of gamesmanship as more ice means less liquid, which has patrons re-ordering drinks at a higher rate.

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It’s a bit strange in our modern age to leave out the ice and it’s pretty confounding to first time visitors to Merry England and elsewhere across Europe. The general consensus seems to be that when ice first came available as steamship cargo in the 19th century, it was a luxury only the wealthy could afford. Despite the invention of refrigerators, the fad never seemed to catch on with the normal folk and even to this day, you’re more likely to get a room temperature drink than a cold one.

Do They Like Their Drinks Warm?

Beverage purists will argue that ice in a drink eventually melts, meaning you’re enjoying a watered down drink. For some, altering the taste by watering it down is a worse sin than the drink being slightly warm.

Another thought is that since our bodies are warm, putting cold things in them is not good for digestion. That’s more on superstition than actual science, but the theory is still out there.

If you find yourself in a country where they aren’t serving ice, it’s okay to ask for it politely!

Evan Gove

Now in its 25th year, Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine is published bi-monthly and available worldwide through digital subscription. It offers the latest news in cruise and travel, with in-depth features on voyages, new ships, the best destinations, readers' picks, onboard cuisine, entertainment, and more!