Lewis bag and crushed ice

13 Best Lewis Bags and Ice Bags For Crushed Ice Cocktails in 2023: Reviews & Buying Guide

Lewis bag and crushed ice

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A cocktail is only as good as its ingredients, including ice. One of its many forms is crushed, which not only makes drinks cold faster but also improves the appearance of a cocktail with its crystal-like textures. 

While there are many ways to make crushed ice, the most common one to follow in a bar is by using a Lewis bag. This bag is usually made of a thick fabric that doesn't easily tear to withstand the impact of the ice mallet, and it minimizes water messes on the bar counter. 

Other ice bags made from different materials can also conveniently make crushed ice.  So, to elevate your cocktails, check out the best Lewis bags and ice bags for bar use!

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Barfly Ice Bag


Runner-Up: SIP. Lewis Bag

Best Set: Boao Lewis Bag

Best Thick: McSology Lewis Bag

Best Classic: Viski Lewis Ice Bag

Best Gift: Hermia Lewis Bag

Best Storage: NIUTRIP Ice Lewis Bags

Best Simple Design: Cocktail Kingdom Lewis Bag

Best Value: TMKEFFC Lewis Ice Bag

Best Seal: BluePerlOne Silicone ZipLock Bags

Best Look: BiC Lewis Bag

Best Retro Design: Franmara Lewis Ice Bag

Best for Big Batches: Belinlen Plastic Drawstring Ice Bags

1. Best Overall: Barfly Ice Bag

Barfly Ice Bag

Why We Think It’s Great

  • STURDY CONSTRUCTION: Carefully made with high-quality canvas to ensure durability and functionality.
  • EASY TO CLEAN: Can be washed in a washing machine to speed up cleaning.
  • DRAWSTRING CLOSURE: Can be closed securely by tying the drawstring together.
  • NO LINT: The fabric remains intact after being hit with an ice mallet or multiple washes.

What We Don’t Like

  • The seam can sometimes split. 

What Buyers Say

“The ice bag is made of sturdy canvas fabric and is big enough to fit a whole tray's worth of ice inside. The texture and thickness of the cloth give the impression of being robust enough to endure repeated strikes from a hammer, mallet, or meat tenderizer.

Also, the seams appeared to be sufficiently secure, with tight and well-done stitching. And we also like the drawstring function since it seals great and is one of the reasons why we picked this product.”

Material: Canvas | Size: 8.25” x 17.75”  | Manufactured: USA | Machine Washable: Yes

Related: The Best Ice Trays

2. Runner-Up: SIP. Lewis Bag

SIP. Lewis Bag

Why We Think It’s Great

  • EASY TO STORE: Designed with a hoop at the bottom to easily hang the bag anywhere.
  • PROFESSIONAL-GRADE: Soaks up the water as you smash the ice, leaving you with mess-free crushed ice.
  • HIGH-QUALITY: Made with 100% natural canvas that's been triple-stitched for extra durability.
  • IDEAL FOR A SMALL GROUP: Has a capacity of 20 ounces which is enough to make 1 - 3 drinks.

What We Don’t Like

  • The canvas feels a bit stiff.

What Our Editors Say

“We appreciate this Lewis bag’s pristine condition, and its lack of print makes it an excellent choice for those who value minimalism. We can tell that the canvas is high quality because of its thickness. It's also convenient that it has a loop so you can easily hang it to air dry.

Additionally, without the loop, the bag may become a breeding ground for mold and mildew. The bottom line is that this Lewis ice bag is robust and reliable, making it ideal for hard crushing.”

Material: Canvas | Size: 8.5” x 12.25” | Manufactured: China | Machine Washable: Yes

Related: The Best Ice Tongs

3. Best Set: Boao Lewis Bag

Boao Lewis Bag

Why We Think It’s Great

  • QUICK SEALING: Designed with a flap closure, ensuring the ice is contained when crushing.
  • ODORLESS: Constructed from premium, non-toxic, odor-free cotton canvas, making it safe for cocktails like Moscow Mule and Mint Julep.
  • DRIES EASILY: It has a hoop at the base, so you can hang it up to dry.
  • SET OF 4: Comes with enough Lewis bags for your needs and replacements in case of damage or loss. 

What We Don’t Like

  • The seams could be better. 

What Buyers Say

“We appreciate that the canvas soaks up the liquid without creating a mess like an ice crusher on a countertop would. Moreover, the bags work well for storing our crushed ice.

When using large-shaped cubes or clear ice, it works especially well because the ice does not attach to the thick linen or canvas. And since you get four in a set, you can gift the others to fellow bartenders. We strongly suggest these good Lewis bags with their reasonable price.”

Material: Canvas | Size: 8.5" x 13.5" | Machine Washable: Yes

Related: The Best Ice Scoops

4. Best Thick: McSology Lewis Bag

McSology Lewis Bag

Why We Think It’s Great

  • CAREFULLY CRAFTED: Each bag is handcrafted with meticulous attention to detail to guarantee customer satisfaction.
  • SECURE STITCHES: Triple-sewn seams to prevent blowouts. 
  • DURABLE: Can be used to create ice in different textures, such as snow, crushed ice, or cracked ice, without tearing.
  • IDEAL FOR SMALL SERVINGS: Each batch of crushing ice can make 1-2 servings. 

What We Don’t Like

  • It is expensive. 

What Our Editors Say

“Whether you're pounding hard for a snow-like texture or slowing down for some cracked ice, this Lewis ice bag can easily get your desired size of ice, thanks to the high-quality, thick, and sturdy canvas used. 

Moreover, the seams are secure with no loose threads, and we're impressed that they don't easily snap. There is no canvas shedding or lint, too, ensuring cleanliness. The bag will be a little stiff at first but will easily soften up after multiple uses or washes.”

Material: Canvas | Size: 19" x 9" | Manufactured: USA | Machine Washable: Yes

Related: The Best Countertop Ice Makers

5. Best Classic: Viski Lewis Ice Bag

Viski Lewis Ice Bag

Why We Think It’s Great

  • FLAP CLOSURE: Secures the bag easily and well just by folding.
  • WATER ABSORBENT: Completely soaks up the excess water from the crushed ice.
  • PROFESSIONAL-GRADE: Made of natural canvas, which is durable, sturdy, heavy-duty, and food safe.

What We Don’t Like

  • The seams along the edges could be stronger.  

What Buyers Say

“We prefer this Lewis bag to a machine because it crushes ice quickly and easily, doesn't leave any stains, and requires nearly no maintenance. Additionally, it can be stored almost anywhere and, most importantly, always gives us the crushed ice we want and need.

Also, this won't cost us a lot of money once it gets damaged. After all, this canvas is biodegradable despite being a sturdy, long-lasting material. We advise using an appropriate ice mallet to ensure this bag lasts as long as possible.”

Material: Canvas | Size: 7.25″ x 12″ | Machine Washable: No

Related: The Best LED Ice Buckets

6. Best Gift: Hermia Lewis Bag

Hermia Lewis Bag

Why We Think It’s Great

  • FIRM AND SAFE: Stitched from heavy-duty, non-toxic, and odor-free cotton canvas for strength and safety.
  • LOW MAINTENANCE: Machine washable and has a hoop for drying.
  • TWO LEWIS BAGS: Use the extra bag in case of damage or loss, or give it as a gift. 
  • PORTABLE: Feels very light, and it's easy to dry and fold, making it ideal for travel.

What We Don’t Like

  • It has a faint mildew smell at first. 

What Our Editors Say

“This Lewis bag held up quite nicely despite its many smashing sessions. It is a convenient way to acquire crushed ice without occupying any space in your home. We also like that it is affordable and designed simply.

Unlike flimsy Lewis bags that break apart after a couple of uses, this one is well-made due to the thick cotton canvas. And with its size, you can make about 3-5 servings of Margarita and other drinks in each batch.

Material: Canvas | Size: 8.66" x 13.38" | Machine Washable: Yes

Related: The Best Portable Ice Makers

7. Best Storage: NIUTRIP Ice Lewis Bags

NIUTRIP Ice Lewis Bags

Why We Think It’s Great

  • FREEZER-SAFE: It won't attach to the ice or the freezer shelf even after being refrigerated for a day.
  • REUSABLE: Can withstand being repeatedly hit with a mallet.
  • EASY TO CLEAN: After washing, it just needs to be hung and sundried to get rid of smells, if any. 

What We Don’t Like

  • It accommodates less ice. 

What Our Editors Say

“These Lewis bags stand up to the strength of a mallet with their well-thought-out construction. The canvas material is thick and clean, and we appreciate that it doesn’t have a strong smell when dried properly. 

It’s also great that the canvas bag doesn’t stick to a freezer’s surface, nor will the ice stick to the cloth because it can risk tearing the bag and wasting the ice.”

Material: Canvas | Size: 8.5” x 13.3” | Manufactured: China | Machine Washable: No

Related: The Best Bar Ice Picks

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8. Best Simple Design: Cocktail Kingdom Lewis Bag

Cocktail Kingdom Lewis Bag

Why We Think It’s Great

  • 100% COTTON CANVAS: Durable enough to withstand multiple uses to create different textures of ice and is free from artificial coloring. 
  • DRAWSTRING CLOSURE: Simply pull the string to securely close the bag and prevent ice wastage. 
  • QUICK TO CLEAN: It dries easily with no shrinkage, and no tiny fibers separate from the cloth and stick to the ice. 

What We Don’t Like

  • The thread sometimes frays. 

What Our Experts Say

Kelsey Waddell, Marketing Coordinator at Winning Homebrew, comments, “I recommend the Cocktail Kingdom Lewis ice bag because it’s made of sturdy, high-quality canvas with double-stitched seams and a sturdy drawstring closure.”

“It's also designed to hold a large amount of ice, perfect for bar use or for hosting large parties at a home bar. I also appreciate that it’s very affordable,” she adds.

Material: Canvas | Manufactured: USA | Machine Washable: Yes

Related: The Best Ice Buckets

9. Best Value: TMKEFFC Lewis Ice Bag

TMKEFFC Lewis Ice Bag

Why We Think It’s Great

  • GREAT STITCH WORK: The triple-reinforced seams ensure years of reliable service.
  • IDEAL FOR A GROUP: Its huge size allows 5 to 10 glasses of drinks or cocktails at once.
  • SET OF 2: One can be used as a replacement, or both bags can be used simultaneously for more crushed ice.
  • QUALITY WARRANTY: Any issues or concerns with the goods are addressed promptly.

What We Don’t Like

  • The bag may be punctured if it’s hit hard. 

What Buyers Say

“You may effortlessly smash ice in this Lewis bag without worrying about a rip. There's also plenty of room in the bag, so we crush enough for four to six drinks and then stick the leftovers in the freezer.

We appreciate that this sturdy canvas bag doesn't have a stringy, leaky interior like others and absorbs all the excess water. And thanks to this being a set, it's always comforting to know that we have an extra Lewis bag available.”

Material: Canvas | Size:  9.5” x 15.7” | Machine Washable: Yes

Related: The Best Cocktails In The World

10. Best Seal: BluePerlOne Silicone ZipLock Bags

BluePerlOne Silicone ZipLock Bags

Why We Think It’s Great

  • ½ GALLON CAPACITY: Spacious enough to contain as much ice cubes for at least 5 drinks. 
  • QUICK SEALING: Features a pinch-lock seal which performs fast and easily.
  • FREEZER SAFE: It doesn't stick to the surface after freezing, preventing rips.
  • REUSABLE: Sturdy and durable enough to be functional after numerous uses.

What We Don’t Like

  • It may be punctured when hit too much. 

What Our Editors Say

“One of the common ways to crush ice is to put it in a silicone bag because it seals tightly, preventing ice from flying away when hit. These ones are sturdy enough and are also BPA-free, ensuring that it’s safe for your ice. 

Thanks to its leakproof, pinch-lock seal, it can contain water, allowing you to make your own ice inside it. Once it’s frozen solid, you can immediately pound it to make crushed ice. We also like that it can be washed in the dishwasher on either the top or bottom rack.”  

Material: Silicone | Size: 8.9” x 10.4” | Manufactured: China | Dishwasher Safe: Yes

11. Best Look: BiC Lewis Bag

BiC Lewis Bag

Why We Think It’s Great

  • HANDSEWN: The seams are hand-stitched with great care to ensure the threads remain intact. 
  • ROUNDED EDGES: The ice bits don’t get stuck in the corners, allowing a full collection in each batch. 
  • QUICK CLEANING: This bag is simple to clean by hanging it to dry after a cold machine wash.

What We Don’t Like

  • It is pricey. 

What Our Editors Say

“Our favorite part about this Lewis bag is the rounded corners because they make it look more refined. Plus, the seams do not break easily, so we can comfortably crush away. The hoop at the bottom is also a great feature, and we like how it’s neatly folded in the shape of the bag.

It’s easy to recognize the awesome quality of this Lewis bag, from the canvas material to the construction.  It is also spacious that it could fit a whole tray of ice, and there would still be adequate space for appropriate crushing.”

Material: Canvas | Manufactured: USA | Machine Washable: Yes

12. Best Retro Design: Franmara Lewis Ice Bag

Franmara Lewis Ice Bag

Why We Think It’s Great

  • FLAP CLOSURE: Closes the Lewis bag well to prevent the ice chips from flying out.
  • PREMIUM MATERIAL: Crafted from heavy-grade natural canvas for prolonged service.   
  • RETRO VIBE: The retro design on the front adds a nice, stylish touch to your bar. 

What We Don’t Like

  • Loose strings inside need to be cut first before using the bag. 

What Buyers Say

“We don't have room for an ice crusher in our small home, but this Lewis bag has been a wonderful help. It works just like a mechanical crusher, plus it's quick and simple to store once you're done.

Depending on how long we pound it, we can achieve any consistency we desire. And after using the bag for a few weeks, it displays no signs of wear, which is great. Afterward, we flip it over and dry it over an empty beer bottle. It’s excellent for the novice or seasoned mixologist!”

Material: Canvas | Size: 7.5" x 11" | Manufactured: USA| Machine Washable: Yes

Related: World’s Best Mixologists and Bartenders

13. Best for Big Batches: Belinlen Plastic Drawstring Ice Bags

Belinlen Plastic Drawstring Ice Bags

Why We Think It’s Great

  • DRAWSTRING DESIGN: Can be sealed easily and quickly with swift movements.
  • FOOD GRADE: Made from PE plastic which is known to be food-safe and clean enough for your crushed ice!
  • 100 PACK: Comes with enough to make big batches of crushed ice, perfect for busy environments. 

What We Don’t Like

  • They don’t absorb water. 

What Our Editors Say

“The longevity and versatility of these bags astounded us, and putting them to good use couldn't have been simpler. We recommend pounding softly with a rubber or wooden mallet when crushing ice to avoid puncturing the bags.

They aren't too thin, but they are more likely to lose their structural integrity than a canvas bag. Nevertheless, these bags are excellent for storing huge amounts of ice for quick service in the bar. The drawstrings also perform admirably, eliminating the need for ties.”

Material: Plastic | Size: 14" x 28" | Manufactured: - | Machine Washable: No

Final Verdict

Lewis bags and other ice bags are one of the unsung heroes in the bar scene. Their design and usage are so simple, yet they contribute plenty to make better cocktails.

For this post, we declare Barfly Ice Bag as our top pick because of its reliable construction, capacity, and prestige. 

We hope our reviews have helped you in your search for the best ice bags for bar use. If you have any queries or want to share your experiences, please comment below.

Best Lewis Bags Buying Guide

A pile of crushed ice

At a glance, ice bags may look the same, but if the tiniest details matter to you, consider the following factors to help you in your purchase. 

  • Material

“Lewis bags are typically made of canvas or cotton, but some are made of synthetic materials. Canvas and cotton bags are more traditional and durable, but synthetic bags can be easier to clean,” says Kelsey Waddell.

Since Lewis bags get continuous blows from an ice mallet,  you need to make sure the bag is thick and sturdy, or else the ice mallet will make holes or tear the seams. Thicker Lewis bags are also more absorbent which is ideal as they’ll soak up all the melted ice, and there won’t be any wet mess in your area.

Also, steer clear of Lewis bags that shed pieces of thread, which can cling to your ice and further get incorporated into your drink unnoticed.

“The stitching on the bag is also important for durability and longevity, so make sure to choose one with strong stitching that can handle the pressure of crushing ice,” Waddell adds.

Silicone and plastic ice bags make a great alternative to canvas bags since they are reusable, and have the advantage of storing leftover ice. You may choose these options if you don’t want the risk of tearing bags.

  • Size

In terms of size, most Lewis bags are uniform too. There might be a difference, but they’re not far off. You’ll find some bags that have the capacity for 1 - 3 drinks only, while others can crush enough ice for a larger group - about 5 - 10 drinks each batch.

We recommend the former if you’re only going to make crushed ice occasionally or if you only need crushed ice for a few people. It might be a hassle to crush a few ice cubes in a big Lewis bag. In contrast, we suggest getting a larger Lewis bag if you always need crushed ice for a group.

In addition, if you need to make more than 10 drinks per batch, we recommend getting Lewis bags that come in sets of two or four. This way, someone else can help you crush ice at the same time, and you’ll save money. 

  • Closure

A Lewis bag can either have a flap or drawstring closure. The flap is great if you want a faster crushing process, as you’ll only need to fold the top cloth and start crushing.

Other people like the drawstring design as they’re more secure, but you may need to tie the strings to make sure they don’t abruptly open.

  • Ease of Cleaning 

While it's great that most Lewis bags can be cleaned in the washing machine, some people prefer to clean them by hand. This is because some Lewis bags will shrink after being cleaned in the machine, and they may develop a soapy aftertaste.

Other bags just need to be dried out in the sun, so they don’t develop an unpleasant smell. 

With this, a bag with a hoop is always a great option for convenient hanging.

Although, if you want to save time cleaning and drying, you can always choose plastic or silicone bags because these can be immediately used and don’t require drying. 

  • Price

Most Lewis bags range from $5 to $20, which is fairly reasonable. On the other hand, there are Lewis bags that might cost an additional $40 or more.

Usually, the price of a product can tell you a great deal about its quality. In this case, higher-priced Lewis bags tend to be bigger and thicker.

However, we are also confident that even the most reasonably priced ones on our list are both practical and durable.

Best Lewis Bags FAQ

Crushed ice in a Lewis bag beside a cocktail

1. Why is it called a Lewis bag?

    It's quite fascinating to us that no one can explain where the name "Lewis bag" came from! We only know that banks initially utilized Lewis bags to transport coins.

    But, clever bartenders in the 19th century repurposed them for use in the preparation of alcoholic beverages by reaping the benefits of the canvas' resilience and capacity to soak up excess moisture. 

    2. How do you crush ice in a Lewis bag?

      When putting the ice in the Lewis bag or any ice bag, do not overstuff it, and make sure that the cubes or blocks are evenly laid out. Otherwise, sharp edges of the ice may cause a tear in the fabric.

      Also, make sure the bag is sealed, with little to no air inside to prevent punctures, and that you're smashing on a stable surface. Depending on your desired texture, you can do as many hits on the bag.  Transfer the crushed ice into glasses and keep the leftovers in the freezer. 

      3. How do you wash a Lewis bag?

        Lewis bags can either be hand-washed or machine-washed. The latter requires machine washing in cold water on a gentle cycle and machine drying on a medium heat.

        If there are stains, you can remove them by soaking the bag in a solution of bleach and water. You can also dry the bag in the sun to remove smells. 

        4. Can you store ice in a Lewis bag?

          Yes, but the bag must always be in the freezer until it needs to be used to prevent the ice from melting. And make sure first that your Lewis bag isn’t the kind that sticks onto the floor of the freezer.

          Why Trust Advanced Mixology?

          We believe that our readers should have access to unbiased, well-informed reviews when deciding which products to buy, and we work hard to provide that type of content. Our editorial team is experienced and passionate about mixology and bar equipment. In addition, we often consult with industry professionals when gathering information, which gives us an insider's perspective on the products we're reviewing.

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