13 Best Lewis Bags and Ice Bags For Crushed Ice Cocktails in 2023: Reviews & Buying Guide
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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!
Best Overall: Barfly Ice Bag
“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
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“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
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“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
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“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
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“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
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“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
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“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
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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
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“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
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“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
“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
“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
“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
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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