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First of all, let me say that ice is the natural enemy of Pepsi. The correct way to drink Pepsi is to chill it just this side of freezing and then drink it straight - without ice. As ice melts, it dilutes the refreshing taste of Pepsi, and so is to be avoided. The problem with this strategy is that Pepsi tastes best cold and many times people only have warm Pepsi to drink - making ice a necessary evil. The tips on this page will show you how to use ice with Pepsi most effectively.

Ice    Pour on Ice    Ice Preparation
Shape of Ice    Pour in Glass    Ice Types

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Ice - If you must!

If you must use ice to chill a warm Pepsi, then minimizing the melting of ice is the key to maintaining the great Pepsi taste.

The assumption that most folks make is that putting ice in a glass of Pepsi will cool down the entire drink. On closer analysis we know that only the Pepsi which is in the vicinity of the ice will be chilled. This means that if you have ice floating on top of the Pepsi, the ice is only chilling that portion of the Pepsi. To chill the entire glass of Pepsi, you need a full glass of ice.

This may sound simple, but it provides the basis for several aspects of drinking Pepsi with ice.

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Pouring Pepsi Into Ice

When pouring Pepsi into ice you should pour only until the ice floats. At this point you have maximized the chilling effect of the ice on the Pepsi. Adding any more Pepsi will simply create a layer of unchilled Pepsi at the bottom of the container.

You'll note that the instructions are to pour the Pepsi into a glass of ice - rather the the other way around (pour the Pepsi into an empty glass and then add ice). There are two reasons for preparing the Pepsi in this order. Since ice comes in all sizes and shapes, you can more accurately fill the glass with a correct mixture by putting the ice in first. If the Pepsi is put in first, it is harder to judge how much to pour and still be able to meet the "first float" rule from above.

Secondly, by placing the ice in the glass first, and introducing Pepsi slowly (see later instructions on this site), you reduce the amount of ice that will melt. A small amount of Pepsi poured on an ice cube creates less melted ice than does a small ice cube placed in a large reservoir of warm Pepsi.

Finally, loss of carbonization is minimized by keeping movement of the Pepsi to a minimum (no shaking). You accomplish this by simply pouring the Pepsi slowly down the side of the glass. If the Pepsi is poured first, then you create a second (unecessary) agitation of the Pepsi by depositing the ice into the Pepsi.

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Ice Preparation

All ice is not ice, at least not when we are talking ice cubes. All of us have seen the effect of pouring a warm Pepsi directly onto ice which has been taken right out of the freezer. The result is a sudden release of carbonation (lots of foam!). This happens because the surface of the ice is actually very rough (on a microscopic scale) and as the Pepsi tumbles over the surface of the ice more carbonation is lost than would occur on ice with a smooth surface.

To create the smooth surface, simply wash the ice with water. The melting action of the water will smooth the surface of the ice and so will dramatically reduce the loss of carbonation when pouring a Pepsi. Be sure to shake loose all excess water from the ice in order to avoid diluting the Pepsi any more than is necessary to prevent carbonation loss. Either cold or hot water can be used to pre-wet the ice as long as the wetted ice is shaken free of excess moisture.

Even with the "smoothed" ice, be sure to pour the Pepsi very slowly. Carbonation loss is minimized when the mechanical/kinetic enery applied to the Pepsi is kept to a minimum.

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Ice - What Shape?

Since the purpose of ice is to chill the Pepsi, you would expect that very fine ice (small chips) would be best. While it is true that fine ice maximizes the chilling effect, it has the unfortunate effect of melting rapidly - trading off carbonation for diluted flavor. Large cubes of ice present far too little surface area to the Pepsi liquid to be efficient in cooling the Pepsi.

A tradeoff is necessary to achieve optimum results. Analysis shows that ice cubes of roughly one centimer (about 1/4 inch) square will provide a good balance between chilling of the Pepsi and of diluting the Pepsi through melting of the ice.

When choosing to use ice, there are some operational issues which you should know. Since water is lighter than Pepsi, melted ice will result in a layer of water on the top of a Pepsi. Simply sipping a Pepsi will result in drinking what is essentially water, giving an apparent bad Pepsi taste - whereas the real Pepsi is waiting to be discovered at the bottom of the glass. If you view a Pepsi in a clear glass from the side you can easily see this layering effect.

Some Pepsi drinkers will use a straw to reach the non-diluted Pepsi content. This can be successful but means that as much at 15% of the drink will be thrown away once the Pepsi purist reaches the watered-down level of the drink.

Also, Pepsi found under a layer of ice in a glass has not been chilled as much as the Pepsi in the top of the glass. The tradeoff between maximum chilled or minimum diluted is more of a personal decision, but I prefer the minimum diluted.

I am working on a suitable technique for removing the water layer, but at this time no technology is know which is socially acceptable. For example, sponging off the water layer is too obvious to bystanders and you have nowhere to put the water sponge.

You could also draw the diluted upper layer into a straw and then discreetly drop it into the nearest plant, but there is no guarantee that a drop point will be avialable in most situations.

In the case where the layering has occurred, do not stir, shake, swirl, or otherwise agitate the Pepsi. Such action simply dilute the rest of the Pepsi. The correct solution is take drinks with enough frequency that the water layer effect does not occur.

It is especially critical that the Pepsi not be shaken until just prior to taking a sip. Continuous shaking of the the Pepsi accelerates the melting process, so the drink should be shaken only immediately prior to taking a drink. If the drink were thermally isolated from the room environment and the Pepsi were pre-chilled, this restriction would not be true since an ice/Pepsi mixture would stablize at the temperature of the ice. However, for all practical purposes a Pepsi drink continually gains heat from the room (especially from the hand of the person holding the drink), so shaking does have a negative effect.

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Pouring Pepsi Into a Glass of Ice

I've alluded to this problem before, and here is the solution. Pour the Pepsi down the side of the glass just until the ice lifts. At that point, the optimum degree of cooling and water dilution will have been reached.

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Ice Types

We've already spoken of the impact the size of ice has on the enjoyment that can be generated from a Pepsi. As we look in more detail, the type of ice also has an impact. Ice can be categorized as "soft" or "hard". Soft ice is really ice that has the ability to absorb moisture - primarily through the penetration of the moisture through the body of the ice, not unlike the way in which water penetrates a sponge. The lower the temperature used to create the ice, the softer it is perceived.

Hard ice, on the other hand is not penetrable and offers only the external surface for cooling of the Pepsi liquid. This makes the ice last longer but does not provide as cooling an effect on the Pepsi as soft ice.

Soft ice is preferred by Pepsi purists. Almost as a by-product, soft ice left behind after the Pepsi is gone provides a residual taste of the Pepsi. As the penetrated areas of the ice are melted, residual Pepsi droplets are released. In surveys, 87% of all dentists prefer soft ice over hard ice for those patients of theirs who chew ice.