Playing With Blocks

Melt New Orleans elevates ice to art

“Cocktails are moving back to the kind of quality and complexity last seen before Prohibition, and this was the kind of ice they were using,” says Chuck Avery, who launched Melt New Orleans in 2016. Using reverse osmosis filtered water, Avery makes clear, pure, 300-pound blocks of ice with no bubbles in sight.

Operating out of a warehouse in Kenner, Avery creates solid ice punch bowls, presentation slabs, crushed ice, big chip blocks and any other request using special Japanese tools and a dedicated butcher saw set on a traveling wooden bench he also crafted himself. Clients include Tales of the Cocktail and top restaurants, bars and hotels like Shaya, Domenica and the Ace Hotel, as well as weddings looking for a unique addition.

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