Ice: From Mixed Drinks to Skating Rinks–a Cool History of a Hot Commodity

Ice is everywhere: in gas stations, in restaurants, in hospitals, in our homes. Americans think nothing of dropping a few ice cubes into tall glasses of tea to ward off the heat of a hot summer day. Most refrigerators owned by Americans feature automatic ice machines. Ice on-demand has so revolutionized modern life that it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t always this way—and to overlook what aspects of society might just melt away as the planet warms.

In Ice, journalist and historian Amy Brady shares the strange and storied two-hundred-year-old history of ice in America: from the introduction of mixed drinks “on the rocks,” to the nation’s first-ever indoor ice rink, to how delicacies like ice creams and iced tea revolutionized our palates, to the ubiquitous ice machine in every motel across the US. But Ice doesn’t end in the past. Brady also explores the surprising present-day uses of ice in sports, medicine, and sustainable energy—including cutting-edge cryotherapy breast-cancer treatments and new refrigerator technologies that may prove to be more energy efficient—underscoring how precious this commodity is, especially in an age of climate change.


“You can’t possibly imagine what’s inside this cover! In Amy Brady’s expert hands, ice is sexy, mysterious, funny, and endlessly fascinating.” —Mary Roach, author of Fuzz and Stiff

“Amy Brady has written a sweeping historical narrative on a uniquely cool topic in a style that is both thoroughly informative and buoyantly engaging.” —Timothy Winegard, author of The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator

“You’ll never view a freezer, a popsicle, or the Winter Olympics the same way after reading Brady’s delightful ode to an enigmatic, indispensable state of matter.” —Ben Goldfarb, author of Eager: The Surprising, Secret Lives of Beavers and Why They Matter

“Amy weaves a deliciously chilled and masterfully written tale of creativity and innovation that resulted in—among so many things—cocktails on the rocks, life-saving vaccines, and the entire sport of hockey. Talk about refreshing!” —Daniel Stone, author of The Food Explorer, The True Adventures of a Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats

Available June 6, 2023 from G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Invite Amy to your book club!

Are you reading one of Amy’s books? Get in touch HERE to schedule an appearance via Zoom (or possibly in-person) at your next book club. Complimentary reading guides are also available.