If you’ve ever been to Sonic or an old-fashioned diner, you know what nugget ice is: The small, semi soft, nubby-textured chunks of ice that absorb flavor and amplify your drink.
Nugget ice fans are diehard. They call this stuff "the good ice." One of our editors asserts, "it’s not really ice cubes. It's compressed ice flakes, like a beautiful snowball. A delicious, chewy snowball."
He's not wrong.
Earlier this year, FirstBuild released the Opal Nugget Ice Maker (MSRP $499) for at-home nugget icing. We tried it out, and our video on the product garnered more than 38 million views. So yeah, people are into nugget ice.
Why is it so popular? Mike Starmer of FirstBuild simply attributes it to peoples' love for the snow cone-esque ice chunks. "Consumers are passionate for consistently soft, chewable ice that enhances their overall drinking experience." He says that Opal gives them "'the good ice' that they normally have to purchase elsewhere, right in their homes at a reasonable price."
Yes, he says $500 for a single-purpose ice maker is reasonable. Don't scoff just yet: The Opal was funded by Indiegogo and raised three times the goal amount in a single day—a total of more than $2.7 million. This speaks to the insane popularity of nugget ice, and the lengths people will go to bring it home.
If you still don't get the appeal, head to Sonic for a cherry limeade. Once it's gone, eat the ice at the bottom. We'll talk then.