"I went into the kitchen with another bartender, Stephen Cole, who hunted up a scale and thermometer. He placed the two kinds of ice into separate cups filled with water. We let them sit for 10 minutes. The cheater-ice water proved to be colder (34 degrees compared with 40 degrees), but the ice had lost a full quarter of its weight, compared with just a 14 percent loss in the chunk ice. A cheater-ice cocktail is thus chillier (numbing the taste buds) and more watery (making it flat)."He describes a bar which stocks eight different types of ice - though the classification system is not quite what a physical chemist might use - or even Kurt Vonnegut. I suspect, however, a serious flaw in the experiment, and therefore in the conclusions drawn about the effect of ice type on a drink.
Take a mixture of ice and water that has been thermally isolated (put in a thermos!) and allow it to come to thermal equilibrium (let it sit until the temperature doesn't change any longer). When the contents of the thermos reach equilibrium, if there are both ice and water present, the temperature is 32 degrees (Fahrenheit). It does not matter how cold the ice was to start, how much water is present, how warm or cold the water was - it will be 32 degrees. Not 40. Not 34.
Also known to those who know how to read a phase diagram, ice at normal pressures will not start to melt until it reaches 32 degrees, and its temperature will not rise above 32 degrees until it has all melted. Curtis' experiment isn't quite as sophisticated as the thermos one I've sketched out, but assuming that the rate of heat loss to the room was small (air - or any gas - isn't a very good thermal conductor, so over the short term this is not a bad assumption), and that the ice and water used were pure, and that a very large amount of water was used relative to the ice - I find it untenable that the "cheater-ice" cocktail is different in temperature than the one made with less porous ice. More watery, yes, colder, no.
Photography by Sue Stafford. Used under Creative Commons license.