As I’m sure you all remember, about 3 months ago I told you all how to make beautiful clear ice for your cocktails.
Today, I’m going to show you an easier way. You know how much we all like things that are easy, right?
It started when a chap called Dan Skinner* posted an innocent comment at the end of the post mentioned above, saying that there were some guys in the USA making directional freezing equipment.
Some of you may have guessed this was coming if you’ve been following the Sunday evening #MasterofCocktails (or the blogs each Monday) and seen the clear sphere in The Boulevardier, but long story short, we acquired a sample, tested it, and it did *exactly* what it claimed to. Produced perfectly clear ice-spheres at the rate of one a day which are of exceptional quality. The piece of kit also looks fantastic. It’s all high-quality stainless steel and that. Pleasing.
Here are a few close-up that I’ve made recently so you can see the extraordinary quality the machine turns out:
For the sake of comparison – here’s one of them in a glass of water:
Here’s the pile of 30 or so I’ve made in the month and a bit I’ve had it – I generally empty and refill it each morning when I’m making a coffee:
Now it’s worth noting that I tried to make something pretty similar to this machine (basically an insulated cylinder with the top exposed) when I was first investigating making clear ice with the gubbins below (without the Sphere on top obviously), but to no avail. The calibration is just too hard to achieve – that’s why I didn’t include it in my initial post:
We’ve managed to negotiate a deal with the (top) guys from Wintersmiths, and we can now provide you with their fantastic product at the same price you’d pay to have one sent over to the UK**. Here it is:
Wintersmiths Ice Baller Kit – £74.95
Now – I’ll grant you – £75 isn’t cheap, but when you bear in mind that purchasing clear ice-spheres in the London Bar market costs about £2-3 a pop for something of this size (they’re 60mm in diameter), and that you can produce an indefinite supply at the rate of one per day, it starts to make a lot of sense. If you’re a keen home-bar enthusiast, one of these devices really will change your life. It’s that excellent. Here’s a video of the sphere-making process:
The main reason these ice-balls are so incredibly awesome is simple*** – it’s the (massively decreased) rate of melting that you achieve when using one of these. Just last night, I had myself a delicious Negroni whilst watching a bit of TV. Now normally, using ice cubes, a Negroni becomes excessively dilute within 10 minutes or so. With an ice ball, I was able to enjoy it for in excess of an hour and a half, with very little additional dilution. The last sip was pretty much on par with the first, and the diameter of the sphere that was left over, even after a full 90 minutes, was still about 30mm.
Incidentally – if you run a bar, but don’t have an ice-delivery service that can deliver balls to you – you can buy these from Maverick Drinks. Get in touch for a price list.
*Dan – by the way can you email us – I’ve got something(s) for you. All the rest of you – take note – if you help us out, you will be rewarded
**If you’re tempted to go and work it out (as I know I would be), don’t forget to add the VAT, which will be charged when it comes through customs
***It also has the side-benefit of looking absolutely beautiful