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How To Make Clear Ice

clear-ice-makerClear ice balls are important in cocktail making for 3 main reasons:

  1. It looks really cool.
  2. Clear ice is clear because it doesn’t contain the millions of microscopic air bubbles that make normal ice cloudy. Those microscopic air bubbles have the effect of massively increasing the surface area of the ice, which increases the rate at which it melts, which increases the dilution of you cocktail.
  3. Spheres are the shape which, for any given volume of material, have the lowest surface area to volume ratio (see above).

The long and short of which is that they look amazing floating around in your cocktail, and the keep it cooler for longer with less dilution.

So, we’ve established that we all need clear ice in our lives. Good. So, how does one go about making clear ice?..

There are options, depending on your budget and desire for DIY.

Buying clear ice

For the ultra-lazy amongst us, you can simply buy it. The problem here is that you’ll need to buy quite a lot of it, it costs a fair bit, and you can probably only get it if you live in London or another major centre of cocktail culture.

Using an ice-maker

These come in all shapes and sizes, and we heartily recommend the Wintersmith’s ice makers. If you’re serious about your home cocktail making, then these will pay dividends over the long term.

As a bonus, it’s dead easy to make your ice even more impressive by freezing a decorative (edible) flower in the middle of your ice ball, or a twist of lemon, or anything else that will boost the already impressive aesthetics of your serve.

Don’t be fooled by cheaper ice ball moulds available on sites like Amazon. These will get the shape about right, but sadly they won’t use directional freezing in the same way as the Wintersmith’s baller, so the ice will be cloudy with the above-mentioned micro bubbles, which means you won’t get the same melt-rate as with clear ice. Also, they don’t look as good.

Making clear ice yourself

If you’re brave, curious, or struggle to justify the expense of the above two options, then you can make clear ice yourself. You can check out this blog post all about making clear ice at home if you’re up for the challenge.