Crystal clear ice balls are an excellent way of providing a beautiful visual and a sharp presentation to your glass of cola or your favorite cocktail. Aside from chilling your beverage within seconds, ice balls melt much more slowly than a traditional ice cube and keep you drink colder for longer without turning it into a watery mess.
But how do you prepare the perfect ice balls at home? ToolsPicks looks at some pro tips to get you started!
Why Clear Ice Balls?
Ok, so you might be ticking off all the pros and cons of making clear ice. Is it worth the time and effort? We mean, ice is ice, right? And does every frozen water tastes the same?
No, not really.
When making an ice cube the traditional way, using tap water and an ice tray, the likelihood of getting a cloudy, milky-centered orb increases, and you certainly don’t want that kind of ice to spoil your fancy drink when you can have perfectly clear ice.
Pro Tips To Make Crystal Clear Ice Balls
So, to upgrade your drinking game and impress your friends with your bartending skills, here are four pro tips to make crystal clear ice balls.
Use Distilled Water
It is a no-brainer that the type of water is the key factor in getting clear ice balls. Even though tap water is easily accessible, it’s not the best water to use. You don’t want its impurities and foul taste to contaminate your beverage. Filtered water is a better option, but it’s not the best way to go.
If you want to cut down on impurities and improve the flavor, we recommend distilled water. It contains zero pollutants and is almost tasteless. In other words, it’s the best way to get those crystal orbs of perfection.
Distilled water is prepared by collecting the vapors of boiling water and condensing them to get pure water droplets.
But boiling a pot of water, collecting its steam, and then filtering that steam into a bottle until you have enough for a full 7-ounce glass seems tedious, doesn’t it? Save yourself time by buying a bottle of distilled water from your nearest shop to avoid cloudy ice.
Invest in an Ice Sphere Mold
Many people make ice balls with balloons, but let us tell you, the result is nowhere near as excellent as balls made using an ice ball maker.
If you are looking for flawlessly round ice balls without dealing with the nuisance of filling and peeling off the balloons, it is beneficial to get your hands on a good ice ball mold. For starters, we suggest using W&P Peak Silicone Sphere Ice Mold or Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds. This sphere mold is economical, easy to use, and you can use it again and again.
To make a sphere using an ice tray, fill the mold using the top hold and close both sides, adding some excess water to ensure that the ball gets a perfectly round shape when removed from the mold.
So, to make you ice transparent, you should use directional freezing, which we explain below!
Directional freezing is pretty straightforward, and it’s one of the most essential steps in preparing crystal clear ice cubes. In this method, the water freezes from a single direction, just like how river water freezes from the surface down because all other sides are covered. The impurities settle at the bottom, leaving crystal clear pure ice.
But since most molds freeze from all directions, the impurities remain suspended, which is why most ice balls (and even regular ice cubes) are cloudy.
You can use the phenomena of directional freezing in your home either by using an insulated ice ball mold with insulation on the sides and bottom (but not the top) or freezing your ice mold in an insulated cooler. Each route facilitates freezing from the top surface, reducing the suspended impurities and producing translucent ice.
Allow the Ice to Freeze Slowly
If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, you may have noticed those perfectly clear icicles hanging off your rooftop. You might be surprised to know that the secret behind their clear appearance lies in the extended time they take to freeze. You can use the same idea to get a crystal clear ice ball for your drink.
To do it, place your cooler in the freezer, without a cover, for approximately 24 to 48 hours. Slow and thorough cooling will settle the contaminants and allow the free air bubbles to escape from the ice (which is the main reason behind their cloudy appearance). In short, just increase the freezer’s temperature and let the water do its thing.
Your homemade milky-centered spheres just do not cut it when you are used to bright, clear ice floating in your cocktails. Whether it’s impurities-laden water or just residual air bubbles, infusing your drinks with such ice is a no-no.
Fortunately, you can prevent this by making clear ice balls in your home without compromising their quality and your health. We hope that this article helps you get perfect spherical ice to take your cocktail mixing game up a notch.