Have you ever watched a spirit commercial and wondered how long it must have taken them to Photoshop in those crystal-clear ice cubes? Well, here’s the thing, they’re not Photoshopped, they’re real and you can easily make them at home.
Read this blog to find out how you can leave murky ice cubes in the past and make glass-like clear ice cubes every time!
Why is the ice in my drink always cloudy?
From time to time, you might have noticed that the ice in your drink looks cloudy, even turning a pale white colour. Don’t worry, it’s not dangerous. It’s just a bit unpleasant, right?
They look like that because the water used to make the cubes has been frozen from the outside in. This means the impurities like dissolved minerals and gases have been pushed to centre of the ice cube during crystallisation.
Not only can they look pretty unappealing at times, but they’re actually much lower quality than a clear ice cube because they melt much faster. This is the key reason why clear ice trumps cloudy ice, and why your whisky on the rocks becomes a watery mess quite quickly. So, let’s find out how clear ice allows you to savour those extra precious sips of your favourite spirit.
Want to get hands-on with ice? Check out our International Bartender Course.
What’s the science behind clear ice?
You may have read that clear ice cubes are made by boiling the water first, or using distilled water, or using distilled water and boiling it twice. But this is not the key, it’s actually the slow freezing speed which allows clear ice to form.
If you’re from a cold country or have ever visited one during the winter, you’ll probably have noticed the almost see-through quality of icicles hanging on drainpipes and trees. The reason why icicles are so clear is due to the slow speed at which they form. One layer forms on top of the other very slowly, this prevents air and other impurities from being trapped inside.
Nowadays, there are machines that simulate this process to a decent standard. If you don’t want to fork out hundreds of pounds on a clear ice maker, then we have just the trick for you to make it at home using things you can find around the house.
How do I make clear ice cubes at home?
To make clear ice at home, you will need to decrease the freezing speed of your ice. To slow down the speed of freezing you can simply use a small insulated cooler which you place inside your freezer. Anything inside that cooler will freeze much slower, giving air bubbles a chance to escape before they get caught inside the ice.
Follow these instructions to achieve crystal clear ice cubes every time:
- Get an insulated cooler that you can fit inside your freezer
- Grab some plastic ice cube trays or moulds and arrange them into rows
- Fill the entire cooler with water. Put the cooler in to the freezer with the lid open or removed.
- Wait until the block is frozen all the way through. Remove the cooler and the ice block.
- Set the block in a clean plastic bucket, and leave it out for an hour or so to let it temper.
- Using a serrated knife, carefully score the block in between the moulds. Use a mallet on the back of the knife to carefully split the ice. If it starts cracking, let it temper a little longer.
- The ice that comes out should be almost perfectly clear. If there is any clouding at the top, cut it off using your serrated knife.
Why not impress your friends or that special somebody by making clear ice and serving up some extra special drinks during dinner? If you want to learn even more about ice, how to craft amazing cocktails, and much more,
Want to learn more about the craft? Get your bartending career started now with The European Bartender School.