Want to up your cocktail game? Start with the ice.
Published Dec. 6, 2019.
When shaking or stirring a cocktail, you can use any ice cubes you like, as long as they’re made from good-tasting water. But when it comes to serving that cocktail—or a favorite spirit or nonalcoholic beverage, for that matter—you might want to consider using ice that’s a little more special. Sure, your drink will still taste great even if you use ice from your freezer’s ice tray. But a perfectly shaped ice cube or sphere can elevate your drink and give it an especially elegant and polished look. We wanted to know which ice molds and trays produced ice that was worthy of our most carefully crafted cocktails, so we bought eight models, priced from about $7 to about $40, and used them to make ice. While these ice molds and trays come in many different shapes and sizes, we focused on those that produce cubes and spheres about 2 inches in diameter (the most commonly available size). Four models made cubes, four models made spheres, and one model in each category claimed to make “clear” ice—ice that is drained of the impurities that cause normal ice to appear somewhat cloudy.
Not surprisingly, every mold was capable of making ice. But due to differences in construction, certain models were easier to use—and produced nicer-looking ice—than others.
First, we tried filling the ice molds. All we had to do with the ice cube trays was add water to each of the large square compartments, but the sphere molds were generally a touch trickier or messier to fill. All the sphere molds are divided into two halves: a bottom hemisphere and a top hemisphere, often surrounded by other material. Two models require you to put the two halves together and then carefully fill the whole mold through either a tube or a small hole in the top—a fussy process. The other two sphere molds require you to add water to the bottom half of the mold and then push the top half into place, displacing some of the water and forcing it up into the top hemisphere. One of these molds has a fill line that tells you just how much water to put in. The other doesn’t, and we repeatedly found ourselves pouring in too much water. When we pressed down the top half of the mold, that excess water ran out through escape holes and spilled all over the floor.
Additional problems arose when we tried to transport the filled molds to the freezer. With all but one model, the portions of the mold that come into contact with the water are made of flexible silicone or rubber—bendable materials that make it relatively easy to pop out the ice once it’s frozen. Molds made solely of that flexible silicone or rub...
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Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.