Elevate Your Drinks At Home With These Elegant Icy Orbs
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If youve enjoyed a cocktail at a fancy hotel bar or other upscale establishments, youve likely come across the perfectly round ice spheres bartenders frequently use for spirits and cocktails. There are several reasons for thisit keeps your drink cold without diluting it and affecting the flavor, and it looks very pretty while doing it.
There are many different kinds of ice molds available for you to use at home, with variations on features like how many cubes each makes, the shape of the cubes, and ease of use. We spoke to some ice experts to get their takes on some of the best options you can purchase, and sorted through different criteria for you to consider. We’ve gathered a list of the top spherical ice cube molds you can buy now.
The Best Ice Ball Mold Tray
TGJORâs ice cube tray can prepare up to six frozen spheres at once, equipping you with plenty of ice if youâre entertaining, or just enjoying a drink or two. The flexible silicone trays click together, and a mini funnel is included for filling each individual mold from the top. Two tabs on the upper tray make it easy to open the mold after freezing, and unused ice cubes stay sealed so theyâre not exposed to odors or flavors in your freezer. If you decide to purchase more than one tray from TGJOR, they can be stacked to take up minimal freezer space. Each mold produces a 2.5-inch sphere.
According to one reviewer: “These trays are so fun! I love the slow melting sphere shape! I use these spheres in my water bottle and in my whiskey! The slow melting shape keeps my whiskey from getting watered down too quickly. I appreciate how easy the silicone molds are to fill, release and clean.”
Temper The Ice Before Use
Whether you are making your own ice balls using round silicone molds or our Spirit Ice Vice, its very important to temper the ice before use. That means let the ice sit out on the counter for about 5 minutes or until the freezer frost disappears. Ice is too hard and too cold when it first comes out of the freezer. If you pour your favorite spirit on the silicone mold prepared ice ball or your block of ice for the Spirit Ice Vice, it will crack. By introducing something room temperature to the ice, you condition the outer part of the ice before you make it into an ice ball or put in your drink. You get a perfect ice ball every time.
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How Long Do Ice Balls Last
An ice ball’s longevity depends on the temperature of the room, glass, and liquids poured over the ice. Using a chilled glass and cold ingredients increases the ice ball’s effectiveness.
In general, you’ll get about two hours from a single large ball and be able to use it for two or three drinks. Outside on a warm summer day, that can be reduced to an hour. Yet, that’s significantly better than the 15 minutes you may get out of standard kitchen ice cubes.
Best 5 Ice Ball Sphere Makers & Machines In 2021 Reviews
Do you want your ice to be that perfect round, spheric shaped?
These are the products worth checking out!
In this article, we have brought you some of our all-time favorite ice sphere makers and reviewed them in full detail only for you. We hope some of these models you will like enough to try it yourself and see they are a perfect addition to your kitchen. Now lets get started!
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Cirrus Ice Ball Press Kit
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How To Fill An Ice Ball Mold
Filling an ice ball mold can take some getting used to and the most effective method depends on the type of mold:
- For a globe-shaped mold, fill the bottom half of the sphere with water, secure the top part, then finish filling it through the hole on top. With a very small funnel and a thin, steady stream of water, it is possible to fill an assembled mold.
- To fill a tray-style ice mold, separate the two pieces and fill the bottom mold to the top of the rim . Place the top piece over the bottom and push it down. The water displaced from the bottom tray will fill the top part of the sphere. Any excess water will come out of the air holes on the top of each mold.
No matter which mold you use, a few extra tips will help create great ice balls:
- Use distilled water for the clearest, cleanest ice.
- Set the mold on a level surface in the freezer. Tilted molds will leak and you will not have a full ball once it is frozen.
- Allow the mold to sit undisturbed until completely frozen.
- Once frozen, separate the two parts of the mold. If any of the ice balls stick, run cold water over the bottom of the mold to release the ice.
- If you use them regularly, keep a good stock of ice balls at the ready to ensure you don’t run out. Store frozen ice balls in a freezer bag or a sealed container until needed. If you keep up on the freezing cycle, you can easily have a dozen or more ice balls available at any time.
- When hosting a party, start days in advance in order to have enough ice balls ready.
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Whiskey Ice Is Easy To Make With Silicone Ice Molds
Most people associate ice spheres with bourbon, but the trend gained popularity with the Japanese whiskey boom, where ice spheres were often hand carved. The good news is that you don’t need to be a skilled ice artisan to enjoy sphere ice. Silicone ice molds have made sphere ice so accessible that I use it for all of my craft cocktails served in rocks glasses or other cocktail glasses that will accommodate ice larger than 2″ in diameter. If you’re looking to up your game, I highly recommend a clear ice sphere maker. Clear ice spheres offer the same benefits of standard ice spheres, but are crystal clear, look incredible, and are easy to make using clear ice systems.
Standard ice spheres and ice cubes compared to clear sphere ice
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Where To Buy Whiskey Balls
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Whats The Best Ice Ball For Scotch
For a cool £650.00 you can get the Macallan Ice Ball Maker, which basically melts a huge block of ice into a 65mm ice ball . I would prefer to buy a small mold and use the rest on actual Macallan .
For those of us with more brains than budget, I recommend the Tovolo Ice Molds. For less than ten dollars you get two silicon molds that make you 2.5 ice balls. The mold itself is 3.5 wide and 6 high and they stack.
Tovolo also makes HUGE ice cube trays, as in two inch wide cubes.
Bigger cubes dont necessarily melt any faster or slower but they look really amazing. Especially if you take the time to make perfectly clear ice cubes.
Another design I like is the Arctic Chill, though Ive never used it. Its a little pricier but it comes with a set of 4, also makes 2.5 ice spheres, and is BPA free silicon.
In the end, as long as the seal is good and they dont fall over when theyre freezing, you should be all set.
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Meet The Owners Of Spirits On Ice
Kent & Kim Coomer are the husband and wife team behind Spirits On Ice. The Coomers purchased D& E Machine Company in 1990 before turning it into Spirits On Ice, the manufacturer of the Spirit Ice Vice ice ball press. Kents background is in custom-machining items out of metal, while Kim has decades of management and relationship-building experience. Together, Kent and Kim engineer a high-quality machine that quickly and efficiently creates customizable ice balls for drinks. The ice ball delivers more than a clear way to chill a beverage. It provides an experience for your guests, whether at home, in a restaurant or bar, or at the 19th hole of the golf course.
So Are Ice Balls Gimmicks
Sort of? But they look cool, theyre a simple way to make large pieces of ice, and, if youre debating using a single small piece of ice vs a large piece of ice, Ill almost always tell you to go for the large one. Unless youre drinking whiskey, that is. Ironically, a lot of ice ball molds are targeted toward whiskey drinkers, but the thought of putting a giant piece of ice in a quality cup of whiskey pains me. That said, Im not going to yuck anyones yum. Drink what you want (shoutout to John deBary, and if you want to make some ice spheres just because they look cool, I fully support you. Chances are, Im doing the exact same thing.
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I use these individual ice ball molds from Tovolo, and they work wonderfully. Just fill each one up to the fill line, put the lid on, and freeze for about 4 hours. Once frozen, just run a little warm water over your mold, and the sphere of ice should pop right out. Go ahead and toss it right in a Negroni.
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Best Overall: Houdini Tray Ice Mold
Courtesy of Amazon
Only makes four cubes
Inexpensive and easy to find online for purchase, the Houdini tray ice molds make mid-sized balls of ice perfect for a rocks glass with a single spirit or for a cocktail to be savored.
Houdini is the best for me, says Tiffanie Barriere, The Drinking Coach. Easy to pop out, and the solid and thick silicone keeps your ice in the perfect shape while freezing. They are easy to wash and easy to stack.
These food-grade silicone ice molds are BPA-free and are also multipurpose. You can use these molds for all kinds of candy making or baking as well.
Plastic Ice Ball Molds
Plastic molds are far more economical and similar in price to a quality ice cube tray. The basic design is the same: a two-part mold that you fill with water. Single ice ball molds are available, though you’ll often find trays that make two to six balls at a time. Some molds let you remove individual ice balls as they freeze with others, you’ll need to empty the entire tray.
A higher volume of water requires more time to freeze, and that is the main disadvantage to these molds. Plan on twice the time needed for a regular ice cube tray in your freezer. In really cold freezers, this may take just five hours, though overnight is generally best. Place the mold in the coldest part of the freezer or a chest freezer to speed it up.
Pay close attention to the mold’s size when shopping online. There are numerous ice trays, molds, and presses that are merely a redesign of the standard cube tray. While mini ice balls are fun, two-inch balls are more effective for slow dilution.
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How To Keep Whiskey Ice Balls From Cracking
Whiskey ice balls elevate your signature cocktails made of whiskey, bourbon, and scotch. They create a quick chill and slow melt, allowing your customers to enjoy their drinks without water diluting the taste of the whiskey. However, there is a possibility that ice balls could crack if they arent prepared properly. Spirits On Ice, maker of the Spirit Ice Vice ice ball press, explains how to keep whiskey ice balls from cracking.
Ice Spheres Won’t Trap Your Whiskey
It is easy to “over ice” a drink when using standard cubes. I often find that whiskey gets trapped in all of the nooks and crannies created by a glass full of ice. In addition to faster dilution, standard ice cubes make it difficult to get a consistent sip with so much ice.
20 standard kitchen ice cubes vs. a 2.5″ ice sphere with 2 oz of whiskey
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Best Clear Ice Ball Maker
Chillz Extreme Ice Ball Maker
Simply The Best
The first best ice ball maker we have for you is the Chillz Extreme ice ball maker model. It consists of the sphere ice cube mold trays which can make four large 2.5-inch spheres of ice. Their ice balls are melting a lot slower than your standard ice cubes, which means you get to enjoy your cold drink for a longer amount of time.
These Chillz ice ball makers are made out of high-quality silicone and are non-toxic and BPA-free. They are also very flexible which makes them easy to fill, use, and clean. It also makes it easier for you to take the ice out of them without it breaking. The clear ice sphere maker is also dishwasher safe, which saves you time with cleaning.
With this Chillz clear ice maker, you will get the 30-day guarantee with proof of purchase. These big ice balls can be used with bourbon, scotch as well as for ice coffee, tea and even making the soup balls for your kids to play with.
- made out of high-quality silicone
- non-toxic and BPA-free
Best Budget: Glacio Large Sphere Ice Mold Tray
Courtesy of Amazon
Calcium build-up is possible
I have had personal experience with a brand called Glacio, and can attest to its functionality, says Deke Dunne, bar director at Allegory at the Eaton Hotel in D.C.
One tray makes four 2.5-inch spheres, enough for a round of drinks with a few friends, and the perfect sphere shape means slow melting and less dilution of your drink.
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Why Are Sphere Ice Cubes Better
The answer is less dilution. Whiskey is stored at room temperature , so when this warmer liquid comes in contact with ice , the ice begins to melt. There is no way around this, and if you’re looking to chill your whiskey, you need this reaction because the cold water generated from your ice melting is what is chilling your drink. The key is controlling this process to have a chilled glass of whiskey, not whiskey-flavored water. A spherical ice ball is perfect for this. A sphere has less surface area per volume than any other shape. With less surface area, there is less contact between your ice and your whiskey. Less contact means that you will still get the ice’s chilling effects, but your drink will be less diluted.
It takes approximately 20 standard kitchen ice cubes to equal the overall volume of a 2.5 ice sphere. Thats a lot of ice. These 20 ice cubes have three times more surface area than a 2.5 sphere ice ball, which will dilute your drink much faster.