How To Make Clear Ice

Perhaps you’ve overheard the bar’s mixologists giddy with excitement over ice. Or perhaps you’ve seen that some bars disclose the ice kind used in their cocktails. Ice, and especially clear ice, is a crucial component of every premium homemade drink.

We asked Becky Hammond, Director of Beverage at STIR, a trendy cocktail bar in Raleigh, North Carolina, to break down the importance of crystal clear ice and share her best advice for generating crystal clear ice cubes at home.

Every two to three days, a patented machine at STIR generates two 300-pound blocks of ice, which a “ice chef” subsequently carves into seven distinct ice varieties.

How To Make Clear Ice

The Importance of Crystal-Clear Ice in Mixed Drinks.

Hammond notes that the rate at which various types of ice melt varies. This means that the other ingredients in a cocktail can be appreciated to their maximum by adjusting the rate of dilution and the consistency of the beverage based on the type of ice used.

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Now is the time to use clean ice. It certainly grabs your attention. Because of the effort required to make it, it certainly does. Denser than foggy ice, it melts more slowly. This is because it contains fewer air bubbles.

STIR’s bartenders are trained to know exactly which ice cube will provide the ideal level of diluting effects for every given drink or liquor. Be mindful. Old-fashioneds, which are meant to be sipped leisurely, benefit greatly from being chilled with large, clear rocks rather than ice cubes.

Quick-drinkers like palomas benefit from the clarity of smaller, clearer rocks. Clear ice in the shape of spheres is ideal for serving whisky at the same temperature throughout the glass.

Does Clear Ice Form in Your Home Freezer?

Clear ice can be attained by a variety of methods. Most of these procedures require beginning with high-quality water. We tried every possible approach to zero down on the most reliable ones for you.

Using standard ice cube trays, we froze water at four different temperatures over the period of 24 hours: tap water, hot boiling distilled water, warm boiled distilled water, and room temperature distilled water.

Making ice with hot boiled distilled water gave us the cleanest results, but the cubes still weren’t perfectly transparent.

It didn’t seem worthwhile to go to all that trouble for partially cloudy ice cubes. We shifted our strategy, and voila! We won. Using a directed freezing ice cube tray, we were able to produce perfectly transparent ice cubes.

What does Directional Freezing Mean?

Water can be manipulated to freeze in a certain direction using a technique called “directional freezing.” Hammond says that when water freezes in a standard ice cube tray, the contaminants are dispersed throughout the ice.

When water freezes in one direction, all of the air and other contaminants are expelled in the opposite direction, leaving behind nearly pure ice. Making ice in a cooler within a freezer and then breaking up the block with a serrated knife or ice pick is an example of directed freezing, which is used by many bartenders and home enthusiasts.

While effective, this technique requires a lot of time and room in your freezer. We recommend purchasing a cheap clear ice cube container designed specifically for this purpose and then following the instructions below.

Using a Clear Ice Mould to Create Crystal-Clear Ice

Most clear ice cube trays and moulds are sold separately.

Step 1: Please Fill the Lower Tray

Put a few inches of water in the base tray.

Step 2: To make ice cubes, fill the moulds.

Place the ice cube moulds on top of the lower tray, fill with water (ordinary tap water is great!), and cover. Put the form in the fridge or freezer.

Step 3: Take Out Before the Whole Thing Freezes

Before the bottom tray completely freezes, remove the ice cube mould. Optimal sleep time ranges from 16 to 18 hours. And here’s why. Like a lake, the unit will ice over from the top down.

Clear ice is the result of air and other contaminants being driven out of the ice cubes and into the lower chamber. In order to avoid hazy ice cubes, avoid letting the entire bottom chamber freeze solid.

Step 4: Clear Ice, Please.

Keep it in the freezer in an airtight container.

What to Do If You Don’t Have a Clear Ice Cube Mould or Cooler

Step 1: Pick Your Hydration!

Hammond suggests using distilled or ultra-filtered (at least carbon and sediment filtration) water for crystal-clear ice-making at home.

Step 2: Water Must Be Boiled

Start a pot of water boiling.

Can You Get Clear Ice Cubes From Boiling Water?

According to Hammond, boiling water is necessary for deaeration: “Boiling will remove dissolved oxygen and other gases, as the solubility of gases in a liquid decreases as temperature increases.” Even though ice cubes made from boiled water will be clearer than those made from tap water, using a standard ice cube tray will cause the water to freeze in a way that disperses any contaminants across the ice.

Step 3: Hot Water Freezing

Put your clear ice cube trays or moulds in a sink full of boiling water. Use silicone or other naturally insulating materials for the moulds and trays. Transport the ice cube tray or mould to the freezer, placing it flat on the rack or shelf.

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Step 4: Ice Cubes: Better If Frozen Slowly

Put your ice cubes in the freezer for at least a day. According to Hammond, the ice must freeze slowly enough so that contaminants can be removed by pressure. She compares it to the way lake water freezes gently, making the surface look like glass after the lake is completely frozen over.

Step 5: Keep the ice cubes in a sealed plastic bag.

Transfer the ice cubes from the tray to a freezer-safe, airtight container to avoid them from absorbing freezer smells or forming ice crystals.