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Luxury Ice Company


weinoo
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Okay, I like good ice as much as the next guy. Crave it, even. And there have been ice companies for a long, long time.

Imagine my surprise when a friend sent me a link to the Gläce Luxury Ice Co. website this morning, and now I think it HAS gone too far. I mean, $50 for 2 "pouches" of ice. The ice is, as the website so proudly points out:

Purified of minerals, additives and other pollutants that may contaminate the taste of premium liquors and drinks, the Gläce Luxury Ice Mariko sphere is meticulously crafted to deliver and embody the finest accessory for top shelf drinks.

But it's $5 a sphere. Thanks, I'll stick to my NYC Brita filtered water, and I'll be making my own.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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One of the places I had drinks during my blog week had ice spheres similar to this, but they froze bitters in theirs and made them in house. They do look cool in drinks, but for $5.00 a piece, they better come with someone to make me breakfast the next morning! :laugh:

If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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Somewhere on this board was a discussion of freezing ice, melting it, and refreezing it, to get a 'better' ice for drinks. Seems to me this ice fits right in that niche.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Why is that anymore ridiculous than a $500,000 watch?

Really? A $500k watch should be a magnificent work of art and engineering that will last a lifetime. This is . . . $5 ice spheres. It's like a $500k Swatch.

--

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Why is that anymore ridiculous than a $500,000 watch?

Really? A $500k watch should be a magnificent work of art and engineering that will last a lifetime. This is . . . $5 ice spheres. It's like a $500k Swatch.

Not that I own any (or ever will), but $500k watches typically hold most/all of that value and can be re-sold. These stupid $5 ice cubes turn into....pee.

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Why is that anymore ridiculous than a $500,000 watch?

Really? A $500k watch should be a magnificent work of art and engineering that will last a lifetime. This is . . . $5 ice spheres. It's like a $500k Swatch.

A swatch keeps better time. :rolleyes:

dcarch

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Why is that anymore ridiculous than a $500,000 watch?

Really? A $500k watch should be a magnificent work of art and engineering that will last a lifetime. This is . . . $5 ice spheres. It's like a $500k Swatch.

It's a question of scale of ridiculousness, I guess.

Someone who makes $50k would likely say a $5k watch "should be a magnificent work of art and engineering that will last a lifetime" and that a $500k watch is obscene. However, there are always those '1%ers' that push the envelope on 'ultra-premium' items, which are a different scale of ridiculous entirely. Having relatives that work in private aviation, my sense of what constitutes costs 'beyond the pale' is pretty perverted. In that world, I've decided the best way to determine how much something will cost is to take the most that anyone sane would ever conceive of spending and then multiply by at least 5.

All marketing BS aside, this product makes "sense" for a certain type of person. Let's say you make $50/hour...if you spend more than 6 minutes trying to make an ice sphere, you're technically undervaluing your time and should spring for a $5 sphere (assuming you could have been earning instead of making ice, and that you don't place some other sort of intrinsic value on the ice-making process). However, since you can make a tray of ice spheres in a couple minutes using filtered water and fancy mold you spent a couple hours researching and importing from Japan, or you've found that you like the art of ice carving and spend long hours carving ice spheres for fun, you think spending $5 is ridiculous and you don't give it a second thought. However, to a Partner at a Law Firm making $500/hr or CEO making $5,000/hr, spending a couple minutes thinking about the best way to make ice spheres is a losing proposition, which is why things like this exist. There are a lot of people out there with more money than time (or sense).

Edited by KD1191 (log)

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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These are good points. I just wonder (a) whether there is really a significant enough number of people who want ice spheres and aren't able to figure out a simple ice mold to make a market for this product; and (b) whether these people wouldn't just have someone else figure out the ice mold (or whatever).

I mean, if I was a zillionaire I might have super premium ice delivered to my home. But it would be blocks of clear sculpture-quality ice cut into cubes (or whatever). Because if you're someone who doesn't care about spending five bucks on an ice sphere, you probably don't mind spending ten bucks on a hand-carved one. Or, yanno, you make your butler learn how to carve ice spheres.

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If I had to guess, I'd say their real market isn't zillonaires, but rather the "conspicuous consumption" crowd.

For those who want to project an air of having a lot of money, there's no point in learning to make it themselves. Hiring someone to do it for them is not likely within their means, but dropping $50 for a bag of ice that's conveniently placed front and center at a party (next to a Johnnie Walker Blue bottle that's been filled up with Black) sounds like a great investment, especially when everyone else knows it's a $50 bag of ice.

Edited by KD1191 (log)

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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If I had to guess, I'd say their real market isn't zillonaires, but rather the "conspicuous consumption" crowd.

For those who want to project an air of having a lot of money, there's no point in learning to make it themselves. Hiring someone to do it for them is not likely within their means, but dropping $50 for a bag of ice that's conveniently placed front and center at a party (next to a Johnnie Walker Blue bottle that's been filled up with Black) sounds like a great investment, especially when everyone else knows it's a $50 bag of ice.

I would say you've definitely pinpointed the primary potential market...

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Let's get some thermodynamics out of the way just to clear up some pseudoscience bullshit. The oft-repeated wisdom that big cubes dilute less is thermodynamically unsound. You need to remove N joules of energy from a drink to reduce it K degrees. Those N joules come out of the ice in two different ways, specific heat (warming) and latent heat (melting). Two blocks of ice at the same temperature will have the exact same latent and specific heat capacity, regardless of geometry. However, smaller ice cubes will give up all of their specific heat before giving up latent heat whereas bigger ice cubes will have a core that does not get warmed and so will actually melt more into your drink. Another way of thinking about it is that the center of a giant ice cube in your drink is likely to be >0C, insulated by the outer layers which means it isn't cooling optimally and melting more than it needs to.

There are a couple of other effects that are worthy of consideration as well which can complicate the picture unless properly handled: 1. smaller ice has greater surface contact with the glass, warming the glass faster than big ice. 2. Any ice protruding out of the drink is going to be warmed by the ambient air as well as the drink, potentially leading to faster warming, especially if there's vigorous swirling that can lead to evaporative cooling. 3. Smaller ice is more delicate to handle as it gets warmer faster so if it sits around, it more quickly rises to 0C. 4. Big ice cools less efficiently which means it's going to take longer to reach equilibrium. If you're drinking a drink before it's reached equilibrium, it's going to be warmer and less dilute with big ice.

Furthermore, if the bartender lady wanted a gin & ice with less dilution, rather than buying $5 ice-cubes, she could just start with colder gin!

Ultimately though, the entire standard way of making cocktails makes very little logical sense. Ice serves as both a chilling and diluting agent in cocktails and precisely controlling one means you lose control of the other. In the same way that Sous Vide separated time from temperature in savory cooking, I'm hoping that ultimately, cocktails will treat water as another ingredient and start from pre-chilled ingredients from which a measured amount of chilled water is added to bring it to the correct dilution.

Also, for a $5 block of ice, I'm disappointed that there are visible bubbles in it.

PS: I am a guy.

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