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The Ice Topic: Crushed, Cracked, Cubes, Balls, Alternatives

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Much fun, I'll be in Houston this weekend, might try to find the tray at the golf store. At the very least it might be nice to be able to make enormous ice cubes, shape aside.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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weinoo   

Don't know if this fits this topic or not, but does anyone make ice cubes using a muffin tin?

I made a dozen last night (1 tin), they're huge and look perfect for cracking into a shaker or mixing glass.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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mbanu   
Seems like a pointless and needlessly overcomplicated practice to me, the kind of fetishization of a piece of culture that seems somewhat peculiar to the Japanese zeitgeist (as does the so-called "hard shake").  What's next:  Hand-carved natural reed cocktail straws?  Olives pitted by hand and stuffed to order?

If one really wants spherical pieces of ice, I think it should be possible to develop some kind of flexible mold that could be filled and frozen.

It's an aesthetics thing. I see it as falling into the same category as people who like Old-Fashioneds made with cube sugar and a muddler even though simple syrup would be faster and more consistent.

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Really? I don't see it. If it's an aesthetics thing I would compare to useless flair bartending.

Besides, not everyone makes their simple syrup the same. 1:1, 2:1 or 3:1 sugar to water?

Rich


"The only time I ever said no to a drink was when I misunderstood the question."

Will Sinclair

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donbert   
JB Prince has some new spherical molds for sale. They're made from silicone to withstand heating and freezing chocolate and sugar but you could make awesome 2.5" or 4" sphere of ice. Too bad it's so exepnsive... :hmmm: $85 for a double 2.5" mold and $95 for a single 4" mold. :wacko:

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JB Prince has some new spherical molds for sale. They're made from silicone to withstand heating and freezing chocolate and sugar but you could make awesome 2.5" or 4" sphere of ice. Too bad it's so exepnsive... :hmmm:  $85 for a double 2.5" mold and $95 for a single 4" mold.  :wacko:

Hey Donbert,

I remember reading where you said you bought some ice cube trays in order to make larger, square ice cubes. Do you remember where you purchased the trays?

Thanks, Rich


"The only time I ever said no to a drink was when I misunderstood the question."

Will Sinclair

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eje   
JB Prince has some new spherical molds for sale. They're made from silicone to withstand heating and freezing chocolate and sugar but you could make awesome 2.5" or 4" sphere of ice. Too bad it's so exepnsive... :hmmm:  $85 for a double 2.5" mold and $95 for a single 4" mold.  :wacko:

Couple links for you...

Attack of the Ice Balls (notmartha blog)

Dunno if these products are available in the US.

Spherical Ice Tray (MOMA Store link)

Yer in NY, right?


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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donbert   
Hey Donbert,

I remember reading where you said you bought some ice cube trays in order to make larger, square ice cubes. Do you remember where you purchased the trays?

Thanks, Rich

Hey Rich,

Ikea used to carry ice cube trays perfect for cocktails but the last time I went looking for them they weren't there. They don't sell them online and nobody at the store in Elizabeth, NJ, could tell me if they'd be getting more.

Here's what they look like:

gallery_26869_3940_103920.jpg

And these are the blocks you get:

gallery_26869_3940_22025.jpg

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Hey Rich,

Ikea used to carry ice cube trays perfect for cocktails but the last time I went looking for them they weren't there. They don't sell them online and nobody at the store in Elizabeth, NJ, could tell me if they'd be getting more.

I'll have to swing by the one in Paramus.

Thanks!


"The only time I ever said no to a drink was when I misunderstood the question."

Will Sinclair

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JAZ   

I don't think these ice cube trays make cubes quite as large as Donbert's, but they are nice for cocktails. The cubes are 1-1/4 inches on a side (and they are perfect cubes, which is really nice looking in a drink).


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
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slkinsey   

Yea, I've got those ice cube trays (or something very similar). I got mine at Bed, Bath & Beyond. It's annoying that they aren't the same length as a regular ice cube tray. You either have to freeze less ice, or you have to double up and you end up with part of one tray sticking out of the ice compartment in the freezer.

For what it's worth, I'd say that donbert's ice cubes are around 3 times bigger than the ones we have, maybe more. They're really cool for an Old Fashioned or something like that. I love them a little less (sorry Don!) for shaking in a standard metal/metal Boston shaker.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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donbert   
For what it's worth, I'd say that donbert's ice cubes are around 3 times bigger than the ones we have, maybe more.  They're really cool for an Old Fashioned or something like that.  I love them a little less (sorry Don!) for shaking in a standard metal/metal Boston shaker.

Sam, I haven't had a chance to try shaking with your ice. How do they compare in size to Kold Draft cubes? Do you prefer them for surface area/dilution/aeration?

(I can understand that my ice might be a bit too big/heavy for your old man arms. :raz:)

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slkinsey   

You realize, of course, this means war.

My home ice is approxiomately the same as the Kold-Draft ice: Around 1.5 inches a cube. If I'm shaking, I think this hits a nice sweet spot where there is enough movement in the shaker and enough shaking time to churn and aerate the liquid, and the drink cools down nicely with right around 20% dilution.

When the cubes get much larger, I find that one ends up click-clacking one gigantic chunk of ice back and forth in the shaker. In terms of aeration, this is like using a spoon instead of a whisk. You can eventually whip air into cream using a spoon, but it takes a lot longer. I feel similarly about efficiency of cooling and dilution. The surface area to volume ratio is smaller with one big 3 inch cube of ice compared to eight 1.5 inch cube of ice. This means that transfer of thermal energy is less efficient. Sometimes we want it to be less efficient. Eight 1.5 inch cubes is vastly preferable to 216 half-inch cubes, which would tend to melt too fast. But at some size we reach a point of diminishing returns. In order to get the same cooling and dilution with that one 3 inch cube of ice that we get from 8 1.5 inch cubes of ice, we will have to shake a lot longer. Sometimes this may be good (e.g., a Ramos Fizz -- although there is still the issue of less efficient areation). But it's unclear to me that, say, a Blinker is improved by being shaken for 2 minutes with a huge piece of ice versus 30 seconds with somewhat smaller pieces. It also may be the case that the drink shaken with the one large piece will never be quite as cold as the drink shaken with eight smaller pieces. We should do some expermiments and check.

All this is to say that, when it comes to ice for shaking, we would like a size and a shape that allows us to properly areate, chill and dilute the drink. Once we hit a large enough size to do that (and the Kold-Draft size strikes me as just about right) it's not clear that we add much value by going larger. Operating on the same principles, but with different parameters, we discover that smaller than Kold-Draft ice is best for stirred drinks.

Now... as I said, that doesn't mean that huge ice doesn't still have advantages. I think it's #1 for drinks like an Old Fashioned.


Edited by slkinsey (log)

Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Unless of course he cracks the ice before shaking...


"The only time I ever said no to a drink was when I misunderstood the question."

Will Sinclair

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Hey Rich,

Ikea used to carry ice cube trays perfect for cocktails but the last time I went looking for them they weren't there. They don't sell them online and nobody at the store in Elizabeth, NJ, could tell me if they'd be getting more.

I'll have to swing by the one in Paramus.

There still available at Ikea (HUGE bin of them in blue and red at Paramus store) for $1.99 each.

Fortunately, the bride knows her way through "the maze".

Thanks for the info Don!

Rich


"The only time I ever said no to a drink was when I misunderstood the question."

Will Sinclair

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Tomek   

Hi All,

I was wondering if anyone has any home tips for getting ice cubes without those annoying white bits in the middle.

I've recently managed to get some of those IKEA molds here in Poland but I'm really dissapointed with those white areas in the cubes.

From what I've managed to read here and there it seems that the way to get lovely transparent cubes is in a machine where the water "runs through" the cube elements.

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated


"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. " - Marie Curie Sklodowska

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eje   

Is the white in ice cubes solely gas coming out of solution and being trapped inside the ice?

Or are there other causes?

I see some reference to precipitate flecks from minerals which fall out of solution, as well as bubbles.

The wikipedia sez:

Cloudy ice cubes result when water is frozen quickly. When water is cooled slowly (or very close to its freezing point), dissolved gases and microscopic bubbles have a chance to exit the water. However, when water is cooled quickly (further below its freezing point, a situation found in most home freezers), those small bubbles are simply frozen in place.

It seems like, chilling water first in the fridge, and then freezing might help reduce bubbles.


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I was wondering if anyone has any home tips for getting ice cubes without those annoying white bits in the middle.

The annoying white bits are the result of impurities in the water -- in the form of dissolved solids and gasses. As the ice freezes, from the outside in, all these impurities are pushed to the middle -- hence the white centers.

So, you can try to do one or both of two things:

1. Try to remove the impurities. This might help but will never be 100% effective.

2. Try to get the ice to form from the bottom to the top, forcing the impurities up, and then discard the water on the top (and the impurities with it) before it freezes. This is essentially what commercial ice makers do and should produce the desired result. However, it's going to require some kind of special equipment.

For number 1, simply used the purest water possible (i.e., with the least dissolved solids) and then boil it for 10 minutes or so (to remove dissolved gasses).

For number 2, buy a commercial ice maker. Or try to come up with some kind of MacGuyver solution. Perhaps an extrmely cold block of metal with the ice cube trays on top. Or maybe a heat source above the ice cube trays as they freeze. Either way, you will have to pour off the water on top before the cubes are completely frozen.

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I was wondering if anyone has any home tips for getting ice cubes without those annoying white bits in the middle.

Mind you, I know NOTHING about water quality and the effects of freezing water.

I do know that if I fill my trays with hot (not warm) water they freeze slower and I end up with a more transparent cube.


"The only time I ever said no to a drink was when I misunderstood the question."

Will Sinclair

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Tomek   

Thanks for all the tips I must say however that:

1. I tried the hot water version

2. I've used mineral water and boiled water

3. I've turned my freezer downs as far as possible

And the results still aren't satisfactory.

I haven't tried distilled water as yet but will do in the near future and I definitely can't afford an ice machine at the moment.

The bottom freezing idea seems interesting but my home fridge/freezer has the freezing element at the top.

I'll keep trying I guess until I finally get that all important clear cube at home


"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. " - Marie Curie Sklodowska

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johnder   

Supposedly Milk and Honey's Red Room in London, freezes ice, lets the ice melt and then freezes the melted water again. At least that is what they say on their menu.

If you're in the Red Room, you'll be served drinks containing jagged wedges of ice. We cut these by hand with an ice pick from a twice-frozen block of ice made from mineral water. Ice like this is denser, colder and clearer, and chills your drink perfectly without diluting it too much.

John


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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jmfangio   

Would freezing it slowly (though I have no idea how one would achieve this in a home freezer) make a difference in the clarity?

About a year ago, one of the dishes in my favorite cooking show, Cooking Showdown , was a shaved ice dessert, and the secret ingredient was...the ice!

But, not just any ice, mind you. As winter approaches, crystal clear water from an underground stream is diverted into a large, shallow pool, and allowed to freeze naturally in the open air. The surface of the pool is raked daily to clear away any debris that may have fallen into it, and when the pool is finally frozen solid, it's cut up into large squares about 3 feet around and about 1 foot thick. Placed next to a commercially produced block of ice, it's as clear as glass. Tasters on the show remarked that eating the shaved ice was like eating freshly fallen snow.


"Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other." - W. Somerset Maugham

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Tomek   

So I tried one of the suggestions that was put forward here. I bought myself some distilled water which is supposed to be VERY pure. The cubes came out a bit better but still not that transparent. I guess I'll just have to keep trying. :huh:


"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. " - Marie Curie Sklodowska

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