Most of the time, I don’t. I enjoy my scotch neat but I understand when people want to put some ice in their whisky.
Sometimes, I’ll put some water or ice in bourbon or higher alcohol content whiskies because I find that higher alcohol content makes it harder for my palate to enjoy the subtler flavors. With a little water, it really opens up.
When it comes to cocktails, you need ice. And when you want the temperature to drop but you don’t want to add too much water, the most effective way is to use an ice ball.
Why are ice balls better?
It’s all about surface area. A sphere has less surface area than a cube and so by using a sphere, the ice melts slower. Slower melting ice means slower cooling but it also means less water is introduce as you enjoy your beverage.
What’s 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 (a hair over 2.5″). I would prefer to buy a small mold and use the rest on actual Macallan (or Balvenie or anything except an ice ball maker).
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 don’t 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 I’ve never used it. It’s 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 (check reviews) and they don’t fall over when they’re freezing, you should be all set.
I have the Tovolo cube makers.
The cubes are 2.25 inch square, i.e. the diameter is 3.18 inches (81mm).
So I need a wide mouthed round base tumbler or a large quality square based one.
Any recommendations that these ice cubes will actually fit?
Yeah, those are insanely large ice cubes, I’m not sure you can do much other than an old fashioned glass.
I love the McCallan ice ball maker but will never spring for one, its way cool and fun at parties, you can rent one for $50/day. Thanks for your tips they are very helpful. I always use distilled water for my scotch cubes, our tap water has a bit of a flavor. Going to be in Speyside in a few weeks and will do the McCallan tour. Do you have any others to recommend?
$50 a day for the novelty of it might be worth it! 🙂
Macallan is a fun tour, do the Most Precious if they still offer it. I heard Aberlour is a good tour but I never went on it. I peeked in the Speyside Cooperage, I got there after they closed, and it’s a nice change of pace. My favorite tour was Macallan though I went to Glenlivet and Cardhu.