How to Make Crystal Clear Ice Cubes

Credit: Barta IV

Credit: Barta IV

I never put ice cubes in my single malt scotch, at most a few drops of water, but when it comes to cocktails I recognize that a bit of chill often improves the enjoyment of said cocktail.

When it comes to ice cubes, or ice balls, there is something a bit strange when the ice is all cloudy. I know it’s mostly air bubbles, my logical brain says that, but my emotional brain says… it just doesn’t look right. I don’t seem to care much when it’s ice in water, but a clear ice cube is just beautiful when in a cocktail.

So how do you get clear ice cubes?

Simple, it’s really a two step process.

First, you want to use filtered water. Filtered will remove some of the minerals and dust that is in the water when it freezes. Those contribute to the cloudiness. (one added benefit of filtering the water is that those minerals don’t get in your beverage)

The next step is to freeze the ice slowly. By freezing it slowly, the air is able to escape. Some places will tell you that you should boil the water a bazillion times, that each boil and cool cycle will release more of the air. That might release some of the air but it doesn’t result in crystal clear glass.

The reality is that to get clear glass, you just need to freeze it slowly. This isn’t me talking, this is advice from Sother Teague, a former R&D chef for Alton Brown on Good Eats.

How do you freeze it slowly?

  • Get your molds and fill them with water.
  • Now put them in an insulated cooler and seal the cooler.
  • Put that cooler into another cooler full of water.
  • Put this outer cooler, without a lid, into the freezer.
  • Wait forever.
  • Once the entire block freezes, take it out and let it sit at room temperature for a minute to give it time to separate from the outer cooler. Then cut out the molds and retrieve your perfectly clear ice cubes.

If you’re keeping track at home, the outer cooler’s water freezes, which then freezes the molds inside a cooler full of air. It really is a long long time. If you can handle almost crystal clear cubes, using clean filtered water that you boiled is the next best alternative.

I’m not really sure if it’s worth it to get crystal clear ice cubes… and whisky stones might be better anyway. 🙂

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