How To Make Clear Ice at Home

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Krishia Published: May 20, 2022
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Have you ever hosted a cocktail party and found yourself needing more clear ice for your guests? Clear ice is essential for certain drinks like whiskey or scotch cocktails. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but they serve a more practical reason too. Hence, it’s important to know just how to make clear ice.

Clear ice comes in different shapes and sizes — blocks, balls, cubes, and even crushed. But aside from making your drinks look pretty and keeping them icy-cold, barkeepers prefer clear ice because it is slow melting. Therefore, it does not spoil the taste of your precious drink. It is also free from air bubbles and impurities, giving it a clean taste. Are you excited to find out how to make clear ice? Then keep reading!

How To Make Clear Ice (Step-by-Step Guide)

Before we proceed with the steps on making clear ice, there are some things that you need to know. Notice how usual ice produced in your freezer is usually cloudy? It is because of uneven freezing where cold air pushes the air bubbles towards the center of the ice. These air bubbles trap impurities, making the ice cloudy and less perfect. To make clear ones, you need to freeze your ice in one direction (usually from top to bottom). This process will push down air bubbles and impurities to the bottom so that you can then easily cut or remove them.

Now, here’s a step-by-step guide that you can follow to create your clear ice!

Step 1: Prepare the Water

You need to know that eliminating impurities should be prioritized in making clear ice. That is why we suggest that you use purified or distilled water. These have been cleared of any mineral deposits and other impurities that may be present in other types of water, making them a good candidate for making clear ice.

Boil the water and then let it cool. Make sure to cover it to keep dust and dirt away. Once it cools down, bring it to a boil once again. Double boiling your water will help remove air bubbles making your clear ice more compact, and thus, harder to melt.

Step 2: Follow the Correct Freezing Process

blue silicone mold suspended in a cooler full of water

Scott Schiller | Flickr

With Cooler

One way to freeze your water is by using the cooler method. First, find a cooler that can fit inside the freezer. Then, pour your prepared water into an ice tray and place it inside the cooler. Another method others use is by filling the cooler with water. Then using a cheesecloth, lightly submerge your ice tray that is also filled with water. This way, the temperature on the topmost surface of the tray is colder since it is not submerged. Thus, freezing your ice from top to bottom.

But what if you don’t have an ice tray? You can opt to pour the water into your clean cooler directly. After that, carefully put it inside the freezer. Make sure that you keep the lid of the cooler open. Remember, you are freezing your ice from the topmost. Doing this will push the cloudiness and impurities to the bottom side that you can easily cut or scrape off after.

Without Cooler

Now, how to make clear ice without a cooler? One of the processes that you can opt for is slow freezing. For this process, place your cooled-down water in an ice tray. Put it inside the freezer, where the temperature is set to the warmest setting (about 30 degrees F or -1 degrees C). Remember, only do this if you do not have any perishable goods in your fridge. Slowly freezing your ice will help air bubbles and other impurities escape through the air while waiting for it to solidify. But if you don’t have that much time, just popping your double-boiled water inside your freezer after it cools down may still work. However, there is still a high chance that it might be cloudy in the center.

How long does it take for the ice to freeze? It depends. If you are using the cooler method, you’ll have to wait until 24 hours for the ice to harden to the core. The same goes for making an ice block.

On the other hand, the slow freezing method may take around 12 hours. It is because your freezer is set to the warmest temperature to do this process. But if you freeze the ice tray or a pan of ice without setting the temperature to its lowest setting, it can take as fast as 2 to 3 hours to solidify.

Step 3: Cut the Ice

Bartender cutting clear ice cube using a knife

If you use a cooler or a pan as your ice mold, you’ll likely end up with an ice block. With that, you need to cut and shape it according to your desired shape and size using a serrated knife. It is highly recommended to place your ice block on top of a towel to lessen the friction and keep it steady.

Also, wear mittens to help you grip the ice as you cut and shape it.  Now, using your serrated knife, score the surface by gently moving your knife back and forth. Think of it like sawing. Create strips of ice while doing this process. Finally, cut these strips to your desired cube size.

Tip

  • Always start in the middle when cutting ice blocks. This will help you create a neat cut and avoid chipping or fracturing your ice.

Step 4: Properly Store Your Clear Ice

If you’re not using your clear ice yet, you can just keep it inside the freezer in the meantime. Just make sure that it is inside a sealed container! And then, when the time comes that you need it, bring it out of your fridge and for 2 minutes, keep it at room temperature first. Doing this will help melt off the freezer burns and prevent your ice from cracking.

How To Make Clear Ice Cubes

Clear ice cubes with bottles of alcoholic drinks in the background

You can follow the With Cooler method to make ice blocks and just cut them down to cubes using a serrated knife However, cutting and shaping ice cubes from an ice block can be quite taxing. So if you want an easier way to make a clear ice cube, using an ice cube tray is the best way to go.

But if you are looking for other options, you may also use Souper Cubes freezer molds that you can buy online. These are silicone molds that are used to freeze leftover soup. Using these molds is convenient as they remain sturdy no matter how long you keep them inside the fridge.

Also, do not forget to cut the cloudy side of your ice cube, and you’re good to go!

How To Make Clear Ice Balls

a clear glass with clear ice ball set on a counter

If you are a whisky lover, you’ll probably want to know how to make clear ice balls.

Following the same process, double boil your purified or distilled water. Then, place your cooled-down water in ice ball molds. Now, you can choose if you want to freeze these using the slow process or the cooler method. Other whiskey lovers and drink connoisseurs opt for a refrigerator with a built-in clear ice ball maker. But if you are only a casual drinker, then settling for ice ball molds will do just fine.

Shortcut Method: Use an Ice Maker

Want a faster way? Use an ice maker! Just make sure that you purchase ones that produce clear ice because not all ice makers can produce such.

Though, notably, clear ice makers can be pretty expensive. But if you have the budget, you have a myriad of options from which you can choose. There are kinds that you can install in your refrigerator, while you can place others under your kitchen counter. There are also portable ones that produce ice balls and cubes.

But if you want to take it to the next level, you can purchase a different version that can make ice blocks and explore ice sculpting! Who knows? It could be a fun centerpiece for your next party. Just note that these types of models might consume a lot of your space in your home.

What To Use Clear Ice For?

For Your Drinks and Cocktails

cold rum cocktail set on a counter

Make clear ice to make your cocktails look nice. We are now living in an era where food and drinks should not only be tasty but should also look good. Using ice adds aesthetics to your alcoholic drinks as well as your juice and Piña coladas. Aside from that, of course, its main function is to keep your drinks chilled. A long day at work? A whiskey ginger cocktail made chilly with clear ice is a very nice way to cap it off. A ladies’ night? How about sharing some refreshing pink cocktails with your girl friends? 

Food Preservation

Finally, aside from using clear ice for your cocktails, we can also use it to keep our food fresh. We all know that lowering temperature will help avoid food spoilage. With that, keeping perishable goods like meat and poultry inside a fridge is important. However, in our local groceries and supermarkets, ice is used to keep produce fresh and safe.

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Krishia

KC is a writer, an artist, a theatre enthusiast, and a food lover. She believes in the saying, “a jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” That is why she has myriads of interests—from photography, cooking, designing, journaling, and the list still goes on. She dreams of traveling the whole country on her own someday to satiate her eyes, her curiosity, and of course, her stomach.

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