If you’re someone who enjoys a nice cocktail out at a fine establishment now and then (or even a not-so-fine establishment) then you know there’s just something that hits different about a drink made by a professional.
That said, at least part of what makes it better is the whole presentation, right? So, what if you could make perfect ice at home, therefore getting at least some of it right?
If that sounds intriguing to you, keep reading – we’ve got your back!
There are quite a few methods out there if you search the internet, but the good people at TipHero tried several of them and found the following attempts sorely lacking:
- Simply using filtered water – the results were underwhelming.
- Slow freezing water – it works, but means death for other things in your freezer, like ice cream.
- Double-boiling water – the ice is only about 85% clear, so if that’s good enough for you, go for it. If not, keep reading.
What they found is that the best way to get 100% crystal clear ice at home is with a method called directional freezing, which was developed by mixologist Camper English. To achieve the best results you’ll need filtered water and the kind of small, insulated cooler you might take camping, along with some freezer space.
To understand why it works, you have to understand that what all of these methods are attempting to do is remove the dissolved air in your water, because that’s what makes it cloudy. As ice freezes, it pushes the tiny bubbles out, so English figured if you could get ice to freeze in one direction, all of the cloudiness would be in a single spot that would be easy to remove.
When you freeze water inside a cooler with insulated sides and leave the top open, your ice freezes from the top down. Once it’s nearly frozen you can chip off the partially frozen layer that’s cloudy and then chunk the crystal-clear pieces into cubes.
And listen, if you think this sounds like a lot of work for clear ice, you should know that not only does totally clear ice look neat, it also tastes better – and because it melts more slowly, it makes your drink taste better, too.
This is also the reason using one large cube is preferable in a mixed drink to using chips or small, crushed ice. One large cube will melt more slowly, leaving your drink the way the bartender (or you) made it for longer.