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Why Clear Ice Is Better Than Cloudy: It's Cocktail Science For The Win

By: Neelanjana Mondal

Why Clear Ice Is Better Than Cloudy: It's Cocktail Science For The Win

If whisky snobs and gin snobs grated on your nerves, then meet the ice snobs or court the idea of becoming one. We say so because we are judging the appearance of ice in our drinks and yes, it does matter. Beautiful ice cubes in popular beverage commercials are attractive and for a reason. So how does one even go around making clear or cloudy ice cubes? Why do some cubes are crystal clear while the rest come out translucent? There is, of course, science behind this.

Why Clear Ice Is Better Than Cloudy: It's Cocktail Science For The Win

It has something to do with the water temperature and the kind of water you use to make your ice cubes. Clearer ice cubes are the calm collected cool wine aunt while the cloudy ones are the chaotic dramatic aunt who causes an uproar wherever she goes. No, we are not joking in the least. Cloudy ice cubes are responsible for making your drinks fizz more and clear ones don’t do that and keep your drink enjoyable for longer.

Where am I going wrong?

If you are using room temperature water, especially from a tap or water purifier, it will have impurities, not the disease-causing kind, but the mineral kind. These minerals are beneficial to our health but towards forming crystal clear ice cubes… not so much. The whitest parts of these ice cubes are where these minerals accumulate and solidify. So what makes the ice cubes, see-through transparent and crystal clear? Using boiled or distilled water will do that trick! If you pour hot water into your ice trays, that will cause air bubbles to be trapped and give you cloudy ice. Freeze the distilled or boiled water slowly, no hot water goes into the fridge if you want your ice see-through and perfect for your cocktails.

Why Clear Ice Is Better Than Cloudy: It's Cocktail Science For The Win

The Best Shot?

Your best bet is a professional ice maker that could be the size of a small cabinet or even smaller. Invest in one if you really love the bubbly and fizzy additives to your cocktails. Consider the size of your home, storage space, and your needs before buying one so it doesn’t become a hassle later on. Professional ice makers take anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes to make ice and the output also varies based on its capacity. Look at the ice maker’s output, the amount of time it takes to churn out the ice and its energy consumption as well.

The Cooler Method

Since clear ice is cooler than cloudy ice, and sometimes a professional ice maker might be out of your budget, there’s another way to get clear ice cubes. It’s a method called directional freezing or the cooler method, that is touted to be the best method for those after clear ice cubes. In fact professional ice makers use this method to freeze ice in layers, think the ice in lakes, so there are zero trapped air bubbles in them.

This method will need a personal cooler where you can try out the directional freezing method. As per sources floating around social media who have tried and tested this method several times, you should too. It involves freezing a whole block of ice in the personal freezer that takes a couple of days to freeze; if that sounds hazardous to you because it needs some skill to be able to finesse the art of chopping down humongous ice slabs, then there’s another trick.

Why Clear Ice Is Better Than Cloudy: It's Cocktail Science For The Win

Clear Ice Moulds

It costs way less than a professional ice maker or even a personal freezer and even pops into your fridge. It uses the same directional freezing and you won’t need to strain your muscles for this. Unlike your regular ice tray, this one has a lid and keeps any impurities from contaminating the ice. These moulds however do take up space, so you will have to plan ahead whenever you use them to make ice cubes for your next cocktail party.

The Final Verdict

Start small, use boiled or distilled water and try your average tray or any ice cube mould you might have at home. If that works for you, keep at it. Otherwise, opt for the other methods tested out above and make your own clear ice cubes to keep your drink from getting diluted less and staying fizzy longer. 

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