Garnish seems appealing to today’s guests as one of the essential elements for a dish or cocktail. Most restaurants and bars follow the trend to meet market demands. Besides the beverage itself, the next thing they would do is to work on the ice.
Why is that? Take cocktails as an example; ice isn’t just about the look but the magic it gives to the drinks. To meet today’s market, new beverages are invented every day. Ice, as one of the essential recipes, stimulates the development of ice making industry.
And good restaurants and bars act fast to impress their guests with odorless, clear iced drinks. What clear ice beats cloudy ice isn’t just the aesthetic value. Clear ice melts more slowly in your drinks, making it possible to reach their full potential for you to enjoy before getting watered down.
Whether you are cocktail aficionados or not, the more clear iced drinks you’ve had, the more you are motivated to pursue the same quality of ice drinks at home.
It’s not easy to freeze clear ice from your kitchen freezer, but it’s possible with some “tricks”. Here’s a full guide:
What is clear ice?
Clear ice is pure solid water, also commonly known as crystal ice or gourmet ice. It’s crystal clear without impurities and cloudiness, which can also be seen in nature, such as icicles.
What are the benefits of clear ice?
Clear ice it’s crystal and clear as the name it is. Apart from a better look, there’re much more than that!
It has a better taste:
Clear ice is frozen from pure water without neither impurities nor air. It doesn’t have odors from the refrigerator or the impure water itself, maintaining the original taste of the drinks.
- It’s healthier:
Clear ice is purely made from pure water, so it doesn’t contain impurities that would breed bacteria.
- It melts slower:
Similar reasons as above. Since clear ice is packed with pure water molecules with no air and impurities, it maintains its lower temperature for way longer than regular ice (impure cloudy ice). The air bubbles in regular ice make it reach room temperature faster. So, clear ice is perfect for any types of beverages.
How to make clear ice?
Regular ice looks cloudy as the impurities and air are trapped in the ice cubes. Pure water freezes to ice at 0 degrees Celsius. When the water freezes first from outside, the contaminants and air cannot escape. Clear ice freezes in a particular direction, and that’s the reason the ice made in your freezer isn’t clear. So, pushing the air and impurities out of the freezing water is the key to making the ice clear.
There are several ways you can make odorless, clear ice. Some key points you should know before getting the process started:
- Water should be filtered or boiled.
- Make sure water freeze in a single direction.
- Let water freeze slowly to push the air out of the ice cube.
Step 1: Filter or boil the water
To really get rid of all the impurities, you need to let the water go through 3 – 4 different filters. That would require a distiller system. If that’s not a possible option, boil it twice!
Before you boil it again, let the boiled water cool down while keeping it covered to avoid dirt and dust on the surface.
Once the water is double-boiled, let it cool down before putting it in an ice tray or mold.
Step 2: Understand the directional freezing
If the ice forms from outside, the cloudiness is centered in the ice cubes. You can get your ice frozen in a single direction from top to bottom or inside out with different types of methods.
Method 1: Higher temperature slowing freezing
The theory behind this is to push the air and impurities out while the clear ice is slowly frozen.
A few simple steps you can follow:
- Adjust the temperature setting to the highest possible - at -1 degree Celsius.
- Put the ice tray filled up with pure water in the freezer.
- Leave it there for a day.
Method 2: Cooler Method
If you prefer to have a giant square or round ice cube for your cocktail or whisky, this method makes it possible for both!
With this method, you will need a small hard-sided plastic picnic cooler and enough freezing space for it. This “trick” allows the cool air to freeze the water on the top in the cooler. In the process, the freezing water will push the air and impurities to the bottom.
- Add the pure water into the cooler.
- Put the cooler in the freezer and keep the lid open.
- Set the temperature at -15 degrees Celsius.
- Let it freeze for 48 hours.
Cloudy deposits can be seen on the bottom, which also can be removed off. You may use a saw or serrated knife to cut the huge ice block into a sphere or square ice cubes for your drinks!
Method 3: Portable clear ice maker
Clear ice forms in a single direction naturally. Ice making machines work in pretty much the same way.
The water starts to freeze from inside in layers so as to push out all the air and impurities. That’s the reason ice comes out clear from an ice maker.
A variety of compact ice makers work the same, so it doesn’t have to be an expensive one.
What you need to do is to plug-in electricity, add the pure water in the machine, adjust the thickness of the ice cubes to your needs, and set a timer. 24 crystal clear odorless ice cubes will be ready in 15 minutes.
Furthermore, if you are a party enthusiast, it helps you save up a lot of time without hassle and makes indoor and outdoor parties much easier.