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Steve Myrick

12.1.17

Thirsty: The Age of Ice

Don’t you know ice is a thing now? Why would you spend good money on good whiskey, then throw in a glass full of those pale half-moon cubes from your refrigerator ice maker? You know, the ice maker sitting about six inches above that frost-encrusted bluefish you froze a year ago.

There is a reason those high-class joints serve drinks with great big crystal-clear ice cubes, even beyond the fact that it looks very cool. Clear ice melts a lot slower, so your good whiskey won’t get watered down. Also, one giant cube, rather than a bunch of little ones, seems to make just the right amount of ice touch the whiskey. I like mine chilled, but not, well, ice-cold.

In the big cities of America, high-class joints often buy clear ice shapes from high-class ice companies. The ice companies freeze water into large blocks with a specialty ice maker. Then they saw it into custom shapes and ship it to the bars. This is expensive. Which is why they can get away with charging $17 for a martini. Which doesn’t have any ice.

I wanted to make my own big clear ice, so off to the Thirsty Test Kitchen we went. But first a stop at the fount of all truth, the Internet.

I found a bewildering number of methods to make clear ice, all of which seemed to take a tremendous amount of work plus a lot of following directions. So I picked the easiest one: boil water, let it cool, boil it again, then freeze. This was supposed to take the air out of the water, which is why most ice is white. It didn’t.

Next I found some reverse osmosis water in a fancy food store. As nearly as I can figure, this is regular water with the osmosis reversed. The Internet said it would make wonderful clear ice. It didn’t. I’m beginning to think this Internet fad might not catch on.

Then one of the test kitchen minions came up with a brilliant idea. Why not use bottled Icelandic glacial water to make ice? It was already ice before, maybe it learned something. It didn’t.

By this time I was desperate, so I turned back to the Internet.

I ordered a Rabbit clear ice tray from Amazon for a cool $19.95, plus sales tax for our great Commonwealth. It has four silicon molds surrounded by an insulated plastic tray.

The instructions said fill with hot water and freeze. Bam! Great big giant beautiful clear square ice cubes. I don’t know how it works, but it does. I don’t think it has anything to do with rabbits.

If you don’t want to go to all this trouble to make clear ice, that’s okay. Go ahead and use those half-moon cubes from the refrigerator. But for the love of good whiskey, please move the bluefish away from the ice maker.