You walk to the freezer and get the thing. The thing is made from hardy plastic and consists of twelve, square shaped compartments. You hit it with all your force against the counter, squeeze and bend it to get the frozen water out. During this painstaking process you wonder. How come my bartender’s cubes are so neat and especially so clear.
Most bartenders buy their ice from ice manufacturers. Yet making nice big crystal clear ice cubes isn’t that hard. It doesn’t require any special equipment, just some time and effort.
The reason why your ice cube tray produces cloudy ice cubes is because the air present in the water gets trapped during the freezing process. There’s a couple of ways to prevent this.
The first one is to double boil the water. Boiling the water, letting it cool and boiling it again should remove most impurities and air in the water. This method works but only to a certain extent, your ice cubes will be more clear but not crystal clear.
Another and more effective method is putting your ice cube tray in an insulated cooler, with the lid removed, inside your freezer. This slows down the freezing process extensively leaving enough time for the air to get out of the water. The slower water freezes the clearer it will be. Use double boiled water as an extra guarantee. Alternatively you can turn up your freezer’s temperature.
The methods above will provide you with clearer ice cubes but they aren’t foolproof. The best way of achieving perfectly clear ice is freezing one single large quantity of water, the larger the better. The larger your receptacle the clearer your ice will be. A large amount of water freezes a lot slower than a small amount of water and won’t trap any air in it. For example, ice sculptors will pour whole freezers full of water to create large blocks of clear ice.
Another benefit from freezing a large amount of water at once is that you can create big ice cubes that melt slower and won’t dilute your drink too fast. Watch out when carving ice cubes out of big blocks of ice, ice is slippery and hard making it easy to hurt yourself.
Now you know the path to supreme clearness. Follow it if you must but please know that we don’t mind a cloudy ice cube either. As long as our cocktails are cold, we’re happy.
[Article by Alexander Eeckhout]