How to Have Cool Ice Balls in Your Drink without Buying a $1,000 Ice Baller

Categories: Drinking

Alice Laussade
This silicone ice mold is much cheaper than the shmancy one, and does the same thing. Faster.
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If you drink boozes, you've probably had a giant ice cube or ice sphere thrown into your beverage at a local bar. The reasoning behind using giant cubes and spheres is that giant ice melts slower, which means it won't dilute your fancy bourbon as quickly. If you're sipping bourbon, this is a nice benefit. If you're chugging Jack Daniels: high fives, chest bumps, and skip the rest of this post.

I'm not sure if the ice balls melt any slower, but they do look cool as hell. The first time I saw balls of ice balls (yes, I'm just trying to get the word "balls" into this as many times as possible balls), I was at a friend's house, and they used a Cirrus Ice Ball Press Kit. The ice ball press will shape an ice cube into an ice ball in a snap, and it'll continue to look badass the whole time, too. Unfortunately, this one also costs $1,099.00.

$1099.00 to make a giant ice cube into a sphere. My first words upon finding this out involved all of the good four-letter ones, plus "bullshit." Here is the Cirrus in action:

A major bummer we encountered with the Cirrus was that the press beautifully melted one cube into a sphere, but since the temperature of the device plays into the science of melting the cube, when we tried to melt another cube immediately after melting the first one, the device did not work. The video tells us to rinse the device in warm water, but if I'm paying $1,099 for an ice ball maker, I don't want to have to deal with that added ass pain.

And you have to make a silicone molded ice cube for the Cirrus before you can make a sphere. So, first, you're making a large cube, then you're melting that in the Cirrus. Basically, there are a lot of steps with this magic trick. If you want the process of making ice cubes to be a production and a show while you're making drinks, and you have a thousand bucks to drop on a toy, go for it.

But if you're like me, and you're 1) cheap and 2) handing out drinks at a party, you're going to want a different option that serves more people more quickly.

So, I headed to Spec's to see if there were other options. Surely there was a knock-off, right? Indeed, there are. I found several different silicone ice molds. There was a whole section of them. You could buy an ice tray that makes six giant cubes like this one, which sells on Amazon for $8.50:

Alice Laussade
Giant square cubes are giant. And cheap.

Or they had these ice-sphere-makers for $19.95 for a set of two.

Alice Laussade
The Original Whiskey Ball ice-sphere-maker works.

"But do they work as well?," you nonbelievers ask in a dick-ass tone. Yes. They work just as well. All you do is put the two sides of the silicone sphere thing together (it has a flat bottom (just like you like 'em?), so that it doesn't roll around in your freezer, but the ice is a spherical, as you can see), and then fill up the thing with water and wait for the water to have science sex with your freezer until it becomes ice.

And now, you have approximately $1,000 to spend on hookers. You're welcome. Merry Ice Ball Savings Hooker Christmas.

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My Voice Nation Help

I have the silicon spheres.  Cheap, and just as good as anything coming out of the copper ice ball maker.


Fancy friends. Over $1K spent on a device to make clear & slow melting balls of fucking water? This is why the terrorists hate us.

primi_timpano topcommenter

I use the silicon cubes. They work great, and while they have a greater surface area to volume ratio than a sphere, the differences are insignificant. They are made even less significant if the glass has more than one cube/sphere as the cubes can nestle more closely, thereby insulating themselves. As for clear ice, I do not find this an important aspect to my iced drinks, but I recall Serious Eats had a lab test on this issue and clear ice can be created by using distilled or boiled water.

Do not use the same silicon trays for stock and ice.


Just freeze a water balloon.  Not perfect spheres, but whose balls are?


No ice has ever melted in my drink.........goes down the hatch too fast. 


i'll say this,  there are some differences, but not really noticeable to the 'couch drinker'.  the silicone ball (i have one) and the big cubes (have this too) will melt at a slower rate and water your drink down slower than your standard ice cubes from the freezer because of less surface area, but they're filled with air bubbles just like those other ice cubes- which is why they're not crystal clear, both in the photos here, and in my experience.

the big $1000 ice ball presses use 'dead clear' (actual ice industry term) which doesn't have any air bubbles in it b/c of how the ice is made with the freezing element on one side (versus your home freezer which freezes from the outside in - trapping the air bubbles) which 'pushes' the air bubbles out the opposite side.  you then have to carve that clear ice down to a workable size to "press" into a ball.  this 'dead clear ice' without air bubbles does actually melt at about half the rate of the same sphere shape b/c of the lack of internal air.

so, education over.  they both work equally well for a drink at home in the evening unless you're just trying to impress someone with your $1000 ice ball press (if you could source the clear ice that is).

coincidentally, this show was on yesterday, and he offered a method for getting semi clear 'blocks' by using a deep baking tin (think like meatloaf or bread shaped - 4" deep, then carving them and smoothing the edges w/ an iron or piece of aluminum.


Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

You should see what they paid on the device for the ice ovarys.

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