Ice cubes are both necessary and a nuisance in many liquor and cocktail drinks. They keep your drink cold and refreshing, but melt quickly, resulting in a watered down beverage. To avoid this, many upscale bars serve drinks with a single, giant ice ball, large enough to keep the drink cold, but slow to melt. You can also use them in punch bowls and large pitchers of any type of drink. Purchase your own ice ball molds from barware stores or online, or make your own giant ice balls with common household items.
Ice Ball Molds
Fill plastic or silicone ice ball molds with water, per the instructions for the specific type you have. Ice ball molds should be at least 2 inches in size.
Place the molds in the freezer. Leave them to freeze completely for at least two to three hours.
Remove the ice balls from the freezer and carefully remove the molds to reveal the giant ice balls. Use tongs or a spoon to gently place each one in a drinking glass. Avoid dropping it in to avoid cracking the ball.
Muffin Pan Mold
Fill each jumbo muffin cup three-fourths of the way full with water. Jumbo muffin cups should be at least 2 inches deep. Use a plastic or silicone muffin pan for easy removal.
Place the muffin pan in the freezer until the water is frozen solid.
Twist the muffin pan gently to pop out the ice cubes. You may need to run hot water over the back of the pan briefly to get them out. The ice will not be perfectly round, but with its large size, it works just the same.
Fill clean latex balloons with water, adding just enough that the balloons fit comfortably inside a cocktail glass. Tie the end closed, making the balloon shape as round as possible.
Freeze the water-filled balloons on a baking tray in the freezer until fully frozen, about three to four hours.
Remove the frozen water balloons from the freeze and use scissors to cut away the latex balloon, leaving a large, rounded ice ball.
Tips & Warnings
- Add small pieces of fruit, mint or basil leaves to the water before freezing to give an impressive flair and subtle flavor to the ice balls. You can also replace some or all of the water with another a flavored liquor or juice.
- Use warm filtered water for clearer ice balls.
- Use regular balloons instead of water balloons for freezing, because water balloons typically are much thinner and pop easily.
- Primer Magazine: Homemade Cocktail Ice Cubes
- Esquire Magazine: The Truth about the Fancy Ice in Your Drink
- Bourbon of the Day: Three Essentials Every Bourbon Drinker Needs
- Real Simple: Muffin Tin As Large Ice Cube Tray
- Connecticut Magazine: Drink Trend: Ice Is the New Star of Creative Cocktails
- Mrs. Fields: Brilliant Uses for Water Balloons
- Chicago Tribune: Ice Is Nice
- Photo Credit Wojciech Dudzicki/iStock/Getty Images