As the weather heats up we all turn from warm drinks like coffee, tea, and cocco to cold drinks like lemonade, iced tea, and soda. But cooling a drink takes ice, and even something as simple as frozen water can be improved or go wrong. Some may be plagued by little white flakes in your ice, while others may be jealous of the clear ice you see at bars. But for anyone who wants to make their drinks picture perfect or even just avoid ice that makes a good drink bad, we have 3 tips for the best ice cubes you can use.
Filter your Water
It may seem obvious, but the best quality water will make the best quality ice cubes! But you should know that not all filters are created equal. Carbon filters are the most common, and are given a micron rating to indicate how much or little it filters. A high Micron rating means larger particles will make it through into your water and ice, so getting a low Micron rating is best. You can always install a whole home filter, but for best results a high end water pitcher filter will work best, and newer fridges may have this sort of filter built in to the ice maker already. And for the absolutely purest ice cubes, demineralized or purified water bought from the grocery store will work the best.
Filtered water will get rid of most cases of flakes in your ice cubes or an unpleasant taste, while other water treatment like water softening can improve both as well. You can also boil your water for further home purification. But for clearer ice cubes you’ll need to take it a step further.
Slow Freeze your Ice Cubes
When you are looking for clearer ice cubes that look better in person and on camera, the slower your freeze them the better. Most white clouds in an ice cube are caused by air and trace minerals being trapped in the water as it freezes and expands quickly. Boiling water before freezing it can remove some of that air, but slowing the freezing process down can help even further.
There are a few ways to do this, if you have a freezer with a temperature adjustment feature it can be as simple as turning it up. But if that isn’t enough to get the results you want, you can try and insulate your ice cube tray in a small cooler, thermos, or similar device. In the most extreme cases you may be able to lower the temperature in your fridge and place an ice cube tray right next to the refrigeration element, usually found at the top of the fridge. In fact, that last point could be important to consider when we talk about the last tip.
Like we said in the last tip, ice normally looks cloudy because of air and minerals being trapped by water freezing, and with most freezers and ice makers this is made worse as the water is exposed to freezing temperatures on all sides. As the ice freezes in multiple directions at once, it traps more air and minerals than it otherwise would, making even cloudier ice. But finding a way to freeze only in one direction can be hard.If you have access to a large freezer, a small cooler, and you’re willing to put in a little work there is a simple solution.
- Heat up enough water to fill the cooler half way (or even boil it like we mentioned in tip 1)
- Pour the water into the cooler.
- Place the cooler in the freezer, making sure the cooler lid is kept open.
- Leave it in the freezer until all but the very bottom layer of the water is frozen, for 2 gallons of water in a 9 quart cooler this will be about 24 hours.
- Remove the ice from the cooler.
- Use a mallet and serrated knife to break up the ice as wanted
- Save the ice in the freezer for when you need it!
This method will make clearer ice cubes that can be saved for a fancy drink or special event. While it is a lot of work for ice cubes, it might be worth it for the results. Or if you don’t have the space or time you can find various insulated ice cube makers that function like a cooler but in far more manageable chunks.
The Ultimate Ice Cubes
For the absolute best results, combine all three pointers! Use Well filtered water or even purified water from the store, boil the water to remove more air, use an insulated container, and keep the freezer at a higher temperature all at once for nearly perfect, crystal clear ice cubes that taste great and make any drink look good.
When it’s hot outside a cool drink is a huge relief, and when you’re looking to take the perfect photo or impress some guests, it’s almost magical to see glass-like ice cubes floating in a colorful glass and nothing will ruin a drink more than unexpected flakes or specks. Whatever your ice cube dreams, know that NuvoH2O is here to help you get the best water you can.