Pure and Simple: The Cold Truth About Clear Ice

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Photo by: Evgeny Karandaev

Evgeny Karandaev

A restaurant in D.C. is making waves for levying an surcharge on patrons who want to savor their cocktails with perfectly crystal-clear ice cubes. To be fair, the equipment needed to make crystal clear ice cubes can be expensive for restaurants, reaching the mid four figures — and if you want to do it yourself, it’s a whole process, involving coolers and chisels.

The advantage to clear ice isn’t just aesthetic — a byproduct of the clear-ice-cube-making process is denser, more slowly melting ice, which will dilute rocks drinks more slowly. That said, a large cube of not-clear ice will do almost as good a job. Use a large silicone ice cube tray to make 2-by-2-inch cubes or spheres that are perfect for sipping drinks.

For super-strong drinks that you actually want to dilute — think juleps, swizzles and the like — crushed ice is completely the way to go. Use your fridge’s icemaker if you have one, or just crush a bunch of ice in a plastic bag with a rolling pin (great for getting your stress out).

And if clear ice isn’t necessarily your thing, but you want fancy ice anyway, here are some other ice options that might be up your alley:

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