With the rise of fancy-cocktail bars has come an increased attention to all aspects of the drinking experience—the liquors and the recipes, sure, but also the ice cubes. Or ice balls, or cylinders, or chips, or shards, depending on your drink. You’ll notice one commonality among the different shapes, though: this stuff tends to be crystal-clear. Like, you could read the New Yorker through it.
Your ice cubes at home? Not so much. Regular tap water, frozen in an ice-cube tray, usually looks a little cloudy, the result of impurities and air bubbles that get pushed to the center of the cube as it freezes. Fancy-cocktail places spend piles of money on technology that avoids this problem—the preferred gadget is a Clinebell machine, which freezes ice from the bottom so the air bubbles are pushed to the top, where the water is circulated, so they dissipate. This machine costs, well, a ton, and, uh, probably won’t fit in your kitchen. But the home aficionado is not without de-clouding options, following this same general principle.
Here is the best option
Boiling distilled water twice. Hark! The clearest ice yet. It wasn’t crystal, but all the air had been consigned to a little cloud toward the bottom of the cube of ice, and the rest of it was beautifully translucent—something you could feel a little bit proud to serve to guests. All that was needed now was a glass of whiskey.