Ice Matters

January 16, 2012 § 18 Comments

Apparently, 2012 is shaping up to the the Year of the Ice.

And I guess this makes sense.  Our whiskies are getting more expensive, our glasses fancier … clearly that leaves the good ‘ole “rock” ready for an update too.

Earlier in 2011, I did a post on waterless “ice” reviewing the Whiskey Disks brand of chilled soapstone clinckers  (read it HERE), but today I’m going to talk about the actually frozen water kind that have, for years, danced happily out of their standard ice trays into our standard rocks glasses.

Not today, my friends.  Apparently, those closest to me (aka, Santa & his elves), thought this whisky gal’s ice was due for a re-vamp.  And a re-vamp she got.

First up – the CUBE

Photos courtesy of William Sonoma

King Cube Silicone Ice Tray from Williams Sonoma, $14.95 (click HERE for purchasing information)

I was so excited to open these and immediately started visualizing myself in a scene from Mad Men.  I love their exaggerated size and perfectly cubed shape.  Just 1 is perfect in my glass – but if you prefer a few more, be my guest!  They melt a bit more slowly then the standard ice shape and look a heck of a lot better!

WW Rating: 5/5 (easy to use, slower melt, 4 rocks/tray, 2 trays to a set, looks fantastic in a rocks glass)

BTW – this gift deserves a shout-out to it’s giver; my sister, who is also responsible for introducing me to one of my all-time favorite rye whiskies, Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye.  LOVE her!!!!!

Second – the BALL

(c) The Whisky Woman 2012

Silicone Ice Ball Maker from Muji, $11.75 USD (click HERE for more information)

This made me really excited.  It’s easy to imagine oneself in a hidden bar in Tokyo with this beauty close at hand.  No, it wasn’t hand carved right in front of you – but unless you’re deciding to take up ice sculpting this year, it’ll do just fine.  Personally, I love the minimalistic, modern look which adds an air of instant sophistication – at least something can class up my at-home whisky drinking uniform of flannel pajamas during these cold months!   In terms of the how this affects the whisky in ones glass, the Japanese always seem to know exactly what they are doing.  The big ball melts much less quickly then standard cubes but cools the liquid much faster – leaving you with the perfectly chilled, ever-so-slightly diluted glass of whisky every time.

WW Rating: 4/5 (when it comes to the whisky, I love this ice ball just a bit better than the straight cube for it’s slower melting/faster chilling ability but it gets slightly lower marks when it comes to sharing.   You have to buy multiple balls if you want to be able to offer this ice option to guests, which can get a bit expensive at $11.75 USD per mold.

PS – this also works AMAZINGLY WELL for a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice.

Third – the LUGE

Photos courtesy of

Lush Life Party Ice Luge from Amazon (click HERE to buy)

No, I didn’t receive this and no, I haven’t tried this yet – but – that’s not to say this won’t make its way into my home over the course of this next year, if only just to see my friends enjoy a post-business school whisky like only a dedicated frat-party goer could.  I think this is hysterical and whether it’s used for whisky or another spirit concoction – who says drinking has to be all serious all the time?!  Not me!

On the whisky front – I can see how this might be very nice in during the warmer months.  Acting somewhat like an adult slip-n-slid, the spirit could reduce in temp and hopefully pick up some H2O along the way!  I say, luge away!

WW Rating: ?/5 (I haven’t tried this yet but will update this should that time come …. on that note; Dear Lush Life, I’m happy to include a rating and a more useful review should you wish to send one to me to try!)

Hope you all are having a wonderful start to 2012.  I will give a toast to you on my next round.



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§ 18 Responses to Ice Matters

  • The Wookie says:

    WW — I picked up a Ice Ball mold at a bar supply website for less than $10 and it makes three balls at a shot. It was a neat novelty but I have never had the problem of the ice melting too fast relative to my consumption of whiskey so it found it’s way to the junk pile quickly. If you like the ice ball concept what need is the full set from Macallan demonstrated here:

    I have seen these in use and they are super cool.

    And for the record we used to do the ice luge at our college parties and it has made it’s way into the weddings of several friends. It gets drinks super cold and you always end up with someone with there lips stuck to the delivery end.

    • Hey Wookie!
      Thanks for taking the time to comment! You guys have been so busy over on the Booze Dancing blog – I’m flattered you had time to stop by!

      Thanks for sharing the Macallan video – but I have to say that seems a bit intense for me (though I guess I also wouldn’t have the dramatically intense music playing in the background so that may mellow the experience out a bit). Though I do think that would definitely take up too much counter space, especially in my tiny NYC apartment. I was really intrigued and captivated by the video – if not just because it seemed like quite an ordeal for an ice ball … isn’t it just easier to fill a mold that’s in the shape of a ball?

      Thank you for sharing AND for your thoughts / experiences with the ice luge! I hadn’t thought about freezing ones lips to it though … that’s not cool.

      Welcome back!

      • The Wookie says:

        If you don’t have the “dramatically intense music” playing on a continuous loop in your apartment how can you properly enjoy your Whiskeys? LOL! This is the ice ball thing taken to extremes. The only thing more extreme is those bartenders in Japan that chisel ice balls to order for each customer but I guess if there in no room an ice ball machine in your apartment adding a personal bartender is out of the question.

        And for the record freezing one’s lips to an ice luge is not pleasant for the person it happens to (my college roommate) but makes for an excellent blackmail picture should that person become an elected official. If only we had smart phones in college I would have video too!!

        • Ha! I think Macallan should offer that soundtrack as a special holiday gift box option. I’m just saying … I think we’re on to something here.

          On the subject of personal Japanese barmen, I think they may be easier to have in the apartment as they can move themselves out of the way (now you’re beginning to understand the depth of my laziness!). The ice machine is far to complicated for me because I would have to move it every time, vs a person who’s in charge of his own placement in a room … I’m going to ponder this a bit more. Then win the lottery. Then buy a bigger place. Then hire a bartender…. and perhaps an ice machine. hmmm.

          Perhaps I’ll just stick with my silicone ball. 🙂


  • G-LO says:

    Yo WW!

    When I was in NYC for our annual Anniversary weekend, I had a drink in the hotel bar (The Royalton) that was served over crystal clear ice cubes. I never really payed much attention to ice clarity, but for whatever reason, I was amazed at how great the drink (a Vieux Carre) looked in the glass. Although Mrs. G-LO was not at all interested in my beverage, she too was dazzled by the ice. It almost makes it worthwhile to pay $15+ for a drink. Almost.


    • Ha! I hear you, G-LO. $15 hurts.

      But nice that they went to the extra trouble of giving you fancier rocks and clearly it left an impression! For a similar effect at home, you can use boiled water, distilled water or water that has previously been frozen in your ice mold to create perfectly clear ice.

      I’ve never tried this mostly because I just haven’t taken the time to try … however, in lieu of this post, perhaps I’ll give it a whirl and share my findings here. 🙂

      Hope you and Mrs. G-LO are having a great start to the New Year!
      Thanks for your comments – always love hearing from you!

      • G-LO says:

        I think I can handle those few extra steps. Though I rarely add ice to my whisky, it could make for some interesting looking cocktails. I may have to pick up the Williams-Sonoma cube trays. They seem the most “practical”. Relatively speaking of course. Heh

        And as far as the comments go, I love the banter. Makes blogging fun!


  • Happy new year to you as well. Ice generally doesn’t get enough attention, so thanks for this interesting post. I bought a 4-shot ice-ball mould a while back (got around the sharing issue by accumulating balls in an ice container), but the process is a bit of a schlepp and after the few excited occasions it’s since been gathering dust like the Wookie’s. I need my own Japanese barman I think…

    • Hey Patrick!
      Welcome back! 😀 I’m with you and Wookie, personal barman please, STAT! At least the nice hotels should give us such an option.

      “Hello Mrs. Patel, here’s the key to your room, would you like a key to the mini bar?”
      “Should you wish to have your ice ball hand chiseled during your stay, please dial 9 and our on-site barman from Japan will arrive at your door within 5 minutes”

      … Can you tell I’m traveling right now? Just saying that would be a nice service to offer. 🙂

  • GREAT ideas!! As I transition from cheap liquor at a dive bar to one who appreciates a great spirit in great company, I was wOndeeing how to avoid the weird old ice in the freezer taste as it melts in my glass. Perfect solutions!!!!

    • Hey Dish Babe!
      Great to see you back in the bloggosphere! Thanks for your comment! And yes, buying new ice trays does make one get to the depths of the ice box and clean out those old trays!

      Happy cocktailing!

  • Chuck says:

    I really love my whiskey on the rocks, and when I went looking for a better way to deal with the ice I stumbled across these.
    These ones are nice because they allow me to use only one for myself and keep the others in storage until I know that I may be drinking with friends and then I can break em out. A set of 4 for 10 bucks aint half bad, but they dont work perfectly. One thing I did find pretty cool was the idea of putting mint leaves in the ice ball for mint juleps. Haven’t tried it yet, but seems like an interesting idea.

    • Hey Chuck!
      Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment and share! I have to say, I love this set and wish I had seen it before! I agree with you, 4 for $10 seems much more reasonable than what I paid and eliminate the need to wait 6-8 hours for each ball of ice.

      I’m totally going to experiment with the different herbs in the ice mold. I bet rosemary would be a good one too.

      Thanks again – glad to have you here!

  • Thank you for featuring our product on your blog.
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    • Thanks Muji!
      It’s a great product that I’ve really been enjoying. Thanks for the re-post of my article.

      Keep up the great work – my home is filled with your designs. … I guess you can say that I’m a fan. 🙂

  • […] Glass, Muddle, Ice (see my previous post on ice HERE), Sugar Cube (1), Bitters*, Sparkling or flat water (1 tsp), Bourbon or Rye (2 oz), and an Orange […]

  • emily says:

    Now I feel like have no reason not to get a super special ice mold. Chad Robinson and I were just talking about ice last night. Here’s a piece from the Denver Post two weeks ago, too. (If you ever get out there, Steuben’s is a cool bar.)
    Of course, thanks for the Roundstone Rye shout out 🙂
    ~emily with CCDC

    • Great clip! Thanks for your interest and for your comment! It’s always great to hear from the amazing people at Catoctin Creek! I’m actually serving my favorite rye (your Roundstone Rye!) at a tasting this evening where I’ll be comparing the “big boys” to the craft producers. Every time I go down to Maryland, I bring back 2 bottles (at least). I can’t get enough!

      Let me know which ice mold you decide on – I’ll be curious to see which style you choose!
      Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Emily.
      -Allison (WW)

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