How to Make Clear Ice Cubes
Learn how to make clear ice cubes to elevate the look of craft cocktails and other beverages. The process takes time—but it's not difficult.
Whether you’re sipping a classic cocktail or enjoying a fizzy soda pop, dropping a couple of clear ice cubes into your glass instantly upgrades the look of the drink. But getting that clear cube of ice, without a special ice cube tray, can be hard to achieve.
We consulted Shannon Norris, senior food stylist for Taste of Home, on how she gets those perfectly clear ice cubes and she came prepared with plenty of tips. Now you can impress your guests the next time you host a cocktail party with clear ice to accompany those drinks.
What makes clear ice better?
You’ve heard the saying that “we eat with our eyes first.” The same is true for drinking—think of the cool graphic designs on beer cans and coffee labels, for example. Clear ice is better than regular ice for one reason and one reason only—it just looks better.
Clear ice doesn’t taste better, melt more slowly or keep the flavors of the drink more pure. It simply looks fabulous in a glass. A clear ice cube, compared to a cloudy cube, allows light to shine through, making the color of your drink more dazzling.
Tools you’ll need
- Ice cube maker: You can make clear ice with a special tool, like this ClearlyFrozen maker.
- Mini cooler: You can also pop a standard ice cube tray in a small cooler, which slows the rate of freezing. The slower it freezes, the clearer it will be.
- Ice cube trays: Large silicone trays work great for creating perfectly square cubes. You’ll need to poke holes in the bottom of the tray before you set it in a mini cooler. This allows cloudy water to flow out through the hole at the bottom, leaving you with crystal-clear ice cubes.
How to Make Clear Ice
Lauren Grant for Taste of Home
Use filtered water
“Then you know there are no impurities,” says Shannon.
Boil the water twice
Shannon also recommends boiling the water twice, allowing it to cool between boils. “This removes a fair amount of the oxygen (aka bubbles) from the water so it will be less cloudy,” she says.
Cover your ice cube trays
Use a lid or wrap to keep particles out.
Turn up the temp of your freezer
Since slow freezing is key to creating clear ice, turn your freezer to its warmest setting so the cubes freeze more slowly. But this may sacrifice other foods in your freezer (such as ice cream, meat, etc.), so use caution.
Trim off the cloudy layer
Because the ice freezes in layers, top to bottom, only the bottom layer of ice will be cloudy—the rest will be clear. Use a serrated knife to carefully trim off the cloudy layer, if needed.
How to Use Clear Ice in Cocktails
When ready to use, let the ice cube sit at room temperature for about two minutes before using. This brief rest at room temperature will slightly warm the cube and keep it from cracking when it comes in contact with liquid. Store ice cubes in a bin—or in a paper bag to keep them from sticking together.
Now that you know how to make clear ice, find the right gear to fill out your home bar setup. Then it’s time to make drinks!