There is a lot of debate about putting ice in cocktails and other drinks. Some say that if ice is added to a whiskey that it dilutes the flavor. Others say that most single malts and whiskies benefit from the addition of a little bit of water to liberate the flavors. I’m not going to enter that debate, but let’s say that you want to use some ice in your drink. You can buy ice form a store in a plastic bag, crack some ice out of the regular ice-cube tray, or get your ice form your machine. But what if you want some interesting shapes designed for the different sizes of glasses? In that case there are a number of different products out there. For comparison purposes, each glass shown below has the same amount of whiskey.
In the picture above I show the Rox Ice Ball Maker. This costs about $9 on Amazon Prime. The balls are an excellent shape. The silicone mold does create some “flash” around each ball, but 4 seconds under running water will make them melt away. The size will allow use in small or large glasses. Link: http://amzn.com/B00CBM3A8Y
Next I show the Tovolo Sphere Ice Mold. The bottom part of the mold is regular plastic and the top is silicone. It creates a perfect sphere every time. The ice balls are 2.5″ across, so these are huge. They will only fit larger rocks-style glasses. A set of two are about $9 on Amazon Prime. In my opinion they are mostly for show as it can be challenging to keep the giant ball of ice from wanting to come out of the glass every time you tip it. I recommend that you not overfill the sphere to make it easier to extract. Too much water and you get a lot of extra ice on top of the silicone cap. To release the sphere you can run some hot water over the bottom plastic part. Link: http://amzn.com/B007ACTN54
Next up is the Tovolo King Cube Stratus Blue Ice tray. It costs $9 for just one tray on Amazon Prime. This is similar to the familiar ice tray found in every refrigerator lacking an ice maker. However, the tray is a somewhat floppy silicone and the cubes are perfect 2″ squares. It can be slightly difficult to extract the cubes, but they are an excellent size for drinks calling for larger cubes. Link: http://amzn.com/B00395FHRO
The final real ice tray is the Tovolo Perfect Cube Ice Tray. This comes as a set of two for about $15 on Amazon Prime. Each cube is one ounce. Although these cubes are the most difficult to extract, the size is about perfect if your idea of a cocktail includes lots of small cubes. Link: http://amzn.com/B000QIU7X6
Finally, for those who want to chill their drink without adding any melt water, there is the whisky stone option: Teroforma Whisky Stones. These are about $20 on Amazon Prime. These small stones are made of soapstone and are much smaller than any of the other options I’ve tried. These stones do slightly chill a dram of whisky without having to deal with either the water or the tray. Just grab them out of the storage bag from the freezer and drop them in the glass. These are fairly pricey (for a bag of rocks) but they do the job. I do worry a bit about dropping rocks into a glass and it is certainly something that you want to keep away from either children or the highly inebriated to prevent choking hazards. Don’t use these to chill the Kool-Aid. Soapstone was chosen as it is not porous. Link: http://amzn.com/B002GZX2DE
Finally, for those who want water but no ice, there is always the option of using a small pitcher to pour clean water into the glass. In the picture above, I show a Genmorangie Crystal Water Pitcher. Unfortunately, I can’t find any for sale stateside, so I can’t even tell you how much this costs here. However, it is a very well-built pitcher that is designed to meter out very small amounts of water.