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How To Make Crystal Clear Ice Cubes For Whiskey? (2024)

How To Make Crystal Clear Ice Cubes For Whiskey

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Everyone would agree that clear cubed ice blocks look great in a whiskey glass. They melt slower and evenly, too! You can find different methods on how to make crystal clear ice cubes for whiskey. 

However, to make it convenient for you, here are six simple steps to making fancy whiskey ice cubes!

6 Steps in Making Clear Ice Cubes For Whiskey (Cooler Method)

6 Steps in Making Clear Ice Cubes For Whiskey (Cooler Method)

1. Look For An Insulated Cooler

Camping Ice Cooler

Get an insulated cooler that fits inside your freezer. We suggest purchasing even a small cooler if you can. This essential equipment will be the mold of your ice cubes before putting them in the freezer. This might also be a great alternative instead of buying ice makers.  

2. Fill It With Water

Water with ice

Simply fill the cooler with distilled water or filtered tap water (better boiled to remove impurities). Also, pour the water into the cooler carefully to avoid forming air bubbles, leaving a clear ice block. 

3. Put Into The Freezer (Without Lid)

Next is to clear out your freezer space and place your cooler with the lid open into it. This is so you can control the freezing direction. 

Also, it is better to put the cooler in the coldest corner of your freezer, so the water freezes quickly and evenly. After a few hours, you may check the cooler to see if it has started to freeze. 

Read: How To Order Whiskey Like A Pro

4. Pull It Out After 2-3 Days


Wait until the ice block is frozen. After 2-3 days, you can now remove the cooler from the freezer. Turn your small cooler upside down onto a cutting board or ice tray and wait until the entire ice block slides out. Pry the ice molds carefully, then see your clear ice cube block!

5. Cut The Ice Block Into Clear Cubes

You will need to remove the ice block from the cooler using a cleaver, chisel, or ice pick. It is a very critical step and must be done with caution to prevent the cube from cracking. After removing the ice, cut it into blocks or cubes. 

6. Store In A Ziplock Bag & Put Them In The Freezer
ice in a ziploc bag

After cutting the cubes, put the cubes in a ziplock and store them in your freezer. Much better if you can stock up on more ice for a good supply. 

One important tip we learned is that pouring a whiskey or cocktail into the ice cube right after pulling it out from the freezer can break the ice. So, better to let the ice sit for a few minutes before pouring it into your favorite whiskey. But should whiskey be chilled?

3 Easy Alternative Clear Ice Cube-Making Methods

3 Easy Alternative Clear Ice Cube-Making Methods

1. Clear Ice Makers

Many ice makers are available for easy ice cube making. You will add water into the ice maker or ice cube tray and store it in the freezer. 

Also, there are ice machines, which require zero effort. Just fill it with water and switch it on then you’ll have clear ice balls ready to serve! 

2. Ice Mold Designed For Directional Freezing

ice cubes

You can make ice spheres using a mold and any other mold options available. This technique lets ice freeze in a particular direction, pushing the ice’s cloudy impurities. It can also help remove the rough patches from the surface area. 

There are two methods of directional freezing. First is the cooler freezing, which requires molds, an ice cube tray, or a baking dish. Then, salt water freezing, which has the same process as the cooler freezing, except it freezes ice from the bottom up. 

3. Boiled Water Method

To make ice, boil tap water and pour it into a cube mold or ice tray. You can then freeze it in your freezer. Also, you can store any leftover cubes in a container to keep them in. 

Read: Does Clear Whiskey Exist?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will bottled water make clear ice cubes?

Yes, bottled water can make clear ice cubes. However, in making crystal clear ice spheres or cubes, we recommend using bottled distilled water, filtered water, or any water that underwent reverse osmosis [1] to prevent impurities. 

Does boiled water make clear ice cubes?

Yes, boiled water can make clear ice cubes, but it’s not as crystal as distilled water does. It may still have a cloudy part. But, still, the result greatly depends on the freezing process.  

How do you make pure clear ice cubes?

Making pure, clear ice cubes involves a process of controlled freezing to eliminate impurities and trapped air bubbles. Here’s how you can do it:

Use Distilled Water: Start with distilled water, which contains fewer impurities and minerals than tap water. This helps reduce cloudiness in the ice.

Boil the Water: Boil the distilled water to remove any dissolved gases that can contribute to cloudiness.

Cool the Water: Allow the boiled water to cool to room temperature or slightly below.

Freeze Slowly: Pour the cooled water into ice cube trays or a large container. Place it in the freezer and allow it to freeze slowly, ideally at a temperature close to 32°F (0°C). Slow freezing encourages the formation of larger ice crystals and minimizes cloudiness.

Remove Cloudy Ice: As the water freezes, impurities and air bubbles are pushed to the top. Once the ice has partially frozen, remove any cloudy or opaque portions to reveal clearer ice cubes.

Use Insulation: Insulating the sides and top of the container can help control the rate of freezing and further reduce cloudiness.

How do I get big clear ice cubes for Whisky?

To achieve large, clear ice cubes for whiskey, you can use a few methods:

Directional Freezing: Fill an insulated container with distilled water and place it in the freezer. Allow it to freeze partially from the top down, creating a layer of clear ice. Then, remove the container from the freezer and discard the unfrozen water beneath the clear layer. Cut the clear ice into large cubes using a knife or ice pick.

Ice Molds: Use silicone ice molds designed to produce large cubes. These molds often create clearer ice due to their insulation properties and slower freezing process.

Ice Machines: Some specialized ice machines are designed to produce large, clear ice cubes for whiskey. These machines use directional freezing or other methods to create clear ice.

How do bartenders make clear ice?

Bartenders often use a technique called directional freezing to make clear ice. They start with distilled water, boil it to remove impurities, and then allow it to cool. The water is then poured into insulated containers, such as coolers or silicone molds, and placed in the freezer. By controlling the rate of freezing and insulation, bartenders can encourage the formation of clear ice while minimizing cloudiness.

Does pure water make clear ice?

Using pure water, such as distilled water, can contribute to clearer ice cubes compared to tap water. Distilled water contains fewer impurities and minerals that can cause cloudiness in ice. Boiling distilled water before freezing can further remove dissolved gases and impurities, resulting in clearer ice.

What is the proper ice for whiskey?

The proper ice for whiskey is often large, clear ice cubes or spheres. These larger ice forms melt more slowly, diluting the whiskey less and preserving its flavor profile. Additionally, clear ice cubes are visually appealing and enhance the presentation of the drink. Using pure water and controlling the freezing process can help achieve the desired clarity and size for whiskey ice.

What are the best ice cubes for whiskey?

The best ice cubes for whiskey are often large, clear cubes or spheres. These larger ice forms have a slower melting rate, which helps to dilute the whiskey more gradually, preserving its flavor profile. Clear ice cubes are preferred as they add an aesthetic appeal to the drink and are less likely to introduce impurities or off-flavors.

What is the best ice for whisky?

Similar to whiskey, the best ice for whisky is typically large and clear. The goal is to use ice that melts slowly, providing a gradual dilution of the whisky without compromising its taste. The clarity of the ice is valued for its aesthetic appeal and because it indicates a purer composition with fewer impurities.

Why is homemade ice not clear?

Homemade ice may not be clear due to the presence of impurities and dissolved gases in the water. During the freezing process, these impurities and gases can form cloudy or opaque ice. Additionally, the rate of freezing in a typical home freezer is faster, contributing to the formation of smaller ice crystals and cloudiness.

How do you make clear ice with salt water?

Making clear ice with salt water involves a process known as directional freezing. Here’s a simple method:

Boil Water: Start with distilled water and boil it to remove impurities. Let it cool to room temperature.

Salt Solution: Mix a small amount of salt (about 1 tablespoon per quart of water) into the cooled, boiled water.

Freeze Slowly: Pour the saltwater solution into an insulated container and place it in the freezer. Allow it to freeze slowly. The salt lowers the freezing point and encourages the formation of larger ice crystals, resulting in clearer ice.

Remove Cloudy Ice: Once partially frozen, remove any cloudy or opaque ice from the top, revealing the clearer ice beneath.

How do you make soft ice?

Making soft ice involves creating ice with a softer, more chewable texture, often resembling the consistency of shaved ice. Here’s a simple method:

Crushed Ice: Use a blender, ice crusher, or Lewis bag to crush ice into smaller, softer pieces.

Softer Water: Use water with lower mineral content, such as distilled water, to reduce hardness and create softer ice.

Shape and Texture: Adjust the size and shape of the ice by crushing or molding it to achieve a softer, more palatable texture.

Soft ice is commonly used in various cocktails, slushies, and blended drinks, providing a different mouthfeel compared to traditional solid ice cubes.

Why are my ice cubes not clear?

Cloudy ice cubes are often a result of impurities and trapped air in the water. When water freezes rapidly, these impurities and air bubbles become trapped, causing cloudiness. To achieve clear ice cubes, consider using distilled water, boiling it to remove impurities, and freezing it slowly in an insulated container.

Why do clear ice cubes taste better?

The perception that clear ice cubes taste better is subjective. Clear ice is often associated with using purer water, which may reduce the introduction of impurities that can affect taste. While some individuals may notice a difference, taste preferences vary. The primary benefit of clear ice in beverages like whiskey is its aesthetic appeal and the indication of using high-quality water.

Why do you have to use clear ice for whiskey?

Using clear ice for whiskey is not a strict necessity, but it is preferred for several reasons:

Aesthetic Appeal: Clear ice cubes or spheres enhance the visual presentation of whiskey. The clarity allows you to appreciate the color and characteristics of the drink.

Purity: Clear ice is often made using distilled water, reducing impurities that may affect the taste of the whiskey. The purer the water used to make the ice, the less chance of introducing unwanted flavors.

Slower Melting: Larger, clear ice cubes or spheres have a slower melting rate, diluting the whiskey more gradually and preserving its flavor profile for a longer time.

While clear ice is favored for these reasons, the impact on taste is subjective, and some may not notice a significant difference in flavor compared to cloudy ice.

Is it safe to drink distilled water?

Yes, drinking distilled water is generally safe. Distillation is an effective process for removing impurities and contaminants from water, producing a purer form of water. However, it’s essential to maintain a balanced diet and obtain essential minerals from other dietary sources since distilled water lacks minerals present in natural water.

Are distilled water ice cubes safe?

Distilled water ice cubes are safe to consume. Similar to drinking distilled water, using distilled water for ice cubes can result in clearer ice due to the removal of impurities. It’s crucial to handle water, regardless of its source, in a hygienic manner to ensure the safety of the ice cubes. If you have concerns about mineral intake, consider obtaining essential nutrients from other food sources in your diet.

Final Verdict: How To Make Crystal Clear Ice Cubes For Whiskey

A crystal clear cubed ice or ice ball adds elegance to your glass of whiskey. What’s fascinating is we can make our own ice cubes at home and enjoy the best drinking experience. Hopefully, this guide has helped you create crystal clear ice cubes ideal for serving your favorite cocktails. 

Doing so will significantly improve the taste and appearance of your drink. Although it will take some effort to make ice cubes, it is very beneficial for you and your guests as it allows you to enjoy the drink. Cheers! 


  1. Reverse Osmosis
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