I love clear ice. If you follow me on Instagram, you might already know this. While some criticize it for wasting water, I think it’s magical. There’s nothing classier in a cocktail than a diamond of ice in your glass. As a home bartender, I have been pushing myself to try new things. I have shared my favorite clear ice cube maker with you in this post. And, I partnered with a local clear ice company to bring you content with their clear ice. I recently purchased my own custom ice stamp, so I thought I would walk you through the process of making clear custom ice.
Step 1 – Order a Custom Ice Stamp
I ordered this gorgeous custom ice stamp through Etsy. While there are plenty of Etsy shops that offer similar products, SozDat in the Ukraine has incredible reviews and the service was outstanding. The handle is sturdy and my logo design came out sharp. The price was fair and turn-around time was very fast. I really couldn’t have imagined a better outcome. The only thing to note is that you will need to provide your logo to the shop as a vector file. If you don’t have a logo, you could also request your initials, a special date, or an image you’d like on your ice.
Step 2 – Make Clear Ice
I’ve included a side-by-side of a regular ice cube and a clear one so you can see the difference. I use a True Cubes Clear Ice Cube Tray which is an affordable product for making ice at home. Through the magic of directional freezing, the tray provides you with four 2″ x 2″ x 2″ cubes using tap water. You don’t need to pre-boil the water, as the freezing process will also provide some purification. Just fill to the fill line, tap against the counter to let air bubbles escape, and freeze for 18-24 hours. The most important thing is to not leave the mold in the freezer for too long, as it makes it harder to separate the two silicon trays.
When the ice is done, you will separate the two trays and break the ice off the bottom of the top layer (see above). Once the bottom is clear, just pop out the cubes from the tray and store them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. Make sure the cubes aren’t touching so they don’t stick together. I’ve also heard about people lightly misting their clear ice with Everclear to keep the cubes from sticking. Worst case scenario, you can also use an ice pick or a chisel to gently tap the cubes apart.
Step 3 – Make Your Cocktail
Since I have plenty of posts about making cocktails, I won’t go into great detail here. I’ll just say that if you plan to use your ice in a drink, you’ll want to make it before you make your custom ice. And move along to Step 3 as it should be done at the same time as this step.
Step 4 – Add the Clear Ice to Your Glass
This is actually a simultaneous task to Step 2. In order to prevent cracking your clear ice when you pour your cocktail, you will want to temper it. This simply means to leave the ice at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to let it warm up slightly. It also provides the benefit of allowing little shavings of ice melt away to reveal perfectly clear ice. If you are in an outdoor setting and it’s hot, you can reduce the amount of time you let the ice set out ahead of the next step.
Step 5 – Pour Your Cocktail or Spirit
Due to the temperature difference between your drink or spirit and the ice, you will want to pour it over the ice first. This will continue to clarify any rough spots or cloudiness that might have formed as the ice was being tempered. If you do this after you have customized your ice cube, it’s likely to melt away your design. (And yes, I learned that through practice.)
Step 6 – Make Your Custom Ice
Place the room-temperature brass stamp on top of your ice cube. Try to center it to get the full design on the cube. I would recommend leaving it on for no more than 3-4 seconds. If you leave it longer, the stamp will freeze to the ice cube and get stuck. Despite the logic, you also don’t need to apply any pressure when you’re stamping the ice. When doing multiple cubes at a time, place your stamp briefly in warm water in between to raise the temperature of the brass stamp back up. If you do manage to get your stamp stuck to the ice, take the ice out of the glass and run the brass under a small stream of warm water. No guarantees you can salvage it, but it’s worth a try!
And there’s your step by step guide on how to make your own custom ice. I hope you have some fun and I’d love to see your attempts. Tag @cocktailsaway in your Instagram photos so I can check it out. Cheers!