Maybe you enjoy clear ice. Maybe someone in your life enjoys living the clear ice life. Here are a few gifts you can consider for them to up their game! These are all things I've tried and used this year, and find them to be super important in processing, carving, and enjoying clear ice.
Hammered Blade Ice Carving Knife
This knife is available from Star Shaker. It has a slightly curved blade that makes it easy to apply pressure evenly when turning clear ice blocks into gems. Getting this knife was a game changer. I discovered it by watching a number of Instagram videos.
Cost: ~$75 plus shipping
Buy it now
Japanese Nata Tool for block cutting
If you are working with larger blocks of ice, you need something that is going to make all of your major block cuts. I've found this Japanese Nata tool to be impressive to the eye, and effective on the ice. You can get it at Bespoke Post.
Buy it now
Lewis Ice Bag and Mallet for splitting and crushing
Once you have a nice blade like the Nata Tool for splitting, you need an attractive wooden mallet to make your cuts, but not damage your blade. I recommend this set from Visku.
Buy it now
BarConic Japanese Ice Saw
The last essential tool is a good ice saw to make your initial splitting cuts. There are lots of options, and the prices range over hundreds of dollars. I've settled on a more affordable model that does a decent job. You aren't going to cut through the entire block with it, but it will make a good splitting cut when you need it. It's called the BarConic Ice Saw.
Buy it now
Keep it clean with bar mats
The other nice discovery this year was the BonBon Professional 18" x 12" Rubber Bar Service Mat. When you are working with ice, there is a quite a bit of melt that happens on your kitchen counter. These mats store the water meaning it doesn't run all over the place. Once you are done cutting, you dump the water out of them. No mess! No fuss!
Buy it now
Clear ice at home with Ice.Made.Clear.
This year, I received my first clear ice maker for the house. It was a project that I backed on Kickstarter, and it produces six 2" ice cubes every 24 hours. While I still prefer to buy my clear ice in bulk, it is always great to have a ready supply of rocks glass sized cubes ready to go at a moments notice.
Buy it now
Get yourself a Clear Ice Life T-shirt!
Why not gear up and show others how much you love clear ice? For that reason, I created a T-shirt based around a common question whenever I go into a cocktail bar: "So, tell me more about your ice program..." Wear your passion proudly and support this site!
Buy it now
Those are my picks!
I hope this gift list is helpful for you or someone you love living the clear ice life. Happy holidays!
NeatPour posted an article about a brand new machine that will create perfect ice spheres in the comfort of your own home or business. It uses the Hoshizaki Ice Ball machine. It's only, like, $7,600... at that point it's practically free right?
Photo from Umami Art
The article gives a shout-out to clear ice:
However, after a decade and change of craft cocktails, perfect, clear ice is now the standard, not the exception. It is in this environment that Japanese appliance giant Hoshizaki is elevating their game with a line of ice-makers that produce beautiful ice-balls.
Pro move with the ice stamp. I still haven't purchased one of those... yet.
For the second time in two weeks, I was involved with a charity Bourbon tasting and clear ice master class. A collection of folks learned the importance of intentional ice. Minds were blown. Doors were opened. Much fun was had by all. Keep spreading the word!
Some friends and I hosted a charity bourbon tasting and clear ice master class this weekend. We sampled five selections of bourbon, and instructed attendees in the ways of clear ice carving and enjoyment. And then watched the Red Sox lose an 18 inning game. But that's ok, because they won game 5 the next night and secured the World Series win. :) But enough about sports ball, here are some ice night photos!
When I first started researching Makers, one of the first ones I came across in the US was Quari Ice out of Chicago. They are doing massive stuff to bring artisan-quality ice into the homes of cocktail enthusiasts in the Midwest. Check out this article in the Chicago Tribune:
Artisanal ice has been trending for years in mixology circles, but crystal-clear ice in even the most basic shapes has been, until recently, out of reach for the home mixologist â unless said enthusiast owns a band saw.
Quari Ice would like to change that. In 2015, husband and wife entrepreneurs Neil and Audrey Sullivan set out to turn the home ice game on its ear. The couple spent two years developing their proprietary operation, a process that included numerous trips to Japan, much trial and error, and plenty of expert advice on innovation.
Check this out! If you ever had a dream that there would be a convenient machine that just sits on your counter and cranks out clear ice blocks every four hours, and you have $1,500 to make that dream a reality, than this article over at CNET is going to get you pretty excited!
"Even though I only saw a limited sneak peek of the $1,499 Forge, I came away impressed. At that price, the Forge is a niche product to be sure, and it should offer features no home ice maker can match."
Image taken from the CNET article. Read it now!
This looks pretty solid!
I came across an article this week about the rise of clear ice in India bars. It was authored by Shivani Kagti, of the Bangalore Mirror Bureau. Clear ice is taking the world by storm!
"So, why go through all this trouble to make ice? The primary reason is to ensure that ice doesn’t melt easily and dilute your drink. To prove his point, Matmary hands me two glasses of Old Fashioned – one with a single large block of ice and another with three or four smaller cubes. Five minutes later, there is a noticeable change in the liquid levels of both the drinks. The smaller cubes are melting faster, increasing the water levels in the drink. Trying a sip of each drink, one can now taste the difference as well. While the cocktail with a single block of ice still tastes the same as my first sip, the second one has watered down considerably. As Pravesh Pandey, co-founder of Byg Brewski, explains, the lesser surface area of ice is exposed to the drink, the slower it will melt."
Read the article
...I mean, that's one of the reasons! The other reason is that it just looks amazing! :)
The answer is of course "YES!", but this is an interesting article where two bartenders share their opinions about the use of hand carved clear ice in their drinks, and the business impact.
Samuel Jeavons, group head bartender, London Cocktail Club, UK, says No.
Andrew Dickey, head bartender, 9Below, Dublin, Ireland, says Yes.
Give it a read!
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ClearIce.Life is maintained by Trapper Markelz in pursuit of elevated cocktail experiences at home, and with friends.
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