I’ve been stuck at home for what feels like an eternity, and I’m guessing y’all have as well. It has been almost a year since I’ve been able to go to a cocktail or whiskey bar and enjoy an expertly crafted drink. Making my own craft cocktails at home has helped fill the void, but there has been one component I haven’t been able to reproduce, though, and that’s the massive spherical ice cube that usually comes in these drinks. Naturally, I did some internet searching and found Glacious ice presses — today, we’re testing them out to see if they’re worth the extra effort.
So, why big spherical ice cubes? It’s all about the surface area.
Adding ice to a cocktail adds some dilution to the alcohol and chills the drink. This has beneficial impacts on the flavor and characteristics, but if you go too far it can flat-out ruin a drink. The key to avoiding drowning your drink in water is to have an ice cube with the smallest surface area possible, because the surface area of an ice cube is directly proportional to the amount of water it adds to the drink over time.
Larger amounts of surface area, like multiple small ice cube chunks, means the ice will melt and increase the amount of water in your cocktail much faster. Having a single massive ice cube cuts down on that surface area, even if it’s a square from a tray. But the smallest possible surface area for an ice cube is if it is round… hence, the spherical cocktail ice cube.
Here’s where my wife starts to think I’m crazy.
There are a number of silicon molds for spherical ice cubes that are dirt cheap. Just add water, pop them in the freezer, and in a couple hours you’ve got a perfectly circular ice cube. Or, at least, that’s the theory. For me, though, I’ve never really been able to get them to freeze properly. Either the mold leaks or the ice cube is toppled while it is still freezing, sending water all over the freezer and becoming a real pain to clean. What I wanted was a way to make a standard square ice cube and then somehow shape that into a ball. That’s where the Glacious ice cube press comes into the picture.
This machine is designed as two massive halves to a single spherical mold. Heat up the mold by running it under warm water (or putting the kettle on and dousing it for a moment), then add a square ice cube to the middle and place the other half of the mold on top. The weight of that top mold will force the cube to take shape, melting away anything that isn’t perfectly round.
Does it work? Absolutely, 100% yes. It works exactly as intended, producing relatively round ice cubes every single time. The only word of warning I’d have is that you do need a rather large ice cube to start, at least 2.5 inches in diameter if you want to get it right. Smaller ice cubes won’t cut it — as seen in the video above, I only had a 2 inch mold and you can see how it’s not exactly spherical as a result.
The only problem with this product is the price. At near-as-makes-no-difference $200, this is not an inexpensive investment in your whiskey. This is definitely not the first piece of bar equipment I’d recommend you spend the money on. Heck, it isn’t even in my top 20 list. But I’ll be damned if it doesn’t work as promised, cranking out impressive spherical ice on demand. And now my stuck-at-home cocktails are just a little bit closer to perfection.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Is it affordable? No. Do you need one? No. But does it work? Absolutely.