The Guide to Male Lifestyle in Las Vegas

Drinking Whisky with Ice Spheres

July 2, 2013

Many upscale bars and restaurants have begun serving premium scotch and whisky pours or drinks with large ice spheres rather than smaller cubes. The main reason is that smaller cubes melt faster, and dilute the flavor. Any man who loves a good scotch or bourbon will tell you straight up; dilution is a bad thing. Conversely, a large piece of ice melts more slowly, chilling the drink while not contaminating the flavor. A spherical ice cube in a wide tumbler or highball glass touches the scotch or bourbon only minimally, thus preserving the flavor while maintaining the chill.

My first experience drinking with an ice sphere was at Twenty Five Lusk in San Francisco, while visiting with good friends. I ordered a scotch Old Fashioned, and it was honestly one of the best ones I’ve ever had. Aside from the combination of ingredients, which I’ve been trying to replicate ever since, the drink was chilled perfectly by a large sphere of ice. I resolved to create my own ice spheres.

Researching the topic, I came upon this old Gizmodo post and learned that perfect ice spheres can be created within a few seconds by placing a large ice block in a warmed ice mold that presses the sphere into shape.

Cirrus Ice Sphere Press

Great. The problem? That large ice mold runs upwards of $800 or more. There basically is no way to justify that kind of price point to the wife, shy of opening my own restaurant. Which, maybe I will one day, but not this decade. However, if you have money burning a hole in your pocket then an ice sphere press is the way to go; they create perfect, translucent ice spheres every time.

As for me, I’m content with a couple of Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds I found on sale for $11 at the most recent Neon Bazaar downtown. I’ve filled them with distilled water and ordinary tap water, with inconsistent results both ways. The spheres they produce do tend to crack and eventually break up. However, they still provide the perfect chill to a glass of scotch or bourbon, or a good Old Fashioned, without diluting the drink, and that’s really all you need the spheres to accomplish.

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