Nobler Holiday Gift Guide – Ice

December 17, 2012


We’re heading down the home stretch, and with just a few gift guide posts left to finish out this week, it’s time to think about your cocktail lover’s most overlooked ingredient…

Ice, has taken on a bit of a resurgence in the cocktail world as more and more mixologists and bartenders are starting to pay attention to the flavor impact of ice as it melts. This is something I came across in my own home cocktail making as nothing spoils a perfectly balanced drink more than the smell and taste of some nasty ice. So considering it might be weird to give the gift of cleaning someone’s freezer for them, these covered ice-cube trays are a perfect fix. You’ll be amazed how big of a difference odorless ice makes.

For a little more fun with frozen water, these Kotobuki Spheres’s have quickly become one of my favorites for cocktails and whiskey drinking a like. The cool thing about these spherical ice cubes is not only the excitement they’ll garner from the guests you serve, but also from the science behind them. A sphere is the most compact shape for physical matter with the smallest surface area for a given volume. Besides just sounding smart (particularly after you’ve served a few strong cocktails to your friends), this phenomenon is truly ideal for mixing up drinks. These large ice cube varieties are really meant for straight up liquor or alcohol forward cocktails and the lower SA/volume ratio means slower melting; providing the chill without dilution.

With only a few days left to go, make sure you check back all week for some last minute gift guidance! Happy Monday!



  1. Another spherical ice cube mold with more geek cred: http://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-Death-Cube-Silicone/dp/B009150GV8 (or less general cred, depending on how you look at it).

  2. Also, I’m not convinced that a spherical ice cube makes for better cooling. I think that most of the cooling effect of ice comes from the melting. The specific heat capacity of ice is 2.1 kJ/(kg * K), but the latent heat of fusion of water is 334 kJ/kg, meaning that changing from solid to liquid extracts about 159 more energy from the drink than raising the temperature of the drink by 1K. (as an aside I think this is why whiskey rocks don’t work, there is no change of state).

    So I think that the ideal ice cube would have a shape that would cause it to melt evenly while you were drinking your drink. Perhaps that is a something like a sphere, but I don’t think surface area:volume is the most important factor here.

    • * raising the temperature of the ice (not the drink)

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