Oh, they've been around. For a while now. But a few weeks back Clean Plate Charlie stumbled onto a Japanese ball-perfecting machine. Sounds sort of lecherous. Right?
Fortunately, it is not. Ice balls have become a popular means for improving the quality of spirits on the rocks. In fact, Macallan even sells signature Japanese ice ball making machines. Clean Plate Charlie decided to chat with whiskey connoisseur and Tap 42 Beverage Director Paige Nast about the science and means for producing these beautiful balls of ice.
According to Nast, "The shape of the sphere has less surface area, which melts slower than having small cubes of ice. A bit of water actually opens up spirits that have been aged and this works well, because it dissolves much slower than ice."
For those of you looking to spend some cash on the ultimate bar-toy, the Macallan Ice Ball Machine can be found for £650--that's over $1,000 --although we have heard that you can find them for around 500 bucks. The machine, which is made of aluminum alloy, uses gravity to transform a block of ice into perfectly shaped ice balls 65 mm in diameter. It comes with four ice cube molds.
Doesn't it seem a bit superfluous to take the time to freeze a block of ice to throw into your $500 to $1,000 machine? Yeah, we think so too.
At the bar, Nast just freezes her balls straight into a sphere-shaped mold. Those can be found on eBay starting at $3.53. Or if you're looking to go more professional, you can check out options for different sized trays on kegworks.com--they start at $12.95.
Mind you: there is one trick. For beautiful balls, Nast recommends distilled water.