Grand Member (7 years)
Joined: Apr 03, 2008
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
|Posted: 2013-01-25 04:33 am  Permalink|
On 2013-01-23 11:30, Hakalugi wrote:
On 2013-01-23 04:09, AceExplorer wrote:
...And for certain drinks I have switched to using ball molds now. ... There are a lot of crappy ones being sold, and I had to invest about $100 until I settled on a brand of ball molds that work "mostly" well and didn't leak and had a good size.)
And what brand was that?
edited title to encompass more than just silicone molds.
[ This Message was edited by: Hakalugi 2013-01-23 14:31 ]
Haka, thanks for creating the new thread for ice molds. Here is a write-up on what I've been using, and my thoughts on what I've tried. Round ice is definitely very impressive. It appears that very few people in the general public seem to know about it yet, and when you serve a drink with a large single ball, it makes a good and unique impression. I do recommend adding these to your repertoire if you're looking for a little extra flair.
First I bought "Final Touch" silicone molds, they make 2" balls, come in a pack of six, and the cost is about $20. The bases come in bright colors although this is something your guests are not likely to see. They work well, seal very nicely and don't leak, and the ice pops out easily from the molds.
Second, when I learned there were 2.5" molds available, I decided that would look and probably work better in certain glassware like in a double old-fashioned glass. I found 2.5" molds by Mastrad who is based in Paris, France. They come in packs of four at a cost of about $20 along with a stacking tray to save space in your freezer if you have more than one set. I figured that the French take their cooking and kitchen stuff seriously, so this must be an awesome product. I was wrong. I bought four sets of these big boys (about $80 plus shipping) and discovered that they were less than what I expected. The failure rate was high -- about half the ice balls would not hold water well. I literally had to take all of them at the same time, fill them with water in my kitchen sinks, then let them sit overnight to determine which ones were "leakers." Then I switched tops back and forth to determine if it was just a funky combination of certain tops with certain bases. I had mixed success and ended up calling the seller to return two of the four as defective. The seller was very understanding and let me keep the defective product and shipped two more brand-new sets. (I bought the Mastrad molds based on "best price" from a small kitchen store with a web site, somewhere in or around New York. I got lucky - they had awesome customer service and their name escapes me because they eventually stopped emailing me their ads. A web search indicates they don't sell these anymore or may have gone out of business.)
My conclusion? The Final Touch 2" molds work very well. The 2.5" molds are bigger and seem to be the ideal size for most things, but the Mastrad brand quality is very disappointing. But if you buy enough of 'em you'll end up with a good set of non-leakers.
I saw the other very pricey aluminum molds for sale, but I don't think those are worthwhile. While they make very nice ice, I think they are way too labor intensive. It's nice to use silicone, put them in your freezer overnight, and then you have all your work done for you by the next morning.
I experimented with ice clarity and I tried different kinds of water -- tap, softened, distilled, boiled and cooled, water at various heated temperatures, and water which I let "rest" overnight in an open container covered with a thin cloth. In all cases I did not produce perfectly clear ice, so I eventually gave up trying and was completely satisfied with the round semi-clear ice. Clear ice is impressive, but I haven't found a way to make it in my molds yet. I found that my guests don't care about ice clarity in mixed cocktails, but if you're serving a single spirit on the rocks in a short and clear glass it would make a visual and impressive difference.
Fortunately both my successes and my failures drove me to drink and I definitely came out ahead in the end. Lower-end ice mold performance likely varies greatly from one brand to the next, and I consider them "experimental" because they can be temperamental. I recommend buying one set and testing before you commit entirely to a particular brand.
"Big balls" jokes were intentionally omitted from the above. Size does matter. All rights reserved. All wrongs avenged. Your mileage may vary.