Clear Ice With Eamon Rockey

If you follow my Instagram feed it should be apparent that as much as I enjoy drinking a nice cocktail every now and again, I also enjoy making them. While I have managed to put together a pretty versatile and quality home bar, I have been lacking one of the items that help to make a cocktail soigné – clear ice. While working on a video with Betony General Manager and  barman extraordinaire, Eamon Rockey, we also had a discussion on how to make clear ice. Here’s what Eamon had to say.

Clear Ice With Eamon Rockey from John Sconzo on Vimeo.

I tried Eamon’s advice and it worked pretty well though there may be a few things that I can improve upon with my execution. The result though, was exactly as Eamon suggested it would be.

IMG_9919I took a lid off a cooler and filled it with water filtered by reverse osmosis.

IMG_9920I cleared a place in the freezer and set it in.

IMG_9921The ice began freezing from the top down as Eamon suggested that it would. It was taking a while. After about 24 hours, I took the cooler out of the freezer. It looked frozen from the surface, but I could see small air bubbles underneath that would move when I shook the cooler – not ready yet!

IMG_9694I let it continue to freeze through the weekend, but then realized that it was going to be difficult to get the block out of the cooler. First I tried to run some hot water over it to see if it would melt, but cracks formed instead. Finally, I left it out overnight to melt around the edges. The block came out easily the next morning. Ideally, I should have carved it then, but I didn’t have the time, so I put it back in the freezer.

IMG_9905Removed from the freezer, one could see how as the ice slowly froze, the air was forced to the bottom of the cooler. In the photo, the ice is standing on its side. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of trying to chisel it before letting it warm up. I succeeded in chipping off a lot of shards without any clean geometry.

IMG_9927I did manage to end up with some nice, mostly clear pieces.

IMG_9928Here is a Calumet Old Fashioned with a nice shard of (mostly) clear ice. Next time, I will let the ice thaw enough to remove it from the cooler and then cut it right away.


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2 Responses to Clear Ice With Eamon Rockey

  1. JC says:

    Don’t let it freeze all the way to the bottom. That takes longer, is harder to handle and produces no benefit. Take it out of the freezer when the block is only half frozen — 24 hours or so depending on your freezer, how much water and how good the cooler insulation is.

    You will have clear ice and unfrozen water (which will drain away). Which is easier to remove from the cooler and much easier to cut up than a fully frozen block. Which is half cloudy ice that has to be chopped away.

    No need for filtered water. Straight tap is just fine.

    When cutting the ice, let the clear block warm up/temper a bit. Same goes for when you use the clear ice in a drink. The surface of totally dry/hard/cold ice right from the freezer will crack (negating all the work you’ve done) if you pour liquid on it.

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