A while ago I supported the Kickstarter from Polar Ice Tray for their Polar Ice Ball maker. I've made clear ice before, but getting it into a perfect round shape is difficult. Therefore I want to share my experience with this product and help you decide if this is something you could use.
A Closer Look At The Polar Ice Ball
Since I explained the theory behind clear ice and where you can read up on it in my previous article, I will skip that part and focus on the review of the Polar Ice Ball.
What's In It?
The Polar Ice Ball is quite simple. You get a black foam shell that isolates the water from the cold and a plastic tray that fits into this isolation. On top of this construct you put two silicone molds that form a sphere. The lower half has tiny holes in it so the air can escape to the bottom while the water freezes from the top. The upper half has a medium sized hole in the center so you can fill the whole thing with water.
Assembly is quick, but filling the ball with water is a bit tedious. The hole is quite small and you have to wait until the water made it past the tiny holes and into the bottom half. Tapping the whole thing helps and it also has the added effect, that all the air comes to the top, which helps with the freezing process.
I recommend to not fill the whole ice ball maker to the top. Since the water expands when it freezes, it will overflow and create a frozen tip on top of your ice sphere. You can see the effect in the picture below as I still haven't found the perfect amount of water to fill in.
Removing the ice balls from their molds is pretty easy and doesn't take as much effort as with the Neat Ice Kit. The silicone molds come off easily and you have your ice ball in an instant.
Getting the lower part out is a bit more troublesome, as the plastic can't be bent and you have to either wait or warm up the outer shell so the ice comes loose. There is some luck involved as there were times when the ice went out pretty easily and other times I had to put in quite the effort.
How's The Ice?
To show you the results you can get with this ice ball mold I revisited the experiment from my Neat Ice Kit experience, but this time just used two different kinds of water: normal tap water and distilled water. I'm sure boiling the water before will help, but I'm not as comfortable as with the Neat Ice Kit to fill hot water into the Polar Ice Ball. Plastic deforms when hot and I wouldn't want to ruin the whole thing. However, it should be fine if you let it cool a bit first.
In the picture above you can see the tap water sphere on the left and the sphere made with distilled water on the right. There is a clear difference and again I blame it on the high amount of minerals in the water around here. The sphere isn't perfectly clear, but it's beautiful and more translucent than the picture leads to believe.
As mentioned before you can also see the little knobs on the top of the ice. To get a really perfectly round sphere you have to either measure the water perfectly or shave a bit off. I suggest the latter. It's something you have to do extra if you want the perfect ice ball, but it isn't as complicated or time-consuming as making the whole ball from scratch.
Another nice thing is that you can use the not so pretty water that's left in the bottom of the ice tray. As you can see in the picture above you are left with quite the weirdly shaped ice blocks, but they are perfect for making cracked ice to use in shaking or stirring your drink. If you are making punch you can also use these to chill since they are quite massive.
Is It Worth The Money?
The current price for a Polar Ice Ball is $35. The physics behind the ice maker are sound, but in my opinion there is room for improvement. If the bottom tray was made out of silicone too instead of plastic, then you could remove the ice in it easier. Also the foam isolation could be a bit thicker.
It is a great and easy way to make ice spheres and even if they aren't perfectly clear they still feel great in your drink as they roll around. With one Polar Ice Ball you can make one ice ball a day and the time you have to invest in preparing everything is about 5 minutes. You have to decide for yourself if it's worth your money, but I like it even though it's a bit pricey.
If you have any questions about the Polar Ice Ball you can leave a comment and I will try to answer them. Next time will be a topic for Mixology Monday and a way to fight off the cold of winter. Follow me on Twitter or subscribe to stay up to date.
Title image via pixabay.