Using Salt Walter as an Insulator to Make Clear Ice
The Pink Peanut Drink

More Fun with Ice: The Time Bomb

The fun with ice continues! In ongoing experiments freezing things in ice, I decided to try freezing food coloring in the middle of an ice cube. Then when the ice melts, the coloring will release and change the drink. 

Ice in glass_tn
Click on the link below to see how I did it and what happened. 

The first step was to make perfectly clear ice.  Then I heated the stubby end of a bar spoon in a pot of boiling water and kept plunging it into the ice until I made a tunnel. 


Ice with hole_tn
Then I added several drops of food coloring. After I let that freeze for a few hours, I added a couple drops of water and let that freeze. I then added more water to top it up and seal the cube.

Ice filled with food coloring_tn
  Then it was time to add the time bomb to a beverage. I just used water for this first demonstration. 

Ice with coloring in glass2_tn
The ice melted a bit then turned sideways.

Ice sideways in glass_tn
After a few minutes, the dramatic leak began.

Leaking first_tn
Leaking 1_tn
Leak 5_tn

And finally, all was black. 

Black glass_tn
So, this little trick works fairly well. Drink fast or your cocktail turns black!

The ice I use to fill the hole after adding the food coloring is very cloudy, but I don't think it's so terrible. 

This method could be used to add other things to drink beyond color: perhaps it could be filled with bitters, or citrus oil, or absinthe to change the flavor of a drink mid-way through it. 

An index of all of the ice experiments on Alcademics can be found here.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Trader Tiki

At teardrop there was a drink served with a tepache ice cube, if I recall. It kept changing the flavor of the drink, was very nifty, and delicious.


This is excellent! I will definitely be giving this a try.


Awesome idea! Would be fun to double the dye. Do the above, but rather than cap with water, do another dye and cap with thin water. if you use red first and cap with yellow you could get a nice color shifting from yellow melting first then the red. Your drink fades yellow... orange... red.

Camper English

Ha! Great idea!

Beachbum Berry

Sheer genius, Camper...!


I had a drink that was filled with Cynar ice cube bombs. My Manhattan turned into a Little Italy over time.


I was trying to come up with a drink that would eventually change to a different color and had a hard time getting it to work. This is brilliant! I look forward to using this method in the future. Thanks a lot.

Dr. Blaze Hampton

This is pretty amazing. How difficult would it be to mass produce this??? And by mass produce I mean making 20 to 30 per night???

Colin Gore

Very sexy. I bet you could fashion a jig that sits in a tray of water that you're freezing into cubes. Like a grid of fingers that sticks into each. Then you'd just have to freeze the clear cubes, take them off the jig, then fill them and refreeze. Easy mass production, scalable to infinity per night with minimal effort. No fussing with hot bar spoons. After all, tunneling through ice with a spoon is for stranded arctic explorers, not cocktail gurus.

Dejan /Lounge Area

This is excellent! :) I also have to try this out. An idea of changing the flavor(s) of a drink after serving it is pretty cool :)

Louis Anderman

Brilliant. I like Frederic's idea of the liquor filled ice bomb, to make two cocktails in one. My thought is to fill one with Violette, so you can make an Aviation both ways.

Camper English

Yes! The Aviation two ways. Or a Sloe Comfortable Screw with Up Against the Wall ice!


Hope this isn't a metaphor for the human heart.

Louis Anderman

Yeah, if you think along the lines of cocktails that vary only by the addition of one or two ingredients, the possibilities are endless. A Whiskey or Hollands Gin cocktail that morphs into an Improved, or an Absinthe and Violette bomb to turn a Martini into an Atty?


wow, I absolutely love this incredible idea! looks so uncanny

have a nice time,


This is a fun technique for garnishing too - plunge a hot poker into the ice cube, and then stick in some crazy garnish atop a skewer. Did you have trouble making the hole in the ice? It always took me a while...

Camper English

Yes it took many reheatings to get the hole that deep. I was thinking one of those pokers for a wood-burning kit would be a good tool for this task.


Great idea!
Use it for "Party Roulette." Make an equal number of ice bombs as there are guests. One of the ice bombs will have a suprise inside. Dole out the ice bombs and wait for the fun to begin! Make the ice bombs using opaque water to hide which "bomb" is armed then load one ice bomb with extra bitter lemon, hot sauce, etc. Sit back, wait for the ice to melt and then wait for the reaction of the "bombed." Or arm all of the ice bombs and the first peson to make a face loses. I can't wait to try this! I'll either be the hit of the party or my family will never ask me to Thanksgiving dinner again!

Camper English

Then it would make sense to make it with Russian vodka, so it's a Russian Roulette round of drinks.


I seen some icecube trys that were shot glassees. You could make the shot glass out of ice then fill with the color or what ever freez then add more water and you would not have to try and poke hloes.

Susan Williams Designs

That is a great idea with the shot glass ice trays. And this is a great idea with the dye.

I'll have to try it when the family comes for a visit. They are convinced I have to much idle time on my hands. This would prove the point, but in a very cool way.


I always like to come up with movie-themed cocktails for Oscar night. This strikes me as good inspiration for an "Inception" cocktail...a cocktail within a cocktail within a cocktail to match all the stacked dreams in the movie. Maybe an Aviation that gets a subsequent hit of Creme de Violette, that then gets a second kick of food coloring to turn it deep purple?


I have been working on making clear ice balls using the mold (though not quite there yet), but saw this post and tried a few with food colouring inserted.

I used a portable drill to make the hole - takes about three seconds. Let the food colouring freeze well first before covering with cold water to reseal the ice ball - otherwise the water will melt the food colouring pocket and you'll have a coloured ice plug that starts melting as soon as the ice ball hits the drink.

Here is the video for anyone interested:

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)