How to Freeze a Bottle in a Super Clear Ice block
September 17, 2015
I've done a few years' worth of ice experiments here on Alcademics, and sometimes bartenders contact me on how to solve ice problems. (That should be my new reality show: Ice Whisperer.)
Here is the index to the ice experiments on Alcademics, where you'll find how to make clear ice blocks, clear ice cubes, clear ice spheres, and many other ice successes and failures.
One bartender was curious about some ways to present bottles in ice yet still be able to read the labels. I presented a few ideas and have probably found a solution that works for the bar (that I'll share when it's open), but this method is something that does work but wasn't a great fit for that particular program.
Anyway, enough with the backstory. Look at this cool spinning bottle!
This technique uses directional freezing (freezing inside an insulated cooler with the top off so that it only freezes from the top-down), with the bottle raised high so that it's in the clear part of the ice block.
Method for Freezing a Bottle in a Clear Ice Block:
1. Fill a picnic cooler with water.
2. Place some sort of stand on the bottom of the cooler. I used a plastic box in one experiment and an oversized metal piece that looks like a napkin ring in another. Anything that lets water move through it is ideal.
3. Place the bottle on its side, diagonally across the cooler. Note that very tall bottles may not fit in your cooler. Fill the cooler with water to an inch or two above the bottle.
4. Leave the top off the cooler and let it freeze for a couple of days.
5. When the block freezes either all the way through to the bottom of the cooler, or (better year) just to the point at which it starts to become cloudy at the bottom part of the block, remove it from the freezer. Tip over the cooler and let the block slide out.
6. Let the ice slowly warm to temper it, then use an ice pick (the three-prong one is my preferred tool for this task) to scrape off the cloudy section. You can break off the cloudy ice in any creative way you want. As you can see, for the Tanqueray I did a super cool nugget-style chipping, while for the Plymouth Sloe Gin I did a scrape on only one side so that it's super flat on the front surface.
As you can see, the top of the bottle is at the corner of the block, so you can easily open it and pour from the bottle still.
Any worry about the ice cracking the glass as it expands due to freezing?
Posted by: jax | January 22, 2019 at 11:49 AM
I'd be worried if it were a glass bottle full of water, but as alcohol doesn't freeze at a standard freezer temperature there's nothing to worry about with bottles of booze.
Posted by: Camper English | January 22, 2019 at 11:54 AM
I thought that using DISTILLED water would automatically freeze clear?
Posted by: Sandy | September 17, 2020 at 02:11 PM