Thanks to Molecular Recipes for the Image.
Quite simply, the Hollow Ice Sphere cocktail is literally a frozen ball of ice with empty space inside. The idea is that you can fill that empty space with a cocktail, which will chill the drink. When serving you can either give your patron a small hammer (or do it yourself) and crack the ice-ball, releasing the drink and also creating some large ice cubes at the same time. It’s very theatrical and satisfying for your patrons to be involved in the drink preparation.
Hollow Ice Spheres may sound and look tricky to make but they’re actually very easy. The time spent on preparing these beforehand is more than offset by the time saved when serving, especially when compared to a cocktail like a mojito. But how do you do it? Here’s a simple step-by-step guide giving you the low-down:
You can also serve simply with a straw (but where’s the fun in that?) – dude4food.blogspot.com.
Plan your cocktail. What’s going to work inside the ice ball? It all depends on what style of drink works best in your bar. I would steer clear of drinks which are too high proof as they may melt your ice ball a bit too quickly. Fruity drinks generally work well, as do the classics. We’ve included a very easy recipe at the bottom for you to try.
Procure your equipment. For this to work you’re going to need the following:
- Ice Sphere Mould
- Syringe with Large Needle/Aperture
Multi-ice ball maker from barproducts.com.
Fill the ice moulds with water as you normally would and place them in the coldest part of the freezer. It helps if there’s clear space around the mould so try to place the spheres on a rack or at least away from any boxes/bags of peas/bodies that might interfere with air flow.
You’ll need to interrupt the freezing process after a short while to turn the mould. You only want to freeze the outside of the sphere to a few mm thickness so there’ll be some trial and error when starting out. Flip the ice sphere over so all the sides freeze evenly. We recommend making 6 spheres to start and turning them at 30min intervals after the first 45mins. This will help you work out what timing works best for your freezer. The ideal thickness is around 4mm.
Image showing the water extraction stage (Molecular Recipes).
Extract the sphere and carefully knock off any excess formed ice. The next stage is to remove the unfrozen water from the centre of the sphere, ready to replace with your cocktail. This is done with the syringe. To avoid cracking the sphere you should either work a large metal needle or small drill through the outer shell and use that to draw up the water inside. This can be discarded. Your ice sphere is now ready for use or storage.
Generally you’ll want to make a batch of these ready for use on the night. The spheres can be stored in the freezer for weeks at a time. We recommend that you store them individually (if all piled in one container they may freeze together). A deep muffin tray is a good way to keep them separate and safe from rolling around.
To serve you simply take your cocktail, which can be made or pre-batched, it doesn’t matter. You can even pre-batch a bottled cocktail to give your customer plenty of choice. We wrote an article on that here. Take your syringe and reverse the process you used to extract the water: draw up the cocktail into the syringe and inject into the sphere. The colder the cocktail, the better as you won’t melt the ice sphere. We recommend a refrigerated cocktail or one that’s shaken with plenty of ice. When filled, place the sphere in an appropriate glass (rocks and martinis are good options).
Breaking the sphere (Molecular Recipes).
Now everything is in place it’s just up to your patron to crack open the sphere and enjoy their drink. A small hammer with a rubberised end would work the best but you can also use a muddler or ice pick to achieve the same result.
25ml Kwai Fee Lychee
25ml Stoli Razberi
25ml Lychee Juice
25ml Cranberry Juice
0.5g Activated Charcoal