In homes and bars and on social media, ice is no longer a square-cut, predictable bit player. Today there are dozens of molds and machines that can create a different style of ice for every occasion. Here’s a quick look at the most popular shapes and the best ways to use them.
These thin sticks are great for plopping into insulated water bottles with narrow openings, thus their nickname: water-bottle ice. The molds come both uncovered and covered (to prevent spills) and range from steak fry-size to hot dog-size. Freeze cucumbers or lemon rinds in them to spruce up your hydration.
These are not like the cubes created by your standard freezer tray. They’re much larger, roughly the size of ring boxes, and can be made in silicone molds. You can use these cubes — which are slower to melt — for all kinds of drinks, to suspend pieces of fruit, herbs or citrus rinds, or to freeze coffee and smoothies.
These small, marble-size bits — which sit somewhere between crushed ice and pebble (or nugget) ice — can be made in molds, without a pricey refrigerator. Use them to rapidly cool down drinks or make cocktails like cobblers and juleps.
First popularized in high-end cocktail bars, large ice spheres are great for keeping a drink cold, especially those of the alcoholic variety, without watering them down too quickly. With the rise of silicone molds, these larger ices now come in interesting shapes like roses and bulldogs.
As with ice spheres, there are now hundreds of unique ice molds for sale online that go beyond the simple cube: butterflies, cactuses, skulls, stars, hexagons and more. Use these molds for your next themed gathering, holiday party or just because it makes you happy.