I didn’t intentionally plan for this post to follow my trends post about all things curved, but it seems very appropriate! Today, we’re going to talk about balls of ice—and the refrigerator we bought to make them for us: The LG Instaview with Craft Ice.
Chances are, you’ve seen the ads: the cast of characters all proudly declare that they’re “a baller.”
And, not to brag, but so am I.
Since this is a unique feature among refrigerators, I wanted to share a real, honest review of the fridge that makes ice balls. Is it worth it? Are ice balls really that big of a deal?
Today, I’m spilling all the non-sponsored (iced) tea.
(But, if you’re from LG, by all means get in touch—we’d love to review the Styler, too.)
Why are Balls of Ice Better for Drinks?
To understand the value of the LG craft ice features, you have to know why balls of ice are so important.
Let’s start with whiskey, since that seems to be the drink most associated with balls of ice. Some people drink their whiskey neat (meaning plain), some like a little water in it, and some like it chilled and just slightly diluted with ice to enjoy the best flavor. The problem comes when you have regular ice melting quickly in your whiskey: you’re going to end up with watery whiskey really quickly.
This is where ice balls come in. A sphere melts more slowly than a cube because less surface area is exposed for the same volume of ice. Basically, that means you can chill your drink without diluting it. #science
This is why fancy cocktail bars, especially those with a whiskey focus, use ice spheres. A large ball of ice chills the drink quickly while exposing it to the least surface area possible. That means your drink tastes better, longer, while still getting the chill you want.
Even if you don’t drink whiskey, ice balls are going to have the same effect on your cocktails, iced coffee, and even your wine if you’re so inclined: it chills with less dilution.
To look really baller, you could make a pitcher cocktail with a whole bunch of ice spheres, serve iced coffee on a single “rock,” or even chill juices or iced tea with ice balls.
And the LG Instaview Refrigerator with Craft Ice makes ice balls for you—so you always have a steady stream of cocktail-perfect ice, you baller, you.
Is LG Craft Ice Worth It?
Let’s get this out of the way: the LG instaview refrigerator is a great fridge. It has two doors up top, with a drawer freezer. I love that the two doors make it easier to fit things like party platters in the refrigerator.
In addition to the craft ice, there is normal ice and water in the door. It’s a good fridge, but I know the real question isn’t about the rest of the fridge features, it’s about the LG craft ice.
So, is it worth it to upgrade to baller status? As always, it depends!
When you ask “Is X worth it?” it’s always dependent on your budget, what you are used to spending on things, and what your priorities are.
Is it worth it to get a whole new fridge just to have one that makes ice balls? Probably not. But if you’re going to get a new refrigerator anyway and you like the idea of having balls of ice, it’s worth considering.
For me, it’s been completely worth it. I really enjoy having the balls of ice available for my Maker’s Mark, or for parties.
(For reference, at least one of us is sipping whiskey at least once per week, but we also use it for certain cocktails, so the balls definitely get used.)
It only makes three ice balls per day, but it builds up a supply really quickly (unless, of course, you’re drinking three cocktails every day, but I’ll assume you aren’t).
So, soon enough, we had plenty of balls of ice to prepare for gatherings or just a few cocktails on a Friday night.
The quantity isn’t a drawback for us. After all, if you’re using an ice mold, you’d only have a couple available at a time unless you remembered to manually pull the spheres out when they were frozen.
I will say, if you are an extreme purist when it comes to your ice balls, honestly, you probably won’t love the LG craft ice. The balls are smaller than what you normally get with a mold (or in a fancy cocktail lounge), and they don’t usually come out perfect—they’ll have a divot on one side. Both of these factors mean the balls melt more quickly than other ice balls or large cubes. (See the #science above.)
But, for me, sipping my weekly whiskey, it’s great and I love having the option to have an ice sphere whenever I want one!
How to Get Ice Spheres for Whiskey and Cocktails
Of course, having a fridge that makes ice balls isn’t the only way to get slow-melting ice for your cocktails and whiskey on the rocks. There are a lot of other methods that are going to be less expensive.
The main drawback that I see to most of these in comparison to the craft ice refrigerator is quantity. If you’re having a party, you’re going to have to spend a week making ice balls every day, whereas after a few days with our fridge, we were all set.
That said, in the interest of providing you with all of your options, here are some great options for ice spheres (and, yes, a few other slow-melting shapes).
Tools for Making Ice Balls
If you don’t want to get a whole new refrigerator like the LG craft ice, that’s okay—you can still make balls of ice for your cocktails. The easiest method is probably your classic ice mold—just fill it with water and give it time to freeze. I’d suggest coming back in a day or two to empty your molds and make more ice balls, just to be sure you have enough for party time.
Another fun option? This ice press. Using strong magnets to form a sphere out of a larger block of ice (don’t worry, it comes with those molds), this option basically provides entertainment along with your perfect ice ball in the end. Plus, this will form that truly perfect ice you’re used to having in fancy cocktail bars.
Fun Shapes for Ice Balls
Classic balls aren’t your only option for cocktail ice, though. If you want an ice ball with a little more personality, why not try a golf ball mold, or even a disco ball? All the chill with a lot more personality!
We have these dog ice molds (from our pre-craft ice days), and they’re so cute. Of course, remember the principles of ice balls: these have more surface area, so they may be prone to slightly faster melting.
And, if you’re not feeling like balls at all, there’s this wedge ice mold. According to the rules of surface area, this might be the slowest melter of all: just freeze some water in a glass with this nifty mold and you’re ready for the weekend.
Would you try any of these options? Let me know in the comments which one is your favorite and if you have any questions about making baller ice!
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