How to Carve an Ice Ball


Start with Yamazaki 12

Start with Yamazaki 12

As pictured above, if you want to carve an ice ball, first you’ll need Japanese whisky, beer, an ice pick, a small knife, a giant Hattori Hanzo knife and a big block o’ ice. The ice pictured was carved off of an big block of grocery store ice. These are good for practice, but they are made from “compressed ice,” which is exactly what it sounds like, basically left over ice filled with air. This is not what you want. The entire purpose of the ice ball is to maximize surface area and minimize melting with clear ice, bereft of air. The easiest way to get this ice is to take warm water, and put it in your freezer, set to the coldest, overnight, that’ll be pretty clear. As for how to cut block ice, thats what the Hattori Hanzo is for. Score the ice, then trap it with the ice pick and it will cut a pretty perfect line. (Video on my facebook, wordpress doesn’t support that file)

Cut the Corners

Cut the Corners

So first of, take your cube and cut off all eight corners, and you’ll get a
thing that looks about like this.

Hand cut ice ball too big for the average whisky glass

Hand cut ice ball too big for the average whisky glass

After that, take off each one of those corners. And well, that’s pretty much a ball. You can then just smooth it out with the small paring knife or perhaps use a vegetable peeler, though this is not as cool.

I had to cut it down a little bit

I had to cut it down a little bit

Place whiskey on ice and drink. Note on practicing this, you are going to hurt yourself if you aren’t careful. You’ll notice the beer cans in the picture, I only drank two of those before carving the ice ball. Be safe, and perhaps practice this technique in a job with a killer workman comp program.

If this blog sounds braggy and non-specific its because its in response to a post that my friend Andrew Friedman posted about the worst bartending video ever. But really, you should read more about Japanese Whiskey at his site.

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4 Responses to How to Carve an Ice Ball

  1. Tiare says:

    Interesting! I`m also writing a blog post on this topic but i`m only half way through, i think you beat me to it.

    As for the ice ball i have only made one and wasn´t very happy with it as the ice wasn`t clear enough, neither was the ball round enough. So i will keep trying. I just have a heavy chefs knife for this and i dont have any ice picker either.

    Looking forward to make a whisky on the rock with my Yamazaki.

    • caskstrength says:

      feel free to send me your email address and and i can send you a video of how to do it better. also, try turning down your freezer, starting with very warm, filtered even just boiled water. and lastly, though i haven’t tried it, a Japanese friend of mine tells me the best way to do it is to agitate the water as it freezes. we have been throwing around the idea of sticking a cheap vibrator in the freezer under the bucket of water

  2. Pingback: Spiked Punch » Blog Archive » Friday Fête: Two Drinks

  3. Tiare says:

    Thanks but i have seen the videos;-) they are real good. I haven`t yet proceeded any further due to i`m so darn busy all the time! but one day i will make a perfect ice ball!



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