The Ice Ball Maker: Because Ice Cubes Are Just So ... Square
Not only does it look pretty, the ice ball also keeps your drink cold for longer.
When it comes to a cold drink on a hot day, bigger (and rounder) is better—for ice anyway.
The ice ball trend started in Japan, where artisans hand-carve them with icepicks or sushi knives to fit each glass, providing a longer chill and minimal dilution. Then Japan's Taisin Trend Shop came out with a machine that melts an irregular-shaped chunk of ice into a perfect sphere in mere seconds.
The Trend Shop offers five ice ball machines, one for each size, ranging from 30-80mm in diameter (i.e. about a small marble to an eight-ball), most of which cost $1000 or more.
Recently Belfast-based company Drinksology released a 75mm ice ball maker for about $600. Not exactly a steal, but the only cheap ice ball option is a silicon mold like the one from Japanese manufacturer Muji. At just $11.75 it's a huge money saver, however this method leaves a seam along the center of each ball (which is hardly as chic as the real thing, right?).
High-end Scottish whisky purveyor Macallan has its own version as well, which looks suspiciously like the Japanese version with a giant "Macallan" label slapped onto the front. Rather than selling it to the public, Macallan uses its "Ice Ball Serve" machine to promote its brand in posh bars around the UK and US alike.
Check out this ridiculously dramatic (and detailed) video of UK mixologist Andy Gemmell demonstrating the Macallan's Ice Ball Serve.
Do you know of any bars in the Valley serving up perfect ice spheres? Tell us!
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.