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Breaking the Mold

Beating the heat with some of summer’s coolest ice trays.

 

Summer is in full swing, and while temperatures are heating up, we’re keeping cool with a frosty mix of iced cocktails. So much so that we dedicated our July/August 2012 Summer Drinks issue to icy-cool drinks. And in the spirit of refreshment, we tried out a number of ice trays that make ice in various shapes and sizes—here are 10 of our favorites.

 

 

CLASSIC CUBES
Tovolo Perfect Cube
This silicone mold produces 1-inch cubes as close to professional-grade ice as you’ll find short of forking out the big bucks for a commercial machine. They’re inexpensive, durable (ours are going on 4+ years now) and the silicone doesn’t off-gas. Just note that because there’s no airspace between the cubes, they take a tad longer to freeze, so be sure to plan ahead if you’re going to mix up multiple rounds of drinks. $9/set of 2, surlatable.com

Rubbermaid Quick Release
Freeze. Twist, twist, release. Seriously, making ice in these Rubbermaid trays is that easy. And they hold up, too—an Imbibe staffer has kept her freezer stocked with one of these trays going on three years now. The turquoise is a limited release for summer, so get your hands on a set while you can. And while you’re at it pick up one of these storage bins, which the trays stack neatly atop for added space-saving convenience. $8 per tray, wayfair.com

Onyx Stainless Steel Ice Cube Tray
Classic cubes go retro with this stainless steel ice tray modeled after the aluminum version first made popular more than half a century ago. Since stainless steel is a thermal conductor, these cubes freeze faster than those in plastic or silicone, and a handy lever up top helps loosen the ice once solid. Just a quick trick for those first trying the tray out—don’t fill it beyond 2/3 full; otherwise you might have a hard time freeing the frozen cubes. $30, thetickletrunk.com


LARGE CUBES, SPHERES AND RINGS
Casabella Big Ice Trays
When size matters, look to these colorful silicone trays from Casabella, which freezes 2-inch, slow-melting cubes perfect for cooling down a drink without over-diluting. The trays are also oven-safe (up to 500 degrees F) meaning they can pull double duty for baking and candy-making. $12/set of 2, casabella.com

Tovolo Sphere (pictured)
Featured as a “Favorite Thing” in our July/August 2012 issue, these BPA-free 2 1/2-inch sphere-shapers feature a flat bottom and silicone lid for solid stability and convenient stacking in the freezer. $14, kegworks.com

Japanese Ice Maker
Japanese bartenders have long been ahead of the ice curve, and while many of them are known to hand-carve individual ice spheres for their cocktails, this anodized aluminum mold does the work for you, shaping perfect 1-inch diameter spheres from larger cubes. A splurge for sure, but it definitely beats the cost of a flight to Asia. $200 includes both the sphere mold and two large cube trays, williams-sonoma.com

Tupperware Jel-Ring Mold
Tupperware has certainly come a long way since the potluck parties of the 1950s and ’60s. Case in point? This mod mold that freezes a scalloped, nearly nine-inch ring of punchbowl-ready ice. $15, tupperware.com


ODDBALL SHAPES AND SIZES
Tultztiki Ice Mold
Over-the-top tiki drinks are bigger than ever, so why not add another pop of Polynesian flair to your next drink with these tiki-fied cubes? $9, amazon.com

Casabella Water Bottle Ice Tray
Ever tried to pack a narrow-mouthed water bottle with ice? Not so easy. But thanks to the slender ice rods frozen in these clever silicone trays, never again will you need to fuss with trying to cram cubes into a bottle. Plus, the rods also neatly double as frozen stirring sticks and ice spears in mixed drinks. $12/set of 2, casabella.com

Pi Ice Tray
Math meets cocktail mixing with this smart silicone tray that freezes ice in the shape of everyone’s favorite numerical symbol. Form may overtake function just a tad, but who can argue with an irrational number? $9, thinkgeek.com

Container Store Freeze & Press Ice Cube Tray
The Container Store streamlines home life yet again with this BPA-free, dishwasher-safe tray. The lid prevents spills and keeps ice cubes from absorbing odors or water from evaporating and allows for easy stacking. You can also release the ice cubes easily by simply pressing on the flexible pads on the base of the tray. $10, containerstore.com

Outset Hex Ice Cube Tray
Who can resist a honeycomb-shaped ice tray? Drop these hexagon cubes in a honey-based cocktail, and you’ll complete the theme. $8, amazon.com

 

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