In the past, I suggested that ice is complicated. The short course is that the holy grail is to produce spherical ice that is crystal-clear with minimal effort. Clear spheres are interesting because they minimize surface area (i.e. melting (i.e. chilling)) and they look amazing. A ice sphere mold plus a cooler can occasionally yield impressive results, but it tends to be somewhat hit-or-miss.
Wintersmiths attempts to produce 60mm crystal clear ice spheres with minimal effort. Each gadget runs $85. For that tariff one gets three plastic/silicone pieces and a vacuum mug. It’s difficult to suggest the components are worth $85:
Preparation is pretty straightforward: assemble the three pieces and cram them into the vacuum mug. Fill with water. Shake. Fill with more water. Put in freezer for a day.
Extraction is less straightforward. In fact, it’s a pain in the ass. The instructions suggest lubricating the silicone components with oil; I did not find this made any difference in practice. Once extracted from the mug, running the components under warm water works well enough, but making it work without unintentionally melting part of the sphere becomes difficult.
It takes some practice to get the sphere out without a hole in it. It also takes some practice to get the sphere out without a bunch of ugly cylinders sticking out of it. Finally, if everything’s done perfectly, the sphere has a giant ‘W’ imprinted in it. Having spent $85 to make an ice sphere, it’s somewhat offensive that I have to have it branded with a giant W.
Alright, screw that. It’s not somewhat offensive. It’s obnoxious. Shame on them. With all of that said, the gadget works relatively well. It produces a sphere and the sphere is clear. Massaging it in one’s hands or with careful melting via water produces a nearly perfect clear ice sphere at about 50mm in diameter. This is a pretty nice trick for something that takes about the same space as a 20oz bottle of coke in the freezer.
The price is steep, but it’s cheaper than a sphere melter. The downside, perhaps, is that a sphere melter might be necessary to produce a “perfect” sphere.
On the other hand, if the goal is to get decent clear ice spheres for under $100, this may well be the best option. It takes minimal space and does not require a lot of care.