A Brief History of Clear Ice Cubes

After a long day, you relax on the couch with your favorite high-quality spirit or cocktail.

There’s just one problem - even with all the right ingredients, it never seems to taste quite as great as the one your favorite bartender whips up.

What’s the magic (some) bars have that home cocktails are missing?

It’s all about the ice.

The traditional way of making ice – both via freezer trays and automatic freezer ice-makers – results in unsightly cloudy cubes of ice that bring with them that weird, uninvited freezer flavor.

Your bartender’s secret? Clear ice cubes.

The neutral flavor of clear ice enhances every drink. A clear ice cube will disappear into your drink - not by melting, but by being so transparent that it’s nearly invisible. 

Upside Down Trays & Sprays

1950 brought a design that included an inverted structure for ice to freeze. Water would be sprayed into this structure layer by layer, never giving the air a chance to get trapped or to get cloudy. Once frozen, the cubes would be released into a receiving container underneath.


In 1964, vibration offered a solution to the trapped air bubbles that make ice cubes cloudy. By keeping the water shaking and rattling, dissolved gasses release before the cubes freeze.

Heat Conducting Posts

In this simple tray iteration from 1967, metal posts are centered in each cube mold. These posts conduct the heat away from the center of each cube, and they freeze from the inside out, The air is expelled from the yet-to-be-frozen outside of the cubes. There is only one downside – all the cubes have holes in the middle (shout-out to those hotel ice bucket cubes we probably all remember).

Circulation & Purge

In this 1972 design reminiscent of a Rube Goldberg machine, water is circulated by a pump and continually pushes out the impurities and bubbles that cause clouding. If you can understand the diagram, you win!