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Cocktail IN an Ice Sphere

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Bored of serving your drinks on the rocks? Why not try in the rocks? This cocktail sphere will certainly surprise everyone. A hollow ice sphere is filled with the desired cocktail and drinkers get to smash it open at the table. Great presentation and a lot of fun!

This fantastic presentation adds a new dimension to your favorite cocktail. To release the cocktail in the glass, just break the hollow ice sphere using a small hammer and enjoy. Be careful not to hit the glass and break it too!  You can also use a muddler for this purpose.

Cocktail Ice Sphere

Breaking Cocktail Sphere

At some molecular mixology bars, the hollow ice sphere is made using an expensive cold immersion circulator but in this post we explain you how to obtain similar results with just spherical ice molds and a regular freezer. The advantage of using an immersion circulator is that it is a lot faster and it is easier to obtain a hollow sphere with consistent ice wall thickness.

Ice ball cocktail tools

-  Spherical Ice Molds

-  Large Syringe with Needle

-  Freezer (the colder the better)

Cocktail ingredients (or your favorite cocktail)

- 1 ½ oz grapefruit vodka

- ¾ oz Aperol

- 1 oz lemon Juice

- 1 oz orange Juice

- ½ oz honey Syrup

- 1 orange peel twist for garnish


Cocktail Ice Sphere steps

1- Fill the spherical ice mold base with your favorite water up to the maximum fill line.

2- Close the spherical ice mold with the silicone cap.

3- Place the spherical ice mold on a rack in the coldest area of your freezer. Follow these tips to obtain an ice sphere wall that has consistent thickness all around.

- If you have a blast chiller, use it. If you don’t and you can adjust the temperature of your freezer, set it as low as possible. Use the “fast freeze” button if available.

- The coldest area in an upright freezer is usually at the top, whilst in a chest freezer it is on the compressor step or on the bottom or floor of the freezer.

- Do not place the spherical ice mold directly on the bottom of the freezer or over a flat surface. You want cold air to be able to circulate freely around the mold so place it on a rack.

- If using multiple spherical ice molds, leave a space around them for cold air to circulate and do not stack them.

- Do not overload the freezer with unfrozen items and do not open the door frequently. Keep it as cold as possible all the time.

- Flip the ice sphere mold upside down halfway through the freezing process.

4- The time you need to leave the spherical ice molds in the freezer will vary depending on how cold your freezer is. So you’ll have to test a few times until you find the optimal time to obtain an even ice wall thickness of about ¼ inch. In most freezers this could take between 2 and 3 hours.

5- Remove the ice sphere mold from the freezer and with your fingers remove the frozen water that came out from the top hole of the mold as the ice expanded in the freezer.

6- Place the ice mold under cold tap water for 30 seconds so you can remove the silicone top easily. You can use slightly warm water but be careful because if it is too warm it will crack the ice. Leave the ice ball on its base, just remove the top.

7- Using a syringe with a long needle (2” or more) create a hole in the ice sphere by rotating the needle clockwise and anti-clockwise. You can also use a drill with a thin tip. Then, using the syringe, suck all the water from inside the hollow ice sphere. If the needle is not long enough to reach the bottom, just flip the sphere upside down and pull out the needle until it is close to the hole and you should be able to remove all the water.

8-Using your hands, remove the hollow ice sphere from the base of the mold and store it in the freezer until needed. I like placing them on the small sphere silicone mold I use for spherification but you could also place them on a lint-free towel so they don’t move around.

Assemble and Serve

Ice Sphere Filling1- Mix all the cocktail ingredients and shake them with ice until they are really cold or make your favorite cocktail. It is important that the cocktail is really cold or it will crack the ice and the hollow ice sphere will start leaking.

2- Remove the hollow ice sphere from the freezer. The small hole you made may be closed so you’ll have to reopen it with the needle or drill.

3- Slowly fill the hollow ice sphere with the chilled cocktail using the syringe.

4- Carefully place the ice sphere in an old fashioned glass. Don’t drop it in the glass or it may crack and start leaking. You can hold the glass sideways with one hand, with the bottom slightly up. With the other hand, slide the ice sphere against the side of the glass until it reaches the bottom and then turn the glass up again. There is no need to seal the hole if it is small enough. The liquid won’t come out as air can’t get in at the same time.

5- If desired, add a garnish to the glass such as a orange peel twist.

6- Provide the diner with a muddler or small hammer to smash open the ice ball cocktail. Be careful not to break the glass!

  • alma

    es fantastico :D

  • paw

    So, where can you buy the spherical ice mold? Link please. Thanks.

  • Pingback: Molecular Gastronomy (Cuisine) « Looking Through the Test Tube Glass

  • Nan’l

    How about a link to a good place to get a syringe, pretty please? (other than the sketchy Ride Aid down the street)

  • Patrick ODonnell

    Where did you get that little hammer to break it open, it was pretty sweet?

  • Patrick ODonnell

    For the honey syrup did you do a 1 to 1 ratio with honey and water

    • QuantumChef


  • Patrick O’Loan

    Can i use a regular silicone ball mould for this?

    • QuantumChef

      If it is not specific for ice, it usually doesn’t work.

  • Peter

    where can i get the mold?

  • Wong Shyong Wei

    hello do you have a video for this ?

    • QuantumChef

      No, sorry!

      • Lindsay Skillman

        youtube it from the aviary it uses a blast chiller but its the same id

  • globecrokeur

    Hey there, where to buy the “ice tapper” and the special syringe ??? thanks ;)

  • kj314

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t the molds in the picture above create simply a solid frozen sphere? So how can you insert a cocktail into rock hard ice?

    • QuantumChef

      You have to remove it from the freezer sooner.

      4- The time you need to leave the spherical ice molds in the freezer will vary depending on how cold your freezer is. So you’ll have to test a few times until you find the optimal time to obtain an even ice wall thickness of about ¼ inch. In most freezers this could take between 2 and 3 hours.

      • R.Jewell

        Could you use liquid nitrogen to speed up the freezing process?

        • QuantumChef

          A cold immersion circulator would be the best option to control the freezing process better. You can try with liquid nitrogen but use balloons instead; the problem may be to get an even thickness of ice all around the sphere.

  • Brenen Hankins

    would this be spherification or reverse spherification

    • QuantumChef


    • essexgirl999

      neither. it’s making a moulded ice sphere, and filling it with a liquid.
      spherification / reverse spherification is using chemical additives to create a gel-like coating around the outside of a ball of liquid or puree…

  • Emma

    Since we’re putting alcohol in this, and alcohol doesn’t freeze, these can be made ahead of time and put back in the freezer to keep until ready to serve, correct?

    • QuantumChef

      Probably not because the ice will melt before it gets cold again. If you use a blast chiller or you make sure the cocktail is really chilled almost at freezing temp it may work. The other problem is that even though alcohol doesn’t freeze, the cocktail also contains water so you’ll get a slush.

  • Silvia

    i love the Idea¡¡ i’ve try many many times to do the ice ball, but it doesn’t work for me. Please, do you have any suggestion or trick for it? thanks in advance

    • QuantumChef

      Hi Silvia, what problem are you having?

  • disqus_lfzs2PT1KX

    The ice mold has a hole in the top (where you pour the water, if not filling it only halfway). How does the flipping part work…? The water will just pour out of the hole…?

    • QuantumChef

      Are you talking about step 7? You still need to suck it with the syringe, the water won’t come out easily by itself since no air can get in.

      • disqus_lfzs2PT1KX

        No I meant at the end of step 3 – when you flip the molds over. There is a hole (where you put the water in at the beginning) and when you flip it over all of the liquid part just pours out. How did you do it?
        Not sure how this step was supposed to work. I did find a weird workaround, which is crazy… but I plugged the hole up with chewing gum so that I could flip it over to let the water freeze on the other side. Some water still leaked out but not nearly as much as if I didn’t put anything at all. I don’t understand how you could do it without plugging the hole though…?

        • QuantumChef

          You are probably flipping it too fast for the freezer you have. Just wait a little longer until the water in the hole starts freezing.

  • Jan Magne Skaue

    I’ll bump a previously asked question here; When “halfway” in the freezing process, and ready to flip the mould upside down for the remaining freeze time – how do we prevent all the remaining water from simply leaking out the “hole” / expansion vent in the top of the mould?

    • QuantumChef

      It doesn’t come out because no air can get in. Also, the first part that freezes is the water in the hole.

      • Jan Magne Skaue

        So “the top” freezes first, even with fresh water? If that is the case, the rest is self-explanatory. My physics knowledge really needs to be digged up from the lower piles again. Thank you.

        Any tip on “sealing” frozen ice balls? I’ve been thinking about doing 5cm diam. balls with 3-4 mm thick walls, filling them with ~4 cl cold-friendly hard liqour shots (Jägermeister, Pernod, Tequila, my own Wasabi-pepper-estragon Vodka shots etc) and keeping some freezer-stocked…

        • QuantumChef

          Top usually freezes first because it is more exposed to the cold air in the freezer. If you do a small hole there is no need to seal them. Storing them with alcohol hasn’t worked for me. If you have a blast chiller it may work.

          • Jan Magne Skaue

            You say it hasn’t worked for you. From this I assume you have tried. How did it fail?

          • QuantumChef

            Haven’t tried many times but it starts melting and leaking. The alcohol needs to be chilled as cold as possible and the freezer needs to be powerful. You could also make the spheres with thicker walls.

          • Jan Magne Skaue

            My freezer on hand is a pretty powerful one, and holds a steady -30 celsius. You think it could cut it? Thicker walls would help I believe, but that makes for more of a chilled container/ice-glass, than a breakable one.

          • QuantumChef

            Yes, that might work. Just make sure the alcohol is at very low temp too.

  • Dave

    Where can you get this syringe shown in the picture?