Reviewer’s Note: Samples of the products discussed here were provided to me for reviewing purposes at no cost.
Arctic Chill consists of a set of ball-shaped silicone molds to be filled with water and placed in the freezer to eventually yield perfect spheres of solid ice for beverages. Not long ago I received a set for review, and am excited to share my findings on one of the more interesting products ever to come my way.
On first consideration, the concept is a simple one: cool your beverages with ice balls instead of ice cubes. It’s an uncomplicated premise whose suggestion some might even deem unnecessary, when cubed ice has been doing the job for as long as anyone can recall. Having experienced this product for myself, however, I found several reasons to think beyond the cube.
Principal among these is how slow-melting are the ice spheres produced. Whereas your typical mound of ice cubes will melt into a beverage within minutes, each sphere lasted over two-and-a-half hours in glasses of everything from apple juice to vodka to Kentucky bourbon. With each article boasting a 2.5-inch diameter, one sphere per glass is more than sufficient to let one sip at leisure without needing to revisit the freezer to maintain the cold. Add to this that the elegant minimalist aesthetic of a single sphere chilling a coveted drink is not to be dismissed, and Arctic Chill starts to look more and more like a product you should have been using all along.
As for product construction, the mold halves are thick-walled yet pliable and fit together snugly, forming a secure seal that allows no liquid to escape. Pouring water through an opening in the top half fills the mold, whose smooth inner surface is contoured to produce the seamless, rounded shape. Then they go into the freezer, and soon enough your ice spheres are ready to be gently freed to swim in your chosen beverage.
If I have anything to say that even faintly approaches criticism, it’s that since the molds are opaque, it can be difficult during the first couple of usages to gauge when to stop pouring water into them. Because water expands as it freezes, the product instructions caution users not to fill the molds all the way, a measure intended to help users avoid having the molds overflow in the freezer. Without benefit of being able to view the water level inside the molds, I did indeed overflow them on my first couple of outings, despite thinking I’d left the water sufficient room to expand. Again, I hesitate to call this a criticism, since it could as easily be considered my own flaw, rooted in my initial underestimation of volume. At any rate, the issue was easy enough to correct by simply filling the molds less in subsequent usages.
So in Arctic Chill’s Ice Ball Maker, it seems we are witnessing the Rebirth of the Cold. Is this a product I’ll use daily? Perhaps not. But it’s hard to imagine any future instance of my entertaining friends and family with chilled beverages or pouring a round of celebratory libations, that doesn’t favor Arctic Chill ice spheres over cubed ice any day of the week.