Japanese Ice Balls

Science and design behind the hand-carved ice spheres

By Piti Koshimura   Oct 23, 2017 - 1 min read

Ice plays a very important role in the Japanese bartending world. The hand-carved ice balls that you might have seen in whiskey bars around the globe is a Japanese invention that not only gives a stylish look to the drink but also it keeps the beverage cold and less diluted than regular ice cubes.

Science explains the trick: the spherical shape has a smaller surface area, which makes the ice balls melt slower than cubes. It means that a spherical shaped ice will provide more time to savour a glass of whiskey on the rocks, before it gets watery. A crucial point for carving an ice ball is choosing a block of clear ice without any cloudiness or cracks. Once this block is cut into smaller chunks, skillful bartenders are able to carve one ice ball in less than three minutes.

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Justin Velgus a year ago
Fun and informative! I was waiting for the bartender to stab his hand, but it seems he is no amateur!
Sébastien Duval a month ago
Yes... It looked kind of scary!