Sphere Ice Ball Makers are Taking Bars by Storm!

Reading Time: 5 minutes Food Service - Restaurants/Bars, Ice Types, Learn About Ice Machines


Ask any bartender, and they’ll tell you that quality cocktails need quality ice cubes. Large, square ice cubes are the traditional ice cubes of choice in high-end cocktail and whiskey bars, but they’re facing a new challenge. Sphere ice is building in popularity, and it’s not just because of the distinctive look sphere ice molds create. When it comes to ice shapes, ice cubes just don’t always do the job as well as an ice sphere!

Compared to traditional ice cubes, ice balls can keep a drink colder for longer. The only thing holding ice spheres back until now has been that sphere ice molds can be hard to work with. Thankfully, new sphere ice ball makers aim to fix that.

Hoshizaki’s new IM-50BAA-Q sphere ice ball maker is one of our latest offerings here at Easy Ice. We love working with Hoshizaki commercial ice makers because they’re reliable and produce the clearest cubes on the market.

Why Make Ice Balls?

Sphere ice ball makers (sometimes called whiskey ice ball makers) may be new, but sphere-shaped ice has been one of the best types of ice cubes for bars for years. Initially, bartenders could only make an ice ball using a mold or device called a Japanese ice press, which slowly melts ice into a round shape.

With automatic ice ball makers, bartenders can make an ice sphere easily and do it at volume. You can get up to 50 lbs. of clear, sphere ice each day. This specialty ice is conveniently dispensed throughout the day into an ice bin. Bartenders don’t have to pour water into molds or wait for the ice to melt in a sphere-press before serving it in customers’ favorite drinks.

Sphere ice is a unique twist on square-shaped ice cubes, but they’re more than just a way to elevate cocktails.

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Not All Ice is Equal

Quality cocktails and spirits need to be savored, which is why drink enthusiasts everywhere prefer large, slow-melting ice for drinks.

Whiskey stones, metal cubes, and plastic, water-filled ice cubes are all designed to cool a drink without watering it down. However, a little water is not such a bad thing, and most drink enthusiasts will agree.

Scotch drinkers commonly pour a bit of water into their drinks, even when served straight up. According to many scotch lovers, the water helps bring out the flavor of the spirit. On the other hand, too much water will dilute the drink.

Ice Ball Makers Produce Ice that Keeps Drinks Cooler, Longer

Large ice cube makers have been a staple in whiskey and cocktail bars for years because the ice they produce melts slowly and keeps drinks cold. Customers can savor their drinks without having to worry about diluting the flavor. However, sphere ice molds produce an even better result than traditional ice cubes. The advantages of ice spheres are just a matter of some simple science.

Why Sphere Ice Molds and Ice Spheres Are On the Rise

The reason why this type of ice cube melts slower all boils down to science.

When you place ice cubes in a glass of warmer liquid, the liquid’s heat will migrate towards the cube until everything inside the glass is the same temperature. Eventually, this results in the cube melting. The corners have the most exposure and unnecessary surface area, which speeds up the melting process. Ice spheres don’t have this issue.

An ice sphere exposes less surface area to liquid than a square cube of the same volume. With sphere ice, you’ll have less heat transfer and a slower melt. This is the biggest reason that ice spheres are becoming major fixtures in high-end bars. Thanks to the laws of physics, an ice sphere is simply the best way to make ice for a drink.

An Ice Sphere Makes Drinks Appear Fuller Than Other Ice Shapes

The larger the cube, the more liquid it displaces, causing the liquid to rise in the glass. This effect makes drinks appear fuller than they actually are.

Since round ice fits in a round vessel better than a square cube can, sphere ice can take up more space in a glass. The cube forces the liquid to rise, making it seem like there is more liquid in the glass.

Bartenders can pour a “full” drink with less product, saving money compared to other ice shapes.

Round Ice Reduces Product Loss

Round cubes, like crescent and sphere ice, allow the liquid to cascade down the cube and into the glass. As a result, more liquid stays in the glass—saving bar owners money in the process.

For example, Hoshizaki’s flagship ice cube is their signature crescent ice. These rounded cubes are designed to limit spills and splashes when bartenders pour a drink.

Pouring liquid onto a flat surface, like standard ice cubes, can result in the liquid “bouncing” off the flat surface, splashing small amounts of liquid out of the glass.

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An Ice Ball Maker is the Best and Fastest Way to Get Sphere Ice

Sphere ice is all the rage—and for a good reason! Customers and drink aficionados love sphere ice because it’s slow-melting and elevates the look of their favorite cocktails. While anyone can go online and find a simple four-spheres ice cube mold, silicone mold ice spheres are more awkward to work with. You’re going to spend a lot of time filling and emptying your silicone mold stock, and still never going to supply all of your demand. If you want to save freezer space and produce ice quickly enough for customers, you’ll need an ice ball maker that’s compatible with a sphere ice mold.

The Right Ice Maker for Crystal Clear Ice Spheres

Ice ball makers are great as bar ice makers or restaurant ice machines because employees don’t have to waste time pouring water into an ice ball tray or silicone molds, let alone wait for a Japanese ice press to fully form the spheres. The IM-50BAA-Q from Hoshizaki produces 50 lbs. (500 spheres) of 1.8″ diameter ice balls, much more than many similar products can manage.

Thanks to their directional freezing that presses out gases and impurities, you’ll never have to deal with cloudy ice. The IM-50BAA-Q sphere ice ball maker measures just under 40″, making it ideal for underbar or undercounter use.

This automatic ice machine gives bartenders a replenishing supply of ice without calling on a bar back for assistance. But if you want the best value on the best ice maker that works with a spherical mold, you need to reach out to the Ice Experts.

Go Beyond Standard Ice Cubes: Count on Clear Spheres With the Ice Experts

The Hoshizaki IM-50BAA-Q is available in our one-of-a-kind ice machine subscription program. We include the ice machine, as well as professional maintenance and cleaning twice a year from our experienced ice machine technicians. Our machines stay in the best working order, and their directional freezing technology ensures you’ll deliver crystal-clear ice spheres to your customers.

Are you interested in a sphere ice ball maker for your bar or restaurant? Reach out to the Ice Experts for a quote today, and start making ice spheres tomorrow!

Our team is available to help you get started today!

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