Sphere Ice Ball Makers are Taking Bars by Storm!

Reading Time: 4 minutes Food Service - Restaurants/Bars, Ice Types, Learn About Ice Machines


Last updated on December 13th, 2022 at 04:55 pm

Ask any bartender, and they’ll tell you that quality cocktails need a quality ice cube. Traditionally, large, square ice cubes are a favorite in high-end cocktail and whiskey bars, but sphere ice is building in popularity. While sphere ice cubes certainly have a unique look, they were not easy to make. New sphere ice ball makers aim to fix that!

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

Why Use an Ice Ball Maker?

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 get up to 50 lbs. of sphere ice a 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…

Ice Ball Makers Produce Ice that Keeps Drinks Cooler, Longer

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.

Large ice cube makers have been a staple in whiskey and cocktail bars because the ice they produce melts slowly and keeps drinks cold. Customers can savor their drinks without having to worry about diluting the flavor.

Round ice is becoming popular because they melt even slower than traditional square cubes. The reason why this type of ice cube melts slower all boils down to science.

When you place an ice cube 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.

A sphere ice ball 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-melting cube.

Specialty Ice Elevates Cocktail Menus

Sphere isn't the only specialty ice - do you know about others?

Ice Ball Makers Produce Ice That Makes Drinks Appear Fuller

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 bar owners money in the process.

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 a square cube, can result in the liquid “bouncing” off the flat surface, splashing small amounts of liquid out of the glass.

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.

Ice ball makers are great as bar ice makers or restaurant ice machines because their employees don’t have to waste a lot of time pouring water into molds or wait for a Japanese press to fully melt cubes. The IM-50BAA-Q from Hoshizaki produces 50 lbs. (500 spheres) of 1.8″ diameter ice balls.

The IM-50BAA-Q sphere ice ball maker measures just under 40″, making it ideal for underbar or undercounter use. The automatic ice machine gives bartenders a replenishing supply of ice without calling on a barback for assistance.

The Hoshizaki IM-50BAA-Q is available in our one-of-a-kind ice machine subscription program. We include the ice machine and professional maintenance and cleaning twice a year from our experienced ice machine technicians. Our machines stay in the best working order to deliver ice to your customers.

Are you interested in a sphere ice ball maker for your bar or restaurant? Contact us for a quote today!

Our team is available to help you get started today!

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17 Comments on “Sphere Ice Ball Makers are Taking Bars by Storm!”

    1. Hello Steven, thank you so much for reaching out. One of our sales representatives will be contacting you shortly to discuss your sphere ice options with you!

  1. I am looking for an ice ball making machine for home and don’t want the faff of using moulds. What can you recommend.

    1. Hello Katy. Thank you for reaching out.

      The unit that this article has featured is a commercial unit, so it will have a higher output than what you may need for your home.

      I am not sure what is out there, but you could try using an internet search and search “Sphere ice maker for home” and see what may come up!


    1. Hey Sophia. Thank you for reaching out 🙂

      We currently offer our subscription services in the United States.

  2. what size are your spheres? i see 1.8 inches and that seems smaller than the 2.5 inches that most bars serve. can you shed some light on that?

    1. Hey Gretchen! Thanks for reaching out.

      The sphere ice maker is definitely an exciting addition to the market. Currently, it is the only machine on the market to make sphere ice. The dimensions of this particular cube are in fact 1.8 inches. Many bars use molds and have to manually produce their spheres. This is a machine that can produce up to 50 pounds of ice in a 24 hour period and they look amazing!

      I can have my Sales team reach out to you to get you some more information, if you would like!

    1. Hey Chad! Thanks for reaching out.

      I would be happy to get your information over to my Sales team who can provide the information you’re looking for!

      Keep a lookout for an email from my team.


  3. Looking for both sphere and regular ice machine for new bar in Houston. If someone could reach out to me me it would be greatly appreciated

  4. Pingback: 7 Reasons Why Ice Ball Presses Are So Expensive In 2022

  5. Good Afternoon,

    I apologize for requesting that you email my personal email but I’m in the introductory stages of a project and need to budget for equipment.

    Please let me know if pricing is available for a spherical ice maker.

    1. Hello Shadrika,

      Thanks for reaching out. We would be happy to provide you a quote for a sphere ice machine. We need to gather some more information from you, including your region, to make sure we offer sphere ice makers in your area. Will you please call our Ice Machine Experts at your next convenience? Our number is 866.327.9423.

      Best of luck!

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