Product Review: Arctic Chill Ice Ball Maker
Long before there was a 12 Bottle Bar, Mrs. 12BB and I liked to do a bit of antiquing. High at the top of my wanted list was anything Bakelite, specifically gambling pieces and cameras. Without digressing into a tangent on the myriad virtues of phenolic resin, I’ll cut to the chase and simply say that it’s all about the seams. Or, in the case of Bakelite, the lack thereof. Most plastics are make in molds, and molds leave seams or “flash” — something anyone who has owned army men or made models will well know. Bakelite pieces, on the other hand, whether molded or carved seldom have seams or, at least, obvious ones. I suppose it goes without saying that my mind was on seams and flash when I uncrated the Arctic Chill Silicone Ball Makers.
First, let me thanks the kind folks at Arctic Chill for sending us a set to review. The molds come four to a set, fit together with ease, have a flat-bottomed outside and a round-bottomed inside (very important) and a relatively-easy-to-fill hole at the top. Simply assemble the two halves of the mold, fill it with water and pop it in the freezer. On the difficulty scale, Arctic Chill is no more cumbersome a product to use than a standard ice tray, although we chose to place are molds on a small lipped baking sheet to prevent any spillage, especially when transferring the molds to the freezer.
As you might expect, a few hours later, we found ourselves with four spheres of ice — just as promised. Here, however, is where our criticism begin. Like other sphere-shaped molds we’ve tried, the Arctic Chill isn’t wholly successful at keeping its shape as the ice expands. This produces a tiny amount of leakage, and leakage produces seams and flash. The seams come around the equator, where the two halves join; the flash comes out of the fill hole. Without any hard evidence to back up my theory, I suspect that were the molds — or at least the top — made out of heavier material, the ice wouldn’t be able to separate the halves and create the seam. Likewise, if the top were clear and provided an obvious fill line, the expansion might be something the product could compensate for up front and eliminate the flash. Of course, grooming the ice to a true sphere shape take little more than a few whacks with the back of a knife around the middle — removing the seam — and a little careful whittling over the to remove the fill hole flash. It’s a minor inconvenience, sure, but enough of one to make me inclined to reach for the large cube mold whenever I feel the need for a super-sized chill.
At roughly $20 for a four pack of molds, the Arctic Chill Ice Ball Makers run on the medium-to-high side of the ice sphere market — and what a market there is. When we first shopped for sphere mold a few years back, there were but a couple of options, now on Amazon, you can scroll for pages. Whether or not the Arctic Chills are a good deal is up to you. If spherical ice is a must-have and you don’t mind a little work — or you’re not anal about seams — they’re worth trying. However, I’d probably order one of the dozen less expensive options first. Then again, I might opt for the slightly more expensive Death Star mold — namely because it’s supposed to have a seam. Of course, that seam led to its ultimate destruction, but that’s a design flaw worth contemplating while sipping your cocktail.
Esoterica: Here’s propaganda on Bakelite: