There aren’t a lot of things I would say I love about America, but one thing I do like about the U.S. of A is our ice culture. The worst thing about Europe is the lack of ice. You order a vodka soda at a bar in Berlin, and it’s served just around room temperature. What the fuck?
Anywho, while I love some ice in my beverage, I’m not too picky about the style of ice. Whether it’s from a tray, crushed or those weird potato-wedge ones that come out of a fridge dispenser, it doesn’t matter much to me. Apparently, though, regardless of shape, there is indeed a proper temperature for making ice.
Obviously, your freezer needs to be 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below in order for water to take on its solid form. But before you even get to the freezer stage, you should already be thinking about water temperature. If you want the purest, clearest, tastiest, fastest-freezing ice cubes, you gotta start with boiling hot water.
As you may have noticed, the ice cubes you crack from the tray in your freezer aren’t entirely transparent. This is largely the result of air bubbles, or trace chemicals in the water if you’re using tap. Either way, boiling the water will help that air escape the water before becoming ice. As a result, your ice cubes will be clearer. (If you want uber-clear ice cubes, use distilled and filtered water that doesn’t contain any minerals.)
But that really only matters if you’re psycho and insist upon clear ice. The better reason to boil your water before making ice is because hot water will actually freeze faster. Known as the Mpemba effect, hot water usually freezes faster than room temperature water because the hydrogen bonds are stretched further apart in its water molecule when heated and are thus able to cool faster. Colder water molecules are tighter bound. Honestly, scientists aren’t even all that clear on the phenomenon themselves, but either way, it seems to happen.
So, basically, just boil your water for ice if you feel like it. Even if you don’t notice a much faster ice-making process, you’ll probably end up with fancier looking ice cubes in the end. Personally, I’m just gonna keep freezing my filthy lukewarm tap water.