Rabbit Clear Ice Cube Maker
Being a huge fan of good, craft ice, I could not pass this up. Rabbit has a good reputation, most of their products are very good, and I am a long-time fan. However, this new “toy” had some issues, but they had a lot to live up to since my number one go to clear ice maker is Polar Ice. This item retails for about $20 but I was able to get it on sale for a bit less at Bed, Bath & Beyond, but I am sure you can find this in any wine or spirits store.
The question one might ask themselves is why would anyone want or need a clear ice maker? The reason is, more than aesthetics, clear ice is colder and lasts longer and melts slower. Outside of nails on a chalkboard, the only thing that makes me squirm more is the sight of someone filling an entire glass with ice cubes made from tap water as they pour any whiskey over $30/bottle over it. I understand that some people, like myself, enjoy their spirits chilled to take away some of the heat. However, pouring anything into a full glass of ice made from tap water is going to basically give you 75% or more impure tap water with many chemicals like chlorine and God knows what else. So especially when it comes to that single malt scotch or fine bourbon you paid $50 or more per bottle for, are you really doing to dilute it by 75% or more with contaminated water that is instantly melting into your drink of choice?
If its a rum and cola, that is fine, but if its anything else, a single, good, solid ice cube is enough to cool your drink while lasting the duration, assuming that is at least 30 minutes. So, we must first start with pure water, it can be your favorite brand of bottled water, spring water or even distilled water. My personal favorite is Nothing because it has the very lowest possible amounts of dissolved minerals even over my other favorite like water from Iceland.
The directions on the box is pretty clear: fill with hot water, put in freezer until frozen. Seems simple enough, except where do you get hot water if you are using spring water? You have to heat it up of course. But I figure using my favorite bottled spring water at room temperature should be fine. As it turns out, the molds are nearly impossible to get out until you have left the unit out for at least 30 minutes to melt so you can pop them out. Even then the ice cubes as you can see, are not perfectly clear. Is it a big deal? Well, a bit. You see those bubbles, that will cause the ice cubes to melt faster, and aesthetically they are not clear like they are shown on the box.
So, next I did try it with hot water. I used water from my cooler which also produces hot water for tea. Its not boiling but so hot I was a bit worried it might damage and melt the plastic. This did produce very clear ice cubes, but again very difficult to remove from the molds without sitting a good 30 minutes outside of the freezer.
The next issue I have with this unit is that it leaves a considerable amount of ice behind because this is the “buffer” needed in the bottom to allow the ice to freeze from the top down. To be fair, this is the same with the Polar Ice Tray, but because of the design you get a solid piece of ice which is easy to remove and could be used to put in a cooler or crack with a spoon for putting in a shaker to mix cocktails. With this Rabbit system, you have to wait for it to melt and there is more waste. Its just water right? But when you are paying twice as much for premium water like Fiji, Icelandic, Evian, etc, would you really want to throw half a bottle out?
The final issue with this, is the amount of real estate or space it takes up in the freezer. Because it is long, it takes up a full shelf in the freezer. Sure you could fit two side by side, but I wonder what prevented them from designing this unit in a square shape so it fits more easily in the freezer. The other problem I found is that the end closer to the door did not freeze as fast, while it would have eventually froze, I had to go in and turn it around to freeze more evenly. It is important to note that my freezer is only a few months old and on the recommended temperature setting.
If you are only going to have one or two drinks on a Saturday or Sunday night, this might be fine. However, this is not something you are going to find useful if you are having a party and need at least a couple of bucketfuls of ice. This proved to be a gimmick more than a fun toy. It was a chore to make and remove ice. While I hate to compare products, in this case you are far better off going with the Polar Ice Tray which produces triangle cubes for the same price.
I am still searching for a system that produces good, clear, easy to remove square ice cubes.
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