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Hey, Matt:

Seeing my homemade ice cubes cloud up my gin and tonic is a bummer. O sage of San Diego, is it possible to make clear ice cubes at home? If your answer is yes, please share with me the Alice family secret.

Paul in LJ

We have plenty of secrets, some involving gin. Nothing related to making ice, though. But Grandma volunteered to take a whack at the question. She says the cloudy stuff in your cubes is just air bubbles, and maybe some crud particles from your pipes, which help the bubbles form. They get squeezed into the center as the ice crystals form. Commercial ice makers get the air out by pouring water over a freezer element and building up the cubes in thin layers or agitating the air out to begin with or sucking it out before the cubes freeze completely. Most home recipes for clear cubes involve using distilled water (relatively crud free) or boiling bottled or tap water, letting it cool, then filling the trays. We made cubes from unfiltered, unaerated tap water, also distilled water, purified water, and spring water, all off the grocer's shelf. Round 1: Unboiled samples. Hopeless. Air blobs in all of them. Purified the clearest, distilled the cloudiest. Round 2: Samples boiled hard for three minutes. Better, but still not completely clear. All bottled waters about the same, but even the tap was improved. So we flunked the crystal-clear test, but maybe you'll do better. Boiling seems to be the key. Boiled ice cubes?

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