While it looks great in drinks clear ice has a tendency to be extremely hard and it can crack your teeth open if you aren't careful!
Clear ice is stronger, melts slower and lasts longer than normal white ice, but why?
Clear ice is stronger than white ice because it’s free of air bubbles and impurities. The lack of air bubbles make clear ice more rigid and hard to break or chew and also means it is denser and requires more heat energy to melt.
White ice isn't as hard or strong as clear ice because it contains tiny air bubbles that make it less dense and easier to break. Nugget ice or soft ice is full of these air bubbles making it extremely light compared to clear ice and much easier to chew.
The strength of clear ice is useful when creating ice sculptures but there are other benefits to clear ice in your drinks too. The primary advantage being that it takes longer to melt. This is why clear ice cubes are used in whiskey and other drinks where you want to keep them cold but don't want to dilute them too much.
Why Does Clear Ice Last Longer?
In short, clear ice doesn’t have air bubbles in it the way white ice does. Because of this, clear ice is incredibly dense, and clear ice lasts longer than other kinds of ice.
The ice’s density is impacted by the air bubbles and the impurities in the water.
Clear ice is also often made with filtered or purified water, reducing the minerals and impurities. This lack of impurities also leads to a higher melting temperature and stronger bonds between the ice molecules – making it harder again.
Clear ice can take up to 5x longer to melt than cloudy, white ice. This makes it perfect for cocktails! Learn more about clear ice vs. cloudy ice.
What’s The Difference Between Clear Ice and White Ice?
You might wonder if there’s that big a difference between clear and white ice. Well, white ice is white in the middle because of how it freezes.
Since the outer edges of white ice freeze first, it traps air bubbles inside, leaving you with cloudy ice that melts quickly. Read about why ice is white in the middle.
Clear ice is made by freezing water omni-directionally. As the water freezes is pushes away the dissolved gases and impurities leaving the ice completely clear.
Clear ice doesn’t have air bubbles, so it melts more slowly and is much better for drinks.
What’s The Difference Between Clear Ice and Nugget Ice?
Sonic ice has made nugget ice incredibly popular, and you might be wondering if nugget ice and clear ice are the same?
In truth, nugget ice is much more similar to white ice or compressed snow than it is to clear ice. They are made in completely different ways and nugget ice is designed to be soft, chewy and melt quickly whereas clear ice is designed to be hard, strong and melt more slowly.
Nugget ice makers have a unique method of making ice that works quickly to create small, crunchy ice cubes. Nugget ice makers actually create flaked ice (like snow) that is then compressed into small pellet shaped ice cubes.
Nugget ice has a lot of cracks and air bubbles inside it that allow it to be easily chewed and also to absorb the flavors of the drink that it's in.
But nugget ice melts much faster than even white ice, so it doesn’t keep that delightfully chewable texture for long.
In order to make nugget ice you usually need a countertop nugget ice maker but there are also cheaper ways to make nugget ice at home.
Clear ice, on the other hand, is usually made in large ice cubes. This reduces the overall surface area of the ice cube and slows melting even more. For example, round or square clear ice cubes for whiskey are usually around 2 inches in size/diameter vs nugget ice which is closer to 5mm (1/5 inch) in diameter and 1 cm (1/3 inch) in length.
Their large size is also another reason clear ice cubes are so much harder and more difficult to break apart than nugget ice or even white ice.
How To Make Clear Ice
Clear ice is great in drinks, looks pretty, and is better in many ways than white ice.
While it takes longer to make than white ice, it’s worth it if you want to keep your drink cold and undiluted or impress your guests!
You can easily make your own clear ice if you have a cooler. Fill your cooler ⅔ to ¾ full with filtered or distilled water, then place your cooler in your freezer with the lid off.
This will force your ice to freeze omni-directionally, forcing the air bubbles out. Make sure to avoid freezing the water completely, or you’ll have white ice you need to get rid of.
An even easier way to make clear ice is to invest in a good clear ice maker that uses insulation and water reservoirs to create crystal clear ice cubes with ease in your freezer at home. You can even get clear ice sphere makers so you can make clear ice balls – my kids absolutely love these and they always impress my guests.
Clear ice is stronger than white ice because of the way it freezes, which pushes air bubbles out. It also is usually made with distilled or purified water, helping to increase the density. Because of this, clear ice melts slower and lasts longer than white ice!
Not all ice is equal, and if you wonder “is clear ice stronger than white ice” the answer is yes!
Clear ice is stronger than white ice because it doesn't have air bubbles, making it denser and melt slower.
In fact, clear ice lasts 5x longer than white ice. You can make your own clear ice using a cooler to make large blocks of clear ice or you can get a clear ice maker or clear ice mold to make smaller clear ice cubes in your freezer..