Ice may be the least celebrated ingredient in any cocktail, but when it comes right down to it, the way you keep your drink cool has a pretty big impact on those summer sippers. Whether it's the icy blend of a frozen marg, the crushed ice of a classic mint julep, or just a few well-placed cubes in your favorite spiked tea, ice is kind of an overlooked hero of the hotter months.
But why should "adult" beverages have all the fun? We've rounded up a handful of non-boring ice trays that make any drink feel more festive, whether you're mixing up an iconic batch of lemonade or trying your hand at something a little more artisanal. Read on for our favorite ways to make ice cool again.
Even classic cubes feel fun when prepared in trays from the ice engineers at W&P. These silicone trays have coordinating lids, so you can be sure that flavored and plain ices alike won't end up with any errant freezer-food smells.
It's common knowledge that a larger ice cube (or better yet, an ice sphere) will melt slower than smaller cubes and keep your drink from getting watered down. What you might not know: making that ice sphere in the shape of a cat's face increases your enjoyment of the drink by tenfold. (That's just science.)
If you prefer your frozen cats in full-body form, this ice tray — which, delightfully, is itself shaped like a cat — will deliver.
Your piña coladas just got a major tropical upgrade.
Is it deeply meta to have an ice tray in the shape of a frozen confection that, itself, is already ice? Yes. Is the thought of tiny multi-colored popsicles floating in your drink freakin' adorable? Also yes.
These Moai Easter Island heads add a little wonder to your favorite summer drinks (and would also be a great gift for the Squidward fan in your life). The subtly variegated stone-patterned silicone is a nice added touch.
Fill them with watermelon juice to add some refreshing flavor to your post-workout water.
Short on space? These clever ice trays seal tight and stack, so you can maximize your freezer's square footage — and they feature a unique portal for filling without spills. Plus, their fun dot-and-dash shapes bring a bit of levity to whatever you're drinking.
If these mini-sculptures of penguins and polar bears shuffling about on ice floes remind you of your own mortality and imminent global climate change...then you'd better make it a double.
Just don't fill them with fruit juice. Because that's how you get ants.
Fun fact: Bees make honeycomb that is six-sided because it's the most efficient way to use space, since it tessellates on all sides. What that means for you: bee-approved ice trays ... and, hmm, maybe some inspiration to freeze honey-syrup cubes in lieu of simple syrup in your next cocktail?
The force is (still going) strong with these Star Wars-kitchen supply crossover products, to the point where you can pretty much make ice in the shape of any character now. But we think it's infinitely cooler to play it, er, cool with a lightsaber-shaped water bottle ice wand.
More than an ice tray, this clever solution offers built-in storage that makes it ideal for those without an in-freezer ice maker, and that also doubles as a mini-cooler for outside activities. But what sold us is the unique, slightly irregular shape of the ice it produces — it feels design-y somehow, and much more posh than classic cubes.
Ice sticks are, as we all know, much easier to get into your water bottle. But they're also nice for tall drinks like those served in a Collins glass. This is the most highly tessellated "stick"-shaped ice arrangement we've seen, so it really maximizes output per freeze time.
Give a '70s twist to your sips with these far-out florals.
Emily Bihl is a freelance writer and sometimes-songwriter who can invariably be found rearranging furniture in a domicile somewhere along the Mississippi River. She lives with her black labrador Selkie and a small army of homemade ceramics, and has not willingly closed a browser tab since 2011.