Silicone Ice Cube Trays
Hip lounges and craftsman bartenders tout the virtues of superior ice. Now silicone trays producing cubes ranging from tiny to glass-hogging are available for home mixologists. Do they make a better drink? To find out, we bought four.
Filled with water, the squishy silicone of one tray sagged, resulting in bulged ice. The sturdier silicone of another tray produced samples with clean, impressively crisp edges. While another product included a raised lip to contain spills, this also trapped runoff water, which froze and stuck in sheets to the tops of the cubes.
We measured the melting rates of the ice by adding equal weights of each type of cube to glasses of juice. Over the course of 30 minutes, one tray’s cubes melted the most, adding 48 percent more liquid; and the 2-inch cubes of another product the least, adding 36 percent more liquid (the other two samples were tied at 38 percent). The small cubes’ extra surface area resulted in faster thawing, but it also did a better job of cooling the juice: Even after 30 minutes, the juice was a noticeable 4 degrees more chilled than the sample with the Jumbo cubes. For thirst-quenchers that will be rapidly consumed, we recommend using the cubes from one tray. For slowly sipped drinks such as Scotch, another product’s cubes not only look sharp, but also keep dilution to a minimum. (Before you buy the that tray, measure glassware first to be sure the 2-inch cubes fit.)
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasn’t sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|Recommended with Reservations|
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.
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