Looking to up your beverage game? Then you have to try smoked ice cubes!
Smoked ice cubes are exactly what they sound like: they are made by smoking water in different ways and then freezing the resulting mixture. The best part is that you can make them at home!
How to make smoked ice cubes? To make smoked ice cubes, all you need is a smoker and water. That’s it! Pour the water into a large, shallow tray and put the tray in the smoker. Smoke the water for about 2-3 hours and then freeze the mixture for subtly delicious smoked ice cubes.
Don’t have a smoker? Then there are other ways to make smoked ice cubes too! Read below to learn more!
What Is Smoked Ice?
You might be wondering where the idea of smoking water came from.
Well, the concept isn’t new at all. Humans have been smoking food for centuries and in many different ways.
This also includes liquids. However, yes, when it comes to making frozen smoked ice cubes, this invention is relatively new!
Smoked ice is used to chill and flavor multiple drinks. They can be used to make fantastic cocktails and can even be paired with several spirits. Perhaps the best way to enjoy smoked ice cubes is to add them to a glass of whiskey!
The slightly smokey undernotes will mix in and add a faint aroma and flavor to any drink, and this is guaranteed to make people notice!
How To Make Smoked Ice
Smoked ice is made using several methods. Here are some popular choices:
The easiest way to smoke water is to use a backyard smoker. This method will only require a tray with water and oak wood since it is stronger than cherry but lighter than hickory.
Oakwood will add a distinct smokey flavor that can be combined with a range of beverages.
However, you can try several types of wood and experiment with the flavors any way you like. Remember, smoked ice cubes were an invention of creativity and curiosity, so you have to follow suit and come up with new flavors!
Any smoker will work great for making these novelty ice cubes.
Here is how you can do it at home:
- Fill up the smoker with your desired wood chips.
- Set the smoker to the maximum smoke setting.
- Fill a large and flat tray with just enough water to fill up the ice cube trays.
- Start the smoker, put the tray in, and start smoking!
- After 2-4 hours, take out the tray mix the water by carefully tilting the tray on each side.
- Pour the smoked water over the ice cube tray and freeze!
You will notice that the water is a bit cloudy or yellow, this is normal.
All you need to do is to make sure that the smoker is clean and well-serviced before you proceed with this method.
Once the water is frozen, you can use them just like regular ice cubes – but with the added benefit of them being smokey and subtly flavorful!
Another great method of making smoked ice cubes is to use a smoking gun (if you don’t have one, we’d definitely recommend this one!).
This method is widely used in upscale bars where bartenders will typically add smoke over cocktails and beverages before serving them.
The smoking gun method is good for smaller projects, but the downside is that it can be a bit expensive.
If you are willing to spend several hundreds of dollars on a smoking gun then it is much better to invest in a dedicated smoker instead.
However, if a smoking gun is all you have then you will be able to make smoked ice cubes fairly easily!
Here is how to do it:
- Measure filtered water in a bowl. Make sure that you only smoke as much water as you need. Adding more water may dilute the flavor and smokiness of the liquid.
- Wrap a plastic foil over the bowl and make a small incision in the middle. The incision should be just enough to fit the tip of the smoking pipe.
- Prepare the smoker by adding pellets or any suitable wood chips and fire up the smoking gun! Make sure the pipe is not submerged in water. It should be just above the surface.
- Let the liquid smoke for about 1-2 hours.
- Once done, remove the smoker and pour the smoked liquid over an ice cube tray.
- Freeze for at least 8-12 hours and use as required!
The smoking gun method is a great way to quickly make smoked beverages or ice cubes. However, you may want to use it outdoors since the smoke may permeate by leaking out of the foil cover.
This method is highly effective but can also add some residue to the water. BBQ grills are excellent for smoking and cooking food but can be a bit harder to handle when it comes to controlling the smoke output.
However, if you have a BBQ grill stored in your home then this is the next best thing for smoking water!
Here’s how to do it:
- Prepare the BBQ grill by first properly servicing it and then adding any type of wood of your choice.
- Light the grill and carefully move around the wood to diffuse the heat and create as much smoke as possible. Remember, you should ideally only want smoke rather than heat for this method to work. Try adding just a little bit of vegetable oil to the wood to make it smoke more.
- Once you get the smoke started, fill in a flat tray with water and place it over the grill and then put the lid on. If you don’t have a lid then you may want to create a makeshift cover. Be careful, though! You wouldn’t want to set anything on fire!
- Smoke the water for about 2-3 hours for maximum flavor and aroma.
- When adequately smoked, remove the tray from the BBQ grill and move the liquid to an ice cube tray. If the liquid has impurities or carbon residue then you can use a fine mesh filter with an additional cheesecloth over it to filter the liquid.
- Freeze the water overnight and enjoy!
The steamer method is a great way to make use of limited resources. All you need for this method is a steamer pot, a piece of oakwood, and water.
Here’s how to use a steamer:
- Fill the steamer with just enough water to fill the ice cube tray.
- Put the steamer stand or rack over the water. Now put the piece of wood on a small aluminum cup or bowl.
- Light the wood and let it smoke. Put the lid back on and smoke for at least one hour.
- If there isn’t adequate smoke in the pot, then you can either repeat the process or add more wood.
- Once done, remove the water from the pot and then freeze it overnight!
While this isn’t the most elegant solution for making smoked ice cubes, it is practical enough to work in emergencies.
We highly recommend that you try the smoker method first if not, then you can try out or experiment with the other methods too!
Smoked ice cubes have a lot of applications in beverages and if having the same plain drinks over and over again has left you jaded, then these smoked ice cubes can help shake things up!
Now that you know how to make them at home, here are some related questions:
Can you use liquid smoke to make smoked ice cubes?
Liquid smoke is highly concentrated and is available commercially. It can also be made by condensing the smoke from a smoker and turning it into a liquid, thus creating a highly smokey and concentrated yellow liquid.
While you can’t simply freeze and use pure liquid smoke due to its intensity, you may try adding a few drops in plain water just to lightly flavor it.
Freeze the liquid and adjust the quantity of the liquid smoke in future batches accordingly.
Please note that liquid smoke is primarily used in sauces, and grilled or smoked meat. So, if you’re planning to exclusively smoke beverages, we highly recommend that you try the above methods first.
How long will smoked ice cubes last?
Smoked ice cubes can last several weeks until they start to become less flavorful and more diluted.
Keep the icetray at 0°F for the entirety of the storage duration and try to use the smoked ice cubes within 2-3 weeks for the best flavor and aroma.
Can you smoke sugar water?
Yes! You can smoke any type of liquid that you want. This is part of the reason why smoked ice cubes are so exciting and fun.
There is a lot of room for experimentation and you can try out different things to see which combination of ingredients tastes the best in different beverages. Try smoking pomegranate juice as a starter!
If you need more ideas for smoking ice cubes, here’s a great video to check out!