Ice, ice, baby.

By Stacey Ballis
July 08, 2021
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Summer is a time that we switch our drinking to iced everything: iced tea, iced coffee, chilled lemonade or infused waters, sparkling refreshers of all sorts. Even those who generally take their beverages straight the rest of the year start reaching for the ice bucket as soon as the temps rise.

So, now is the time to start making flavored ice cubes.

The genius of flavored ice cubes

I learned this trick from my grandmother, who used it for large summer parties. She'd always make huge urns of lemonade and iced tea to put out all day for guests. But if you keep adding ice to keep them cold and refreshing, you dilute them all day long. So, she would take pint sized plastic containers and fill them with iced tea or lemonade and freeze them solid. These large chunks of ice would melt slower than cubes and since they were made of the same liquid, would not dilute flavors.

And while you should absolutely do this for large parties, it's a hack that also works incredibly well for everyday summer drinking. Make a couple trays of each of the drinks you tend to enjoy, then stash the cubes in freezer bags for ease. Think of the options!

Summer Drinks
Credit: Getty / PeopleImages

8 ways to use flavored ice cubes

If you are an iced coffee fan, you brew a pot, let it chill in the fridge, then freeze in cubes for iced coffee that never loses its punch.

Make lemonade and limeade cubes, which are great not only in your citrus beverages but can add a bit of fun to iced tea, sparkling water, or sodas. 

If you love a lightly flavored sparkling water, make cubes in fruit flavors by freezing juices like cranberry, cherry, pomegranate or others, and just adding to plain fizzy water, for flavors that are fresher and more natural.

And if you are planning a brunch, think about freezing juice cubes to keep your carafes cold.

For a unique take on a brunch cocktail, freeze up celery juice cubes for your bloody mary cocktails or blood orange juice cubes to make mimosas (just add bubbly).

Creative ice cubes for cocktails, like cucumber juice cubes for margaritas and orange juice cubes for Aperol spritzes

Frozen soup cubes to keep chilled soups cold on a buffet, like gazpacho or vichyssoise.

And you can always embed fresh things like a half a strawberry, or a slice of cucumber or lemon or lime right in the cubes for extra elegance.

The best ice cube trays to buy

You may currently have an ice maker for plain cubes built into your freezer, so you may not have any ice making gear around. Here are some inexpensive cube trays that will really rock your cube game this summer. 

For making larger cubes to use in pitchers, carafes, or for a single-cube fancy cocktail, I like these Glacio large cube trays.

For regular ice cubes, I like this four-pack of silicone trays from Aiorx because I can make four different flavors at once, and they pop out easily.

For summer parties when I am busting out the big urns, I upgrade to these two-cup silicone molds from Souper Cubes, which then get used all fall and winter for soup portions.

And last, but not least, my new go-to appliance for all juices and beverages, especially summer frozen drinks, milkshakes, smoothies, and chilled soups is the Breville 3x Bluicer Pro. It is a blender and a juicer in one unit, so I can juice everything I need for my fancy ice cubes, and then whizz up the drinks, slushies or soups without missing a beat.