The Macallan Ice Ball


Beverage purists argue that ice should never be introduced to a quality Scotch whiskey. Such thinking rests on the theory that when holding a glass, your body heat will melt the ice, resulting in a diluted spirit and sub-par drinking experience.

In order to make a Scotch cold without diluting it, Scottish whiskey purveyors The Macallan created a clever ice ball maker (pictured above). The machine creates a ball of ice precisely sized to fit into an average tumbler. The spherical nature slows the melting process making it less susceptible to hand warmth, preserving the liquor while keeping it refreshingly cool.

In addition to being practical, the machine is noteworthy as an artifact unto itself. Inspired by Japanese bartenders who hand carve their ice balls, the machine uses two heavy copper plates while gravity slowly presses blocks of ice into perfectly spherical shapes. Watching it at work is almost as enjoyable as drinking the scotch, but not quite.


We recently had the opportunity to try the machine over lunch at Tribeca mainstay Dylan Prime. Along with with The Macallan 18—a sturdy standard bearer, we also tasted Macallan's lighter 17-year Fine Oak and the rare 30-year vintage. With a full flavor and plenty of burn without the bite, we can see why this smooth, smoky scotch is so coveted.