If you came here, chances are you've been to a bar where they served cocktails with stamped ice cubes because that's where branded ice cubes already gained popularity as a way to garnish cocktails.
But you don't have to go to a bar to get this sophisticated cocktail garnish. You can also easily do them at home.
Ice cube stamps are a great addition to your selection of bar tools and can be an elegant way to garnish a drink. No matter if you just started mixing or have years of experience at a (home) bar.
Serving your drinks with a large clear ice cube and having your initials stamped in is great fun.
Plus, it will create a lasting impression on your guests. So let's check how you can serve your next Negroni with branded ice.
Can I use wax seal stamps for stamping ice cubes?
The short answer is yes. But it won't work as well as an ice cube stamp. Let me explain:
The best way to get your logo or initials stamped on an ice cube is by using a thick and deeply engraved brass stamp.
Therefore, when using ice stamps, you get a branded ice cube within a few seconds. Wax seal stamps are often also made of brass but with a lot less material. While they might work without prior heating, it takes way longer to achieve a decent result.
Another disadvantage is depth. A wax steal stamp won't imprint deeply enough to create strong effects. Ice cube stamps have extra depth to produce a clear and long-lasting impression on the ice.
But saying that, if you have a wax seal stamp at home that you want to use, give it a try before you purchase an extra tool. If the outcome is what you imagine, you saved yourself some money.
Inverted Ice Stamps
There is another essential difference between ice cube stamps and wax seal stamps besides material and depth.
For a wax seal stamp, the artwork gets embossed to the wax. As wax is hot, it's soft and fluid, it allows the stamp to sink in and create the artwork.
Ice, in turn, is solid, and embossing does not work. Instead, impressions are easier debossed into the ice. So an ice cube stamp is actually a reversed version of a wax seal stamp.
Dimensions of Ice Cube Stamps
Ice stamps can come in different sizes and shapes. The usual diameter is between 1.5 (40mm) and 2 inches (50mm).
The most common ones are round or squared, but you can also see rectangular-shaped stamps occasionally.
Ice stamp engravings are usually 0.07 inches (1.8mm) deep but can be as deep as 0.12 inches (3mm).
Whereas, for wax seal stamps, the depth ranges between 0.03 (0,8mm) and 0.04 inches (1mm).
How Ice Stamping works
Now we know what these stamps can do. But how do you use an ice cube stamp correctly?
Stamping ice is a quick and easy task, you only need to press the stamp firmly on the ice, and within 2-3 seconds, the ice cube is branded. For the best result, use large, frosted or clear cubes with a flat surface.
Immediately when touching the ice, the energy transfer between metal and ice melts the surface. This process is so quick you won't believe your eyes.
The video from clear ice below shows you how easy this is:
The stamp does not need to be heated to brand the ice. Only if you want to stamp a large number of ice cubes in a row, I advise heating the stamp or letting it rest on a warm surface after each ice cube.
High-quality ice cube stamps start from $80. These Ice stamps are usually custom-made and more expensive than a basic wax seal stamp. Also, the required extra depth causes extra costs.
In comparison to a wax seal stamp, the personalization of an ice cube stamp usually takes double to triple the time. Plus, you also need more material as the stamping head is not only deeper but also larger.
Yet, despite the high price point, creating your one ice stamp still is affordable as you only have to buy it once. The prices are reasonable considering that it is a custom product.