It's an age-old dilemma: how to keep a drink cold without watering it down with melting ice. Whether you are drinking 100-year-old Scotch or sipping on a soda, it's more pleasant to finish your drink and have the last drop be as flavourful as the first. The idea of using soapstone in place of ice cubes began at a Vermont stone workers' shop, born of the frugal wish to use every last piece of soapstone, even the scraps. With the right equipment and some careful work, you too can serve your drinks literally on the rocks.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Slab of soapstone, 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick
- Chop saw with diamond blade
- 1-gallon plastic bag
Make a pencil mark every 1 1/2 inches along each of the four sides of the slab of soapstone using the yardstick. The slabs you find, whether in a craft store or from a masonry shop, will be irregular sizes. For this tutorial, assume that the piece you are working on is 12 inches by 7 1/2 inches.
Draw a line every 1 1/2 inches across the surface of the stone using the markings on either side of the long side of the slab. Work with the yardstick as a guide so your lines are straight.
Draw a line every 1 1/2 inches across the surface of the stone by connecting the markings on either side of the short side of the slab. Make your lines straight by using a yardstick. The surface of your soapstone will have a grid on it once you are done.
Cut along the lines on the short side of the soapstone with a chop saw. When you have finished, you'll have 10 sticks of soapstone that are each 1 1/2 inches wide. Clean the dust from the stone off the blade with water from a hose or bucket.
Cut along the lines (every 1 1/2 inches) on each stick of soapstone using the chop saw. Each time you make a cut, you will have completed one "ice cube." You should have 40 cubes when you are finished.
Wash the cubes in warm water and dish soap to thoroughly clean them once you are finished cutting them.
Dry the stone cubes with the towel, or allow them to air dry before you freeze them.
Place the cubes in a 1-gallon plastic bag, and put them in the freezer. Allow them to freeze for at least four hours or overnight before using them in drinks.
Tips and warnings
- Soapstone is relatively soft, so it may break when you are attempting to cut it if you don't handle it gently enough. It may take a few tries before you are able to cut it into pieces without breakage. Patience is the key. Irregular shapes can still be used for the purpose of keeping drinks cold.
- If you get your soapstone from a masonry shop, ask if it has small pieces of scrap that you can have. The business may charge you for it, but the pieces may be small enough that you won't have to cut them, or you may be able to have the masonry shop cut your soapstone ice cubes for you.
- Wash the soapstone cubes after each use, and fully dry them before freezing them again. They can be stored in the freezer when not in use so you will always have non-melting ice cubes on hand.
- Always handle power tools with care to avoid injury.
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