When I was in grade school, an ice ball was what the boys lobbed at the girls on the way home from school. They were harder than snowballs and left a temporary permanent mark if one connected with an uncovered leg or arm or cheek. The main battlefield occurred around Elsworth’s Drug Store, where we often stopped for six cent single ice cream cones as a reward for enduring Sister Mary What’s-Her-Name another day. Truth be told, the girls loved to be pummeled by the boys because it was a sign of adolescent affection.
Today, ice balls have another more adult meaning. I first became acquainted with them while visiting my son Kevin in Fargo. We’d gone to a new bar to sample the wares. I don’t remember what I ordered; what I do remember is that it arrived in a cocktail glass with a giant round ice cube floating in it. At first I was intrigued by the single cube and the logic that it could keep the drink cold while not diluting it. It has a sleek look too.
Lo and behold, the ice ball has arrived in Benton Harbor, MI, several years after I first met it in Fargo. That same son, Kevin, and I visited one of our local haunts a couple days ago. We always sit at the bar where he orders the Corpse Reviver straight up and I order a Buffalo Trace Old Fashioned on a rock. The rock does not disappoint.
The other night the cocktail server told us you can get the molds for ice balls at Meijer, so this afternoon I went in search of them. At first, all I found was a mold for five-pointed stars. Then a mold, believe it or not, for crushed ice. At last, I found the ice ball mold on a BOGO sale; and currently there are four of them solidifying in my freezer as I drink my Southern Comfort with ice chards for the last time.