Why this Pittsburgh man needs $25,000 for clear ice

Matt Verlinich has raised more than $21,000 to make his clear-ice maker a retail reality.

Courtesy OnTheRocks
Sarah Anne Hughes

The inspiration came from TV commercials.

Ones where liquor is poured, served or presented in a glass with crystal-clear ice cubes.

“They’re so stunning,” Matt Verlinich said of the see-through frozen-water squares.

That’s part of the reason Verlinich invented OnTheRocks, an at-home clear-ice maker that will likely retail for around $60. It consists of three basic parts: a box (which is about eight inches wide, seven inches tall and six inches deep), a tray and a water reservoir.

The flexible tray — one that forms either cubes or spheres — is placed in the plastic reservoir, which is filled with water (even tap) and put in the insulated box. That goes in your freezer. Eighteen to 24 hours later, through the magic of science, you have clear ice.

First, a note to the haters: Making clear ice at home is A Thing. Devotees say it’s slow-melting, doesn’t contain any impurities, and tastes and looks better than normal ice. The average American’s ice is cloudy because of air bubbles that become trapped as the surface layer quickly freezes. The trick to creating clear ice is time: the slower the freezing process, the better (think icicles).

Laugh if you want. But as of Tuesday morning, Verlinich had raised more than $21,000 of his $25,000 goal from nearly 300 backers on Indiegogo. (There are 22 days left in the campaign.) Some of the orders have come from the United Kingdom (about 3,496 miles from Pittsburgh), Finland (4,300), Malaysia (9,343) and Singapore (9,533).