This $24 Easy Festive Centerpiece Will Be the Star of Your Thanksgiving (and Beyond)

published Nov 11, 2023
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Wine bottle in ice block frozen with fruit.
Credit: Stephanie Ganz

There’s something so special to me about Thanksgiving — the food, the Macy’s parade, a warm house full of friends and family. It’s one of my absolute favorite days of the year. Maybe that explains why I’ve been dreaming of my Thanksgiving centerpiece since the spring. That’s when I first saw this frozen wine chiller mold from Amazon. It’s been steadily taking over TikTok with the endless ways you can use and decorate with it, and I knew as soon as I saw it that I’d be making it a key feature on my holiday table.

The frozen wine chiller mold is essentially a big ice-bucket-shaped ice cube mold with a nearly infinite capacity for customization. Think of it this way: If you can freeze it in a block of ice, you can use it to decorate your wine chiller. I’m talking about fresh and faux flowers, colorful leaves, whole spices like cinnamon and star anise, cranberries, sliced fruit, herbs, and just about anything else you can dream of. The beauty of the mold is that it can be adapted to any season or situation just by changing up what you put in it — and you can reuse it again and again.

How to Use a Wine Chiller Ice Mold

Credit: Stephanie Ganz

Using a wine chiller ice mold is as easy as making ice, but the result looks super fancy. All you need to do is load the mold with whatever decorative items you’d like. You want to go for bold pops of color and plenty of contrast; I like using sliced citrus or fresh flowers. For fall and winter entertaining, brightly colored leaves (real or fake), mini pine cones, acorns, and evergreen leaves make a beautiful seasonal display. 

For Thanksgiving, I’m filling mine with sliced oranges, star anise, and sprigs of thyme. In my trial run, I was surprised by how good those ingredients all smelled together, too. I thought that freezing them would make the ingredients less aromatic, but instead, I found that the fresh citrus, spices, and herbs created a lovely subtle Thanksgiving-friendly aroma for the table.

Credit: Stephanie Ganz

Fill the mold with your chosen decorations, and then add distilled or double-boiled water (reasons why below) until it’s almost full, leaving about an inch at the top, as water expands when it freezes. Then place the lid on top and pop it in the freezer. Give your mold a full 24 hours to freeze.

When you’re ready to present the wine, pull the mold from the freezer, and run it under warm water for a few minutes. If you’re having trouble, try placing it in a bowl of warm water for about five minutes. It should slide right out, but you can also gently run a butter knife around the edge between the ice and the mold to help loosen it. Turn the mold over onto the bottom piece, which will catch all the drips as the mold melts. Open your wine, and add to the center of the mold. And voilà

Tips for Using a Wine Chiller Ice Mold

  • Use distilled or double-boiled water for clearer ice. Ice from the tap will look cloudier when frozen.
  • Add food coloring or glitter to the water to create even more flair.
  • One way to make sure your items are evenly distributed in the mold is to freeze it in stages. Add a few items and enough water to cover them, freeze for two hours, and repeat until the mold is full. I’ve also seen success with just cramming a bunch of stuff into the mold and then freezing it. There isn’t much room for stuff to move around if the mold is completely full!