Imagine this! You are home late from a long day at work. Your ears hurt from the car honks and you are having an existential crisis. Basically, it’s a normal day. All you can think of right now is the bottle of vodka you put in the freezer.
You open your fridge, pour your vodka in a glass (or drink straight out of the bottle), gulp it down. You experience a brain freeze and a question lingering in the air. “Why didn’t the vodka freeze?”. You head straight to the web for answers (like all dependent beings) and you find the mind-reading wizard; me and I am here to answer your questions.
The secret behind vodka, not freezing, unravels when you learn about the freezing point of alcohol. Your household freezer is not equipped for that. Hence, you are surprised with a chilled shot of vodka and not a vodka snowball.
Now, you are all quizzical! If it’s about the alcohol, why do other alcoholic beverages freeze? Will the vodka freeze if I keep it in the freezer forever? Is vodka a drink blessed by a divine entity? Stop hammering your brain! I will tell you everything. Let’s start with the science behind this.
The Alchemy Of Vodka
The secret is that there’s really no secret. I conducted a small investigation on my own (and by investigation, I mean ‘searched the web while stuffing my face with food). I found out through a Reader’s Digest article that it’s about the alcohol content in the drink.
The freezing point of pure ethanol is -173oF (-113oC), while that of water is 32oF (0oC). Your generic household freezer can cool down to 0oF (-17oC). At last, with 40% alcohol (80 proof), the freezing point of vodka is around -16oF (-26oC).
I gave you all this information just so I could make the point that the freezer in your household is 16oF warm to freeze your vodka. If you really (for some sick reason) want to freeze your vodka, you’d need an industrial freezer, and if you work in a chemistry lab, liquid nitrogen will do. If you are trying to do it in your home, reality check; it will never freeze solid.
It may if you add more water or sugar to it. But that wouldn’t be fair. Is proving a point that important to you? Wait! You just filled the bottle with water! You can’t fool me!
The alcohol you consume, be it hard or the mild ones, all have been diluted with water. So, freezing any alcoholic beverage interferes with its taste and aroma. People who gulp down alcohol can’t relate. Let’s talk more about this in the next section.
Wine Or Water?
Your mild alcoholic beverages (with alcoholic percentages in single digits or hardly till the ‘teens’) like wine or beer have more percentage of water in them. So, they will freeze solid within a few hours in the freezer. They are not suckers for the cold and give up easily. Sometimes, the bottles may crack, so watch out for that!
Even the Godfather of liquors (Whiskey), once put in the freezer, becomes viscous and thick. This happens because the water freezes, but the alcohol stays put. This might make the drink lose its charisma (Sure! if you’re drinking for that).
All in all, it is a bad idea to put any alcohol in the freezer, especially the fancy flavorful ones. With vodka being lower on that spectrum, it doesn’t matter that much. Although, premium vodka drinkers might disagree and say that vodka, too, loses its taste and olfactory notes. So, don’t put it in the freezer (or do. I don’t care much).
Is An Alcohol Popsicle Ok?
If you get a freezer that actually freezes your vodka and hard liquor (why would you do that?!), I should warn you that they would taste nothing like you are imagining. Apart from the fact it is an abomination, it diminishes the taste and aroma of the ‘drink.’ In the end, you’ll just be eating ice that’ll be making you tipsy.
If you want that, then great! But if not, try keeping your drinks away from the freezer (and liquid nitrogen). Although, putting vodka in the freezer to chill it faster every now and then wouldn’t hurt, right?