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Household Tip That I Had Thought Everyone Knew,

Until I Realized That Only All Russians Knew It: Keep vodka in the freezer. That way you don't have to shake your vodka martinis with ice (especially if the mixer is already cold), or otherwise dilute good vodka with mere voda (water).

The same principle likely applies to other hard liquor which people like to drink or mix ice cold, though I can't speak about this with the same familiarity that I can about vodka.

Taimyoboi:
I always enjoyed using a fire extinguisher on a six-pack.

Fastest way to freeze a brew.
1.30.2006 12:49pm
Humble Law Student:
Tai,

Lol, and I thought I had learned all the tricks from fraternity life... Def. a good idea!
1.30.2006 12:57pm
Blackwing1 (mail):
Works great with gin, as well. Colder-than-ice-cold (our freezer is usually at about -5F).

Of course, here in Minnesota all you have to do is leave the bottle sit out in the porch...
1.30.2006 1:03pm
Topher:
Definitely only applies to hard liquor though - vermouth, for instance, will freeze.

I wonder if anywhere on the internet there's a graph showing which liquors can be stored in the freezer based on their alcohol content.
1.30.2006 1:03pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
I wonder what kind of Vodka you drink. Grey Goose or Kettle One?
1.30.2006 1:07pm
jahoulih:
1. Martinis are made with gin, not vodka.

2. Pace James Bond, Martinis (and other drinks that do not contain fruit juice, eggs, or dairy products) are stirred, not shaken.

3. The dilution that comes from stirring (or shaking) room-temperature spirits with very cold ice is crucial in the preparation of a properly balanced cocktail.

4. However, if Russian food is on the menu, then ice-cold vodka straight from the freezer is probably necessary.
1.30.2006 1:16pm
lucia (mail) (www):
That's where my Dad stored his Vodka. I don't know if he learned it from his Cuban (pre-Castro immigrant) mother or Irish-American father but the information did travel further than Russia!
1.30.2006 1:37pm
In the Year 2000 (mail):
Another useful tip: garnish your vodka martini with olives stuffed w/ bleu cheese. Might sound strange but is mouth waterinlgy good.
1.30.2006 1:40pm
Eric S. (mail) (www):
Works well with rum, too.
1.30.2006 1:43pm
Chico's Bail Bonds (mail):
If you have frozen Vodka, how the heck do you get it out of the bottle? Or does Vodka not freeze in a freezer?
1.30.2006 1:43pm
Cheburashka (mail):
It doesn't freeze in a freezer.
1.30.2006 1:45pm
MikeC&F (mail) (www):
I learned this trick from a Polish friend (he lived under communist dictators and speaks Russian, so I think he's closs enough!). Like all good memes, it has spread all across the country.
1.30.2006 1:46pm
J. Brenner (mail):
I seem to remember a cautionary tale regarding this practice - pretty sure it's in the novel Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith. In the novel, a Russian guide in some sort of rustic setting produces a bottle of vodka with a very high alcohol content for a group of foreign guests. The problem was that the vodka had been left to chill in sub zero temperatures, and, because the vodka was nearly pure alcohol, it remained liquid at a far lower temperature than was safe to consume. The Russian guide, who took the first swig, promptly falls over dead. Not sure if this could actually happen, but I wouldn't want to try it.
1.30.2006 1:47pm
MarkB (www):
Of course, Polish vodka (wódka) is the original vodka. There are many variations, for example the inimitable Zubrówka, or "bison grass vodka" (http://www.zubrowka.net/).

I can attest through somber experience that it is definitely "best" when kept in the freezer. At least as far as I can remember.
1.30.2006 1:56pm
Oh my word (mail):
I just left a bottle of wine in the ice box trying to chill it for a party, and it froze solid. So I'm guessing you gotta have a stronger alcohol content than that...
1.30.2006 1:56pm
Mr Diablo:
Did anyone not know this?

Can we expect future Volokh housekeeping tips like:

"Keep ice in the freezer."
"Don't burn down your house."
"If you wash clothing it will become clean."
"Don't pee on the electric fence."

BTW, gin belongs next to vodka in the freezer. Seriously, the myths about freezing ruining the botanicals do not make any sense.
1.30.2006 1:56pm
Avi (mail):
I haven't found a graph online, but there should be a page in the CRC Handbook that lists the freezing points of different aqueous solutions of ethanol. In the US, the "normal" freezer temperature is 0 F (about -18 C).


Martinis are made with gin, not vodka.

As far as I'm concerned, that's a distinction without a difference. Gin is merely vodka flavored with juniper berries or the like.
1.30.2006 2:00pm
Some Guy (mail):
Um, no. The Russians don't know this. They don't drink their vodka cold, they drink it warm, at room temperature. If their feeling ina fancy mood, they'll eat cucumber slices as they get blitzed.

Seriously, like a Russian would have the patience or electricity necessary to chill a bottle of vodka in the freezer!

(I won't even get into what would happen to you if you tried to dilute vodka into a martini in the presence of a real-life Russian.)
1.30.2006 2:08pm
acs:
works great with 18 year scotch.
1.30.2006 2:10pm
Alex R:
Gin is merely vodka flavored with juniper berries or the like.
Merely?

On another question, for the Russians -- is the similarity of the word "vodka" to "voda" (water) purely coincidental? Or something more?
1.30.2006 2:12pm
jahoulih:
"Vodka" is a diminutive form of "voda."

The BATF, incidentally, does not categorize gin as a vodka:

1.30.2006 2:16pm
Robert West (mail) (www):
It definitely also applies to ouzo and sambuca.
1.30.2006 2:17pm
jahoulih:
BATF link here.
1.30.2006 2:19pm
MarkM:
When I was studying in the UK, a bunch of us bought a bottle of cheap vodka from a corner store and threw it in the freezer. Within an hour or two, a big block of ice had formed in the bottle but the alcohol in it was still unfrozen. In other words, this particular brand of "vodka" was nothing more than water mixed with alcohol and the alcohol separated out once the water froze. Ewwww!
1.30.2006 2:20pm
uh clem (mail):
The Stragiht Dope on James Bond, Vodka martinis, and the relative virtues of shaking and stirring.

I've always kept my Aquavit in the freezer right next to the gin. I keep the vodka where it's most handy: in the basement next to the sink and the paint brushes.

Avi: gin is just vodka flavored with juniper? And wine is just diluted vodka with grape flavoring? You, sir, are a philistine!
1.30.2006 2:20pm
tmittz:
In college I remember a friend of mine got a bottle of Grey Goose for his birthday. Now, for an undergraduate this is a considerable investment. Some of his roommates decided they'd be clever and drink half of it, but refill with water. Too bad that once it was diluted, it froze solid in the freezer, leaving them caught.

As to how cold or how strong the vodka would have to be to avoid freezing, if I remember my chemistry correctly, 40% ethanol to 60% water freezes at negative 10F. Any typical hard liquor is going to be 40% (80 proof), and is unlikely to freeze unless you keep your freezer extraordinarily cold.

Pure ethanol (or grain alchol, 190 proof, 95%) freezes somewhere below the temperature of dry ice, (-77C, or about -150F). So as to the story of the killer vodka, it might be theoretically possible. I'm fairly sure (and correct me if I'm off) that it can reach -50F and colder in siberia. A very strong liquor wouldn't freeze at that temperature, and if you managed to ingest it, would cause massive tissue trauma to the throat, probably enough to close breathing passages.
1.30.2006 2:21pm
SG (mail):
I am quoting from memory here (so please correct me if I don't get the quote right), but I believe that in Slouching to Gomorrah, Robert Bork wrote:

"A vodka martini isn't."
1.30.2006 2:27pm
jahoulih:
1.30.2006 2:36pm
BU2L (mail):
Some Guy:


Um, no. The Russians don't know this. They don't drink their vodka cold, they drink it warm, at room temperature. If their feeling ina fancy mood, they'll eat cucumber slices as they get blitzed.


As a "real life Russian," I can only tell you that you are deeply wrong. The only time we don't put our vodka in the freezer, is when we put in the snow on the window ledge. (This trick is easily repeated in Boston).

We do eat cucumber, but pickled, and usually not sliced. A better chaser is pickled herring, or if you are a man, a hard sniff of your own fist. And don't forget to exhale when you throw the shot at the back of your throat.
1.30.2006 2:37pm
Wild Pegasus (mail) (www):
It's good to see Prof. Volokh blogging about drinking hard liquor at 12:45 pm on a Monday.

- Josh
1.30.2006 2:39pm
Patrick (mail):
The guy who puts his 18 year old scotch in the freezer is a dead man if he goes to Scotland! Or even Ireland.

Freezer is fine for Vodka, fine for grappa and fine for gin although I prefer it warmer, and great for European brandies like Eau-de-vie. mmm, rasperry eau-de-vie!

Any form of chilling is completely unacceptable for whiskys whiskies cognac and its derivatives (armagnac, etc).

If you don't really like scotch or if it's really hot, you can add an iceblock. But if you don't really like scotch, why are you buying 18 yos?
1.30.2006 2:39pm
Mikhail (mail):
Tip for vodka lovers: Try buying a really cheap vodka -- stuff you'd never allow to touch your lips -- and run it through a Brita water filtration pitcher three times. In taste tests in our household, the results were comparable to fine vodkas brought by house guests from Russia. Really quite surprising.
1.30.2006 2:43pm
Sailorcurt (mail) (www):
Correct, a Vodka martini is not a "martini" it is a "Vodka Martini" And your point is?

Stirring does not get the mix cold enough. A good Vodka martini is served (in a chilled glass) as cold as you can get it...which means shaking (there's no such thing as a good martini...it's got gin in it so you can stir that concoction to your heart's content).

Finally, Gin may not ACTUALLY be juniper flavored vodka, but you could get a pretty good approximation of the flavor of gin by soaking one of those pine tree automobile air fresheners in a glass of Vodka for an hour or so. Of course, why anyone would want to ruin a perfectly good glass of Vodka in such a way is a bit beyond me.
1.30.2006 2:43pm
triticale (mail) (www):
I'm disinclined to believe that wine would freeze solid. I would expect it to do as hard cider did when I used to make applejack. The water turns to slush, and the alcohol and flavoring can then be pured off as a concentrate.
1.30.2006 2:44pm
BU2L (mail):
Oh, and if I'm not mistaken, the man who discovered that vodka will not freeze if over 80 proof was Mikhail Lomonosov, the great scientist.
1.30.2006 2:45pm
gin drinker:

I haven't found a graph online, but there should be a page in the CRC Handbook that lists the freezing points of different aqueous solutions of ethanol. In the US, the "normal" freezer temperature is 0 F (about -18 C).


liquor is of course water + ethanol + impurities, so the freezing point will be somewhat lower than CRC numbers for H2O + ethanol.




Martinis are made with gin, not vodka.



As far as I'm concerned, that's a distinction without a difference. Gin is merely vodka flavored with juniper berries or the like.


Um, that's a distinction with a difference. If you asked for one of those flavored vodkas, and the bartender gave you straight vodka, would that also be a distinction without a difference?

Or what if you asked for a rum and coke, and got a glass of rum -- is that also a distinction without a difference?
1.30.2006 2:46pm
Steven Jens (mail) (www):
As you might guess, I've never been killed by drinking vodka too cold, but I did get some surface freezing in my mouth and throat once, which was unpleasant. If it had been even colder, it might have been worse.

As someone my brother works with said, "vodka is like coffee -- it's great, but it doesn't belong in a martini." But as long as it's referred to as a "vodka martini", though, and understood to be a completely different drink, each one to his taste.
1.30.2006 2:49pm
jahoulih:
Do you "vodka martini" drinkers put vermouth in your drinks, or are you really just talking about cold vodka and olives?
1.30.2006 2:54pm
Apodaca:
The joke is on all of you. Everyone knows Eugene isn't old enough to drink.
1.30.2006 2:58pm
Ted Barlow (mail) (www):
I got a bottle of gin as a present once, tasted it, and put it in the freezer. I don't drink much, so it was probably about a month and a half until I thought of taking it out again. I assume that it was the frost-free mechanism that had sucked out about a cup of liquid. It's worth a bit of caution.
1.30.2006 3:00pm
Thief (mail) (www):
Taimyoboi:

Actually, the faster way (according to Mythbusters, anyway) is to put what you want to chill in a bath of ice, cold water, and salt. The salt lowers the freezing point of the ice so that your mixture is below 32 deg. F. I've done a few bottles of champagne, white wine, six packs, and even a growler of beer this way.
1.30.2006 3:00pm
ChrisO (mail):
The freezer doesn't ruin the gin botanicals, but when cold the aromatic chemicals are much less volatile, and thus much less pronounced. 0 degree gin is a compromise between the strong flavour of gin slightly chilled, and the flavourlessness of vodka.
1.30.2006 3:01pm
GMUSL 2L (mail):
Mikhail,

Brita/PUR filters are a poor way to do it. Instead, try something designed for liquor, like the Grey Kangaroo
1.30.2006 3:07pm
uh clem (mail):
RE: vodka martinis

People call anything in a martini glass a martini these days. Hows about an olive oil and Tang martini?

triticale: Wine will freeze solid in the freezer, although it'll take ten hours or so. I've put bottles of wine in the freezer to cool and forgotten about them more times than I care to remember. Usually it just pops the cork rather than breaking the botttle, so once thawed it is drinkable - just don't wait too long.

tmittz: Pure grain alcohol will not cause "massive tissue trauma to the throat", at least in small quantities (i.e. half an ounce). It's darned unpleasant but not immediately traumatic. Yes, I've tried it, no I don't want to repeat it and would strongly dissuade anyone else from doing it.
1.30.2006 3:18pm
ap (mail):
Here's the scoop from the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (54th ed., classic!, p D-200) 28% ethanol (i. e. 56 proof) freezes at -18.42 C or -1 F. I'd give yourself some leeway, though. 34 % ethanol (68 proof) freezes at -24.27 C or -11 F. Anything stronger would be lower in freezing point.
1.30.2006 3:30pm
Joel:
In the United States, 27 CFR 5.37 requires that the label contain a statement of the alcohol content by volume, ABV, of the liquor.

Take that ABV number and divide it by 100 minus ABV. You should then have a number between 0 and 1. Divide -10.44 by that ratio, and that'll be your freezing point, in degrees Celsius.
1.30.2006 3:38pm
anonymous coward:
I agree with jahoulih's advice for gin (i.e. real) martinis--stirred, dilution crucial--though I suppose a vodka martini might be too bland if dilluted by melting ice. To me, all vodka martinis are incredibly bland, so YMMV.

I rather like sipping Grey Goose warm, oddly. For cocktails I have no favorite vodka but highly recommend Hendrick's in a martini (but not a gin and tonic).
1.30.2006 3:40pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
acs: works great with 18 year scotch

What Patrick said. What the hell are you doing putting 18YO single-malt in the freezer, or putting ice in it?

PLEASE tell me you did not do this with the Macallan 18.

Please send me any bottles you are even thinking of doing this with, &I will send you nice bottles of Dewars or Johnnie Red (Churchill's fav) in exchange.

(Btw, picked up the Glenfiddich 18 this weekend which I hadn't had before. Very nice for a sherry-casked Scotch.)
1.30.2006 3:42pm
Dick King:
I'll give out three factoids you might find interesting.

1: Not only may bottles of high-proof liquors not freeze if placed in a freezer at ordinary temperatures, but if they do freeze they might well not break their bottles. Pure water would freeze from the outside in and the inner core breaks the little bottle-shaped ice container, but strong solutions freeze with a porous crystal structure and also the water freezes first so sooner or later you get a core of pure alcohol [which may even freeze if the freezer is cold enough, but ethanol doesn't share water's quirk of expanding as it freezes, if I remember correctly].

2: I keep five plastic 1-gallon jugs of strong brine in my deep freezer, which I normally keep at -5 degF [-20 degC?] . Some of the water freezes, but not all of it [I think]. The purpose of this exercise is to save my food from a 1-2 day power failure. If you do the math it takes the freezer a full day to freeze the water [it runs flat out for about a day, then about 30-40% depending on the season] which you get back if the power goes out.

3: It's normally true that for two substances that are miscable in all proportions in the liquid phase there is a ratio where the melting/freezing point is lower than the lower of the melting/freezing points of the two substances. Electronics solder is an alloy of lead and tin and has a substantially lower melting point than the melting point of either. I would expect this to follow for water and ethanol as well.

-dk
1.30.2006 3:48pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Genever.
1.30.2006 4:00pm
WB:
I thought it was common knowledge too.

And I'm not from Russia
1.30.2006 4:05pm
Sigivald (mail):
MarkM said:
In other words, this particular brand of "vodka" was nothing more than water mixed with alcohol and the alcohol separated out once the water froze.

...

What do you imagine other Vodkas to be, at the chemical level, pray tell?

(Even if you meant pure alcohol with water mixed in, I assure you that there's no magic to vodka (or for that matter whiskey) which naturally produces them at exactly 80 proof; they are almost always (99%+) sold diluted down to their target proof by the addition of water.

The exception being cask-strength whiskeys, bottled undiluted somewhere in the 130-140 proof range; though I've never heard of that being done with vodka, it's certainly possible.)

They're all going to be ethanol and water, except for very small amounts of impurities ("flavor", we call it), unless it's Very Bad Vodka Indeed, to have significant amounts of anything else.
1.30.2006 4:08pm
Erik H.:

Taimyoboi:

Actually, the faster way (according to Mythbusters, anyway) is to put what you want to chill in a bath of ice, cold water, and salt. The salt lowers the freezing point of the ice so that your mixture is below 32 deg. F. I've done a few bottles of champagne, white wine, six packs, and even a growler of beer this way.


That works. It works better if you add finely chipped dry ice to the salty water (ahh, science...)

It ALSO works better--much--if you spin the bottle occasionally, to get rid of the water layers which impede the heat transfer. That's the principle behind the 'instant chillers' you may have seen sold for a single can.
1.30.2006 4:27pm
byrd (mail):
This isn't limited to Russians. It's also common knowledge among Alcoholics.
1.30.2006 4:37pm
farmer56 (mail):
Eugene! I love you! keeping this board light is maybe your most enduring quality.

Ok. Booze dont freeze. Why I know this I am not so proud of. Just somwhere I possesed some as a lad and, at -35 F it was just fine. yes, I'm working on my problem.

Vodka v Gin. Its like the difference between the Packers and the Bears. Its what you like.

Anyone that would put an 18 yearld scotch in a freezer, should be hung by the neck until dead. And, not tommorrow morning, RIGHT NOW!

A Very good single malt is servered a temp no lower than 55 F. My brother was at a persons home for a drink one nite, and the host offered a him a 12 year old single malt, my brother accepted and said that a scotch on the rocks sounded very good. The host brought him A Canadian whisky on the rocks and said if he would add ice to a 12 yr old single malt he would never now the difference.

To add to the household hits gambit. At a friends the husband errupted when he found his wife failed to chill the white wine. My wife rushed into save his wife. My wife poured the wine into a zip lock baggie and floated it in a sink filled with ice cubes and just a bit of water, and a quarter box of salt. 5 minutes, cold wine.

Thanks for all the laughs. drinkers are the funniest people
1.30.2006 4:47pm
Jacob T. Levy (mail):
Ted Barlow wrote:

I got a bottle of gin as a present once, tasted it, and put it in the freezer. I don't drink much, so it was probably about a month and a half until I thought of taking it out again. I assume that it was the frost-free mechanism that had sucked out about a cup of liquid.

I assume it was the roommate mechanism, or the visiting teenager mechanism, or some similar. I've left many bottles of gin in frost-free freezers for much longer than this with no loss...
1.30.2006 4:58pm
Jerry Mimsy (www):
RE vodka/voda. My guess is that they are related. Many names for distilled alcohol end up being "water of life" or something like that. Whiskey is another one. c.f. aqua vitae. It seems to be like "corn".

I don't know how reliable this is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqua_vitae
1.30.2006 5:15pm
Dan Simon (www):
There is, however, one extremely important advantage to keeping your vodka in the liquor cabinet rather than the freezer: most liquor cabinets have a lock.
1.30.2006 5:16pm
Colin:
Mimsy,

They are related. As someone mentioned in passing above, "vodka" is the diminutive/familiar/affectionate form of "voda." The best translation that I have ever heard is "A wee drop." It's not exact, of course, but it seems to catch the connotation.
1.30.2006 5:46pm
Ted Barlow (mail) (www):
Jacob,

Although I am biologically incapable of typing a smiley face, I'm smiling right now.

I don't think that's it, though; my fiancee's the only other person in the house, and she doesn't drink at all. (She actually alerted me to the decline in volume by insinuating that I was nipping drinks on the sly.) The bottle has a plastic cork top, so I'm going to blame that. Or, maybe I don't know her as well as I think I do...
1.30.2006 5:57pm
tmittz:
clem: I wasn't saying that the grain alcohol itself will cause massive trauma (although it tastes bad enough that the drinker might be fooled). I was commenting on the story about someone drinking extremely cold liquor and dying. Grain alcohol should be able to get cold enough to reach a temperature that would immediately frostbite your throat.
1.30.2006 6:19pm
Wintermute (www):
Potato vodka...tastier. Monopolowa (Austrian) or better, Luksosowa (Polish). Glacier, for the buy-American folks.

More viscous out of the freezer. Crack some black pepper on the top.
1.30.2006 6:20pm
Neema (mail):

Here's the scoop from the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (54th ed., classic!, p D-200) 28% ethanol (i. e. 56 proof) freezes at -18.42 C or -1 F. I'd give yourself some leeway, though. 34 % ethanol (68 proof) freezes at -24.27 C or -11 F. Anything stronger would be lower in freezing point.


There is a problem with this analysis. The CRC tables refer to MASS PERCENT of ethanol solutions at 20 deg C while US measures of ethanol content are PERCENT VOLUME at 60 deg C. The numbers are different due to the large difference in density between ethanol and water.

Put this way: if you mix 40 g of pure ethanol with 60 g of pure water you will have 40% by mass ethanol with a density of 0.9352 g/mL and a volume of 106.9 mL. However, the volumes you mixed were 50.68 mL of ethanol and 60.11. By the American definition then, the % ABV is 45.74 %, or 91 proof. Hence, if you double the volume of the drink by adding only water, the % ABV is cut in half to 22.87 %.

An 80 proof bottle of vodka, which is about 34.5% ethanol by mass, freezes around -24.7 deg C, or -12.5 deg F.

Note this ignores the small effect of doing the measurement at 60 deg F (15.6 deg C) instead of 20 deg C.

I'm not sure if ap guessed the (approximately) right % by mass for an 80 proof bottle, just knew it, or that was the only data he/she had. The 83rd ed. CRC has extensive aqueous ethanol solution tables (page 8-62).
1.30.2006 6:26pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
When I was studying in the UK, a bunch of us bought a bottle of cheap vodka from a corner store and threw it in the freezer. Within an hour or two, a big block of ice had formed in the bottle but the alcohol in it was still unfrozen. In other words, this particular brand of "vodka" was nothing more than water mixed with alcohol and the alcohol separated out once the water froze. Ewwww!

ALL vodka is pretty much ethanol and water.

As far as potency, I did once get plowed on Mai-Tais made from Bacardi 151. I survived but only barely. Clue: if, when projectile vomiting, you feel ten hard objects at the back of your mouth, stop at once. Those are your toenails, and you are about to flip inside out.
1.30.2006 8:54pm
TomFromMD (mail):
"(Btw, picked up the Glenfiddich 18 this weekend which I hadn't had before. Very nice for a sherry-casked Scotch.)"

Boring. Go get yourself a bottle of Ardbeg - even the 10 year old. Fantastic stuff.
1.30.2006 9:15pm
IlyaB:
Eugene,

Take it to the next level. Grab an old cardboard milk or juice carton of the half gallon variety. Fill it with a couple of inches of water and put it in the freezer. When the water freezes, place a bottle of vodka inside the container and fill with more water. Put that in the freezer. When solid, remove the cardboard carton (run it under hot water for a few seconds).

Your vodka bottle is now encased in a block of ice, ready to spend the entire evening on the table while remaining cold as you and your friends get blitzed on its icy goodness. Looks cool too.

Cheers.
1.30.2006 11:30pm
18 USC 1030 (mail):
The rule I was always told was if it's clear freeze it; otherwise, don't even think about it....
1.31.2006 1:36am
Frank Drackmann (mail):
While in the Navy on deployment, my aid station had a bottle of "medicinal" 100% ethyl alcohol. Although not used much anymore alcohol has a few legitimate medical uses, such as in antifreeze poisoning, and in the past was used to stop premature labor.(It can also be used IV for alcohol withdrawal instead of the more modern benzodiazepines) One day we were having a cookout behind our aidstation but had run out of lighter fluid. I got the bright idea to use a little of the ethanol to get the briquets going. My eyebrows grew back a few months later.
1.31.2006 6:57am
S. Keith (mail):
Wine does indeed freeze and in fact that's the best way to preserve an opened bottle of red wine. Recork it, preferably in a 375ml bottle, leaving some space in the neck, and freeze it for as long as you want. Defrost it upright (it will throw a heavy sediment) and in most cases it will show only minor deterioration from a fresh bottle. The vacuum stoppers and other methods are just placebos.
1.31.2006 12:24pm
David Chesler (mail) (www):
Dick King writes:
I keep five plastic 1-gallon jugs of strong brine in my deep freezer, which I normally keep at -5 degF [-20 degC?] . Some of the water freezes, but not all of it [I think].

Given the massive difference in the heat of fusion versus the specific heat, wouldn't you be able to store more cold in the bottles if they did all freeze?

I guess by using brine instead of water you get the advantage that the whole system maintains a lot of cold and uses a lot of heat getting past the melting point of the brine. If you used water the system wouldn't have much stored cold keeping itself below 0C, and while that's a good temperature for a refrigerator or a cooler, it's not enough for a deep freezer.

IIUC using salt plus ice (to chill booze, or to make ice cream) won't actually cool the stuff to below the temperature that the ice was at, but because it induces melting it causes the ice to suck the heat out of the stuff (to satisfy its heat of fusion) much faster.

I keep gin in my freezer. Which is strange, because I drink Manhattans.
1.31.2006 2:10pm
Uninvited Guest:

It's normally true that for two substances that are miscable in all proportions in the liquid phase there is a ratio where the melting/freezing point is lower than the lower of the melting/freezing points of the two substances. Electronics solder is an alloy of lead and tin and has a substantially lower melting point than the melting point of either. I would expect this to follow for water and ethanol as well.


These are called eutectic mixtures and they are common, but not the norm. Ethanol/water is not a eutectic mixture, although it is azeotropic (boiling point is maximized at 95% ethanol). On the otehr hand, salt and water is eutectic with a minimun freezing pt of -21 C at 23 wt% salt.
1.31.2006 4:17pm
Jacob Lister (mail):
Jaegermeister can be stored in a freezer without freezing indefinitely if, like me, you aren't particularly fond of it.
1.31.2006 6:48pm