How to Freeze Liquor

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Legal status of freeze distillation

The legal status of freeze distillation in the U.S. and most other western countries is somewhat disputed. In the U.S. federal law deems any form of distillation illegal. But even though we call it “distilling” in this post, freeze distillation is basically just a concentration of alcohol. It is therefore not explicitly illegal. But as goes for any kind of hobby distilling activity: do not try to sell the product and do not talk to the wrong people about it and you will most likely be ok. The government is not hunting anyone who is making the occasional bottle of liquor for themselves.

You can find more information about the legal status of distilling in your state here.

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Storing Alcohol Outside in the Winter

If you live in a cold climate, you have done it… Guests bring beer and wine to a winter party, but there’s no room left in the fridge. However, there is a snowbank outside, and it is a giant cooler, right?

This is the perfect scenario for keeping your drinks cold, and it works fine for the few hours that the average party lasts. You just need to keep an eye on beer so it doesn’t go to slush, and remember to bring the drinks inside before the temperature really drops for the night. If you forget, you could end up with a giant beer slushy instead of a snowbank, and that’s just a waste of good beer.

Don’t Leave Drinks in the Car

When you are rushing around—particularly during the holidays—it can be really easy to forget about that great bottle of wine or the extra six-pack you stashed in the trunk. You may return in the morning to a big mess if the temperature gets too low overnight. When you compare the temperature chart above with the low temperatures possible in winter, you know that even your 80-proof whiskey is in danger at times.

On the coldest nights of the year, place your liquor, beer, and wine in a place where you will notice them when getting out of the car. The same goes for soda, which can burst even faster than alcohol (soda’s freezing point is around 30 degrees Fahrenheit). Cleaning a frozen, sticky car in the middle of a snowstorm is not fun.

How To Freeze Wine

Remember this rule of thumb, never freeze an unopened bottle of wine. Keep in mind that it mainly consists of water. Thus, this adult beverage also expands when frozen. If there is no room for expansion, the frozen liquid will pressure the cap/ cork and the bottle. Consequently, the cap might burst, or the bottle might explode. And you end up with a huge mess that requires a deep cleaning.

It is best to transfer it into a rigid container suitable for freezing. This way, you can save valuable freezer space and avoid having exploded bottles.

Here are the easy and correct ways to freeze wine for later use.

Freezing Wine In Ice Cube Trays

Freezing in ice cube trays is useful if you often use wine in small quantities, like deglazing a pan or sauces. For a slightly larger amount per cube, try muffin tins.

  • 1. Pour wine into ice cube trays.
  • 2. Flash freeze for several hours until firm.
  • 3. Remove the cubes from the freezer.
  • 4. Pack them in a freezer bag.
  • 5. Remove as much air as possible out of the bag and seal it well.
  • 6. Place in the freezer and freeze for up to 3 months.

Freezing Wine In A Freezer-Safe Container

Wine won’t be frozen solid because of its alcohol content. Instead, it will be soft, and you can easily scoop out as much quantity as you need for your future recipes.

  • 1. Pour wine in a freezer-safe shallow container.
  • 2. Leave headspace.
  • 3. Seal the container tightly and mark it with the content and freezing date.
  • 4. For the best quality, freeze it for up to 3 months.

What is the Actual Freezing Point of Whiskey?

Whiskey freezes at about -17°F (-27°C), while an average commercial freezer operates as low as -0.4°F (-18°C), which is not cold enough to turn it solid.

Since you’re probably wondering at what temperatures other alcoholic drinks freeze, we prepared a full list below that can serve as a guideline to placing any alcoholic drinks into the freezer.

Does Whiskey Go Bad? How Long it Lasts and How to Store it

Mar 10, 2021

Does Whiskey Go Bad? This past weekend, my wife and I were cleaning out the pantry and I noticed a half-empty…

FAQs

Can wine spoil?

Yes. A bottle of wine might be bad if it smells off, tastes vinegary or nutty, or looks discolored (darkened white wine and brownish red wine). Except for sparkling wine, discard any leftovers if it looks fizzy or bubbly.

Can you freeze wine to make slushies? Absolutely, yes. Freeze it in ice cube trays for this specific purpose. Take some frozen cubes, add some frozen berries, and process in a blender until everything is mixed and turn into a delicious slushy.

Summary

Wine might not be in your ‘go-to freezer food items.’ Freezing might be an excellent option in a particular situation, such as when you can’t finish up an opened bottle within the next 5 days.

Previously frozen, it certainly won’t taste as lovely as a freshly opened bottle. It is still safe to drink after thawing. But, if the flavor and taste are not up to your standard, you can use it for cooking recipes or mixing it with fruits for refreshing slushies!

You can easily freeze wine in ice cube trays or in a freezer-safe container. Check our easy tips above on freezing wine!

See more:

*image by qwartm/depositphotos

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The Worst Alcohol to Freeze

Liquor drinks that are proofed between 40 and 80 wouldn’t freeze at the normal temperatures of a home freezer. However, these alcoholic beverages will definitely freeze if you left them too long in the freezer:

  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Coolers
  • Cider 
  • Vodka

Liquor likes to stand

Sommeliers often encourage storing bottles of wine on their sides, but for liquor, not so. Keeping your whiskey down rather than standing it upright can cause the cork to mix and seep into the liquid, altering the high-alcohol content and causing it to disintegrate over time. Keep those bottles vertical for best results.

Avoid the sun

If your bottles sit on a bar cart, make sure they’re out of direct sunlight. While UV rays won’t spoil liquor, extended exposure to the sun has a similar effect to storing at high temperatures (speeding up the oxidation process). In fact, researchers from Bacardi showed that sun can be even worse for liquor than warmth. When researchers left bottles exposed to sun for 15 days, bourbon lost 10 percent of its color, and a bottle of scotch lost 40 percent of its color in that time.

Freezing Temperatures

The amount of alcohol in beer and  wine  is relati

The amount of alcohol in beer and wine is relatively modest, with the rest of the volume made up of water and solutes (salts, sugars, etc.). Beer and wine can freeze in your home freezer because they are primarily, but not entirely, water.

Beer and wine do not freeze as “solid” like water in your home freezer. So while you can make ice cubes out of wine to store leftovers, transferring those wine cubes to a zip-top bag for longer-term freezer preservation may result in a sludgy mess in the bag.

Hard liquors, on the other hand, such as vodka, do not freeze in a typical home freezer. When you store them in the freezer, they may appear slightly thicker.

Minor differences in alcohol freeze percentage won’t make a significant difference, but if it’s near, there’s a good possibility it’ll freeze. Here are the freezing alcohol and temperatures:

Freezing beer (with 3% to 12% ABV) at home can be tricky. The freezing point is typically 28 °F (-2 °C), but it’s best to wait until your desired temperature drop below this range before dropping them in order not to damage the taste or integrity of what you have stored away for later use!

Wine has a freezing point of 23 °F (-5 °C) and an ABV from 8% to 14%. You can keep it in the freezer for less than an hour but not more than as you might put the wine at risk.

With an ABV of 20% and a freezing point of 22 °F (-7 °C), low-proof liqueurs like Irish cream may get slushy, and freezing them can permanently change the texture.

64-proof liquor (32% ABV) with a -10 °F (-23 °C) freezing point is OK to freeze. Liqueurs like amaretto and flavored whiskey Fireball fall into this range of alcohol content, so they’re perfect for your next winter party!

80% ABV and -17 °F (-27 °C) freezing point, 80-proof liquor such as gin, vodka, and whiskey are safe to freeze.

Note that these freezing values are approximate, especially for beer and wine. Use the temperatures as a guideline only, and don’t exceed them.

Frequently Asked Questions About Does Alcohol Freeze

If you own a freezer and alcohol the two have probably spent some time together. The alcohol may have come out fine or slushy, but you mostly end up with questions.

To help demystify the way cold and alcohol interact, we pulled together some of the most frequently asked questions about alcohol freezing. Take a look at the questions with our answers below: 

Is It True That Alcohol Does Not Freeze?

No, it is not true that alcohol does not freeze. All alcohol can freeze if the temperature is low enough, but most hard liquors can be stored in a freezer with no trouble.

Does Jack Daniels Freeze In The Freezer?

No, Jack Daniels will not likely freeze in a freezer. Since a bottle of Jack Daniels is 70 proof, your freezer would have to be set to below 0°F for the bottle to freeze. However, you should still make sure to keep it from being stored there for an extended length of time.

Why Did My Vodka Freeze?

If vodka freezes, the temperatures of your freezer are far too low or the ABV of the vodka is below 64 proof. Most vodka will become cloudy in the freezer and thicken, but not freeze. This is a phenomenon called freezing point depression and can be rectified by thawing the vodka.

Freeze the Day

Contrary to popular belief, alcohol can freeze. However, if your preferred alcohol is 50 proof or higher, you can feel free to toss it in the freezer with little worry.

If you’re freezing alcohol intentionally to avoid expiration, we recommend using a bar inventory template or having an inventory management system in place, like BinWise Pro. It’s an all-in-one inventory management system that helps you manage your wine program more effectively and successfully. It keeps track of every bottle’s expiration dates and shelf time. The system will alert you when a bottle is about to pass its drink-by date, so you never waste your inventory again. Contact us to learn more about BinWise Pro and how it can help your bar.

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