Many of us enjoy an occasional alcohol freezer. Whether it’s a watermelon granita or an accidental half-frozen beer. Although alcohol does freeze, we may notice that not all alcohol freeze at the same rate. It can freeze in a very wide range of temperatures. Wine coolers, for example, might turn sticky after putting it in a freezer overnight while vodka, on the other hand, will remain relatively liquid amidst the low freezing temperatures inside a normal fridge.
The freezing point of various types of alcohol may differ on the basis of the type of mix it is blended and the storage it is placed in. For instance, when a gin martini and margarita are stuck on the freezer, you can’t expect them to turn out the same way. The freezing points differ based on alcohol concentration or proof which doubles the alcoholic percentage. Wine is mostly around 24 proof or 12 percent alcohol. Vodka in the other hand is 80 proof or 40 percent alcohol. While grain alcohol is almost pure alcohol with 190 proof!
The proof level and freezing point of any given alcohol are inversely proportional to each other. This simply means that the higher the alcohol content of an alcoholic beverage, the more difficult it is to freeze. The majority of spirits have freezing points well below the maximum capacity of our own meager home refrigerators (they are typically fixed at 0 °F or -18 °C). One bottle of Everclear rectified spirit with 190 proof or 95% alcohol content, freezes at -173.2 °F or -114 °C, which means that it would maintain a chilled but still, completely liquid state following an overnight stay at the fridge [source: Sauce]. A vodka with 80 proof or 40% alcohol content has a freezing point of -16.5 °F or -27 °C which also means that it will remain unfrozen after a full day of refrigeration.
In case you decide to minimize the proof level and increase the freezing point, however, there’s a chance that you would arrive at a freezer catastrophe once you fail in setting up the proper conditions (or a delicious frozen cocktail if you succeed in doing so). Wine is somewhere between 85% – 90% made of water, which means it has a freezing point of 20 °F (-6.7 °C) — the water is the first one to reach its freezing point at 37 °F or 0 °C followed by the alcohol [source: Wine Spectator].
It will appear watery for a time prior to ultimately turning into solid ice. As a good rule of thumb: never freeze wine inside a bottle. Water enlarges once it reaches the freezing point which means that there’s a chance the growing pressure could create a fissure on the bottle or completely pop out the cork. Beer, which contains approximately just 10 proof or 5% of alcohol content can create the same kind of disaster. If you leave a can or bottle of beer inside the fridge after a few days, the water could expand to a point where the bottle tops are pushed out or the cans erupt.
In any event that you’re considering to use the fridge as your own personal home factory for slushy spirits or iced drinks, it would be best to rely on a proven recipe first. (As an example, a recipe in making slushy strawberry margaritas requires 4 hours of freezing inside a non-metallic fridge, mixing the blend halfway through). Having a small amount of knowledge regarding freezing points will surely help you out a lot, but proceeding without any information at hand could entail plenty of trial and error along the way. Searching for a proven and effective recipe could help you save plenty of time and money and offer you far superior results as well.