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Why doesn’t vodka freeze? Here’s a science lesson about the spirit


If you put wine or beer in a freezer, it will be frozen solid in just a few hours.

But if you put vodka in your home freezer, it won’t freeze, even after weeks — or months. 

So whether you’re blending vodka with fruit juices to create favorites like a screwdriver, crafting a vodka martini or mixing up a trendy Moscow Mule, ice-cold — but not frozen vodka from your freezer — elevates the taste of the cocktail for sure.

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It’s very common to store vodka in the freezer so that you have chilled vodka ready at a moment’s notice. 

Still, you may have pondered why vodka never freezes in your home freezer

cocktails

Whether you’re blending vodka with fruit juices to create favorites like a screwdriver or crafting a vodka martini, ice-cold vodka elevates the taste of the cocktail. But did you ever wonder why this spirit doesn’t freeze?  (iStock)

A science expert revealed the cold, hard truth about why this spirit doesn’t freeze.

What’s alcohol got to do with it?

The alcohol in liquor is ethanol. 

“Vodka is typically around 80 proof, which means it contains 40% ethanol by volume,” said Tara S. Carpenter, PhD, a principal lecturer in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Maryland Baltimore County in Baltimore. 

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“The other 60% is mostly water, although there can be added flavorings, sugar or dissolved impurities,” she said.

The freezing point of alcohol is much lower than the widely known freezing point for liquids such as water.

The freezing point of water is 0°C or 32°F, she said, while the freezing point of ethanol is -114.1°C or -173.5°F. 

Since the freezing point of alcohol is much lower than the widely known freezing point for liquids such as water — vodka won’t freeze in a regular home freezer. 

alcoholic beverages

Bottles of assorted alcoholic beverages. While putting vodka “in the freezer will affect it somewhat, it won’t freeze solid in your traditional freezer.” (iStock)

“At around 40% alcohol (80-proof), vodka has a freezing point that hovers at around -16 degrees Fahrenheit. And while putting it in the freezer will affect it somewhat, it won’t freeze solid in your traditional freezer,” noted Reader’s Digest. 

It’s a nifty science lesson, for sure.

“When we mix ethanol and water together, the mixture has its own unique freezing point that is lower than that of water, due to something called freezing point depression,” said Carpenter. 

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That said, if you prefer your vodka without a mixer and on the rocks, or if shots of vodka are your go-to drink, storing it in your freezer is a sound strategy. 

For most vodka, storing it in the freezer is the way to go, and it will probably make the shot much easier to handle, according to the VinePair.com.

What’s the consensus on whether to keep vodka in the freezer?

Many Americans keep a bottle or two stored in their home freezer, but is that truly the best place to store it?  

Three Smirnoff bottles

A variety of Smirnoff vodka liquors. Don’t fret about not storing vodka in your freezer — as that leaves more room for frozen pizza and ice cream. (Rick Kern/Getty Images)

If your vodka of choice is top-tier, skip the freezer, Grey Goose vodka creator Francois Thibault told Business Insider. 

If you prefer a more budget-friendly vodka, he said it’s not a bad idea to keep it in the freezer, since cold temperatures may mask the vodka’s notes or properties, which could be “aggressive” and “burning,” according to Thibault. 

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So, deciding to store vodka in your home freezer is a personal decision. 

Nightlife-Stock-Images

Cold temperatures may mask a vodka’s notes or properties. (iStock)

It won’t freeze, but the quality of vodka could impact your decision about whether to store it in your fridge or your freezer. 

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Still, if you choose not to store vodka in the freezer, don’t fret — as that leaves more room for frozen pizza and ice cream.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.



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