We’ve all put alcohol we purchased in the fridge or even the freezer to keep it cold. But unlike other drinks, it doesn’t seem to freeze. This is great for us because it means we can get it super cold without risking the possibility of accidentally creating giant alcoholic ice cubes. But why doesn’t liquor freeze?
The truth is, liquor actually can freeze… if the temperature is low enough. Your average freezer just isn’t cold enough to do the trick. How cold it actually has to be to freeze depends on the proof of the liquor. If your vodka has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 40%, it will probably freeze at around -16° Fahrenheit or -26° Celsius.
The reason the freezing point is so low for liquor is due to the ethanol content. This is also why beer and wine can freeze if they’re left in your freezer long enough. Ethanol is essentially the alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. The fermentation process produces ethanol and carbon dioxide and the ethanol is combined with water to create our favorite alcoholic beverages.
Since wine and beer have lower alcohol content, they can freeze more easily. But vodka, rum, whiskey, tequila, brandy, gin, and the like have a much higher alcohol content making it much more difficult for them to freeze. The freezing point for pure ethanol is actually -175°F or -115°C. On the other hand, water freezes at 32°F or 0°C. So the more watered down your alcohol is, the more likely it is to freeze.
The fact that you can throw a bottle of vodka in the freezer without worrying about it freezing is awesome because it allows you to drink a nice cold shot or mix a delicious cold beverage right out of the freezer. But other liquors like whiskey and rum are less likely to be stored in the freezer because it can diminish the flavor. They won’t freeze, but if you want the full flavorful effects, you’ll probably want to avoid the freezer.