We’ve all been there: the party is rolling, the drinks are flowing and it’s time to dive into the next glass of bubbly, but then … they’re all warm.
Do not panic or make an unnecessary booze run. There are plenty of ways (well, three, by our count) to turn that momentary devastation into a party trick that will chill your vino before your guests even realize they’re thirsty.
(Ed. note: More of a beer fan? For tips on quick-chilling suds, we’ve got you covered.)
The Fun Scientific Way!
One of the quickest and most foolproof methods involves a bit of chemistry and about 15 minutes.
- Before you panic and plunge your bottle into a bucket of ice, sprinkle that ice with about a palmful of regular table salt and stir to coat the ice.
- Put the bottle into a bucket, pour the ice over the wine.
- Fill with cold water.
- Agitate/ spin the bottle frequently (only if you’re chilling still wine).
This is the method of choice for sommeliers and party pros alike. Filling the bucket with water is key; the liquid helps transfer heat from the bottle faster than just ice and air. The addition of salt helps lower the freezing point of the water so that the ice will melt and draw even more heat (energy) from your wine, and by spinning it often, you’ll make sure all the warm liquid in the bottle gets equal attention from the ice-cold bath.
Throw Some Money at It
If you prefer to reserve your ice for cocktails, there are plenty of gadgets to keep on hand for just this type of emergency.
Wine Rocks: No matter what your aunts tell you, ice will dilute your wine until it’s nearly unrecognizable. There are plenty of reusable stainless steel cooling rocks or stones out there that will do the trick. Keep a pack in your freezer for those times when you’re hoping for cold wine sans water.
Cooler Carafes: Those gadgets that claim to keep your wine cool after it’s already opened can also work for a quick chill. The wine lovers behind the Rabbit products have a stainless steel-based system that can cool an entire bottle of wine and keep it cold for 90 minutes.
Maybe spending money on gadgets or creating a salty mess in your kitchen isn’t really your thing. If so, head to the freezer. In general, avoid making a practice of throwing wine in the freezer (you’ll only need to learn this lesson once), but if you’ve got a room full of thirsty guests, odds are you won’t forget it’s there.
You may have heard of the dish towel method, which absolutely works for non-cotton dish towels. Just wet and wring a linen dish towel, wrap around the bottle and throw in the freezer. If you don’t have a linen dish towel, just throw it in naked; cotton is not a great thermal conductor and adds mass, which can actually slow down the cooling process. Make sure to lay the bottle horizontally, and you’ll have a cool bottle in 20-30 minutes.