What kinds of alcohol freeze?

I recently tried making a granita with sake and it turned out more like a slushy. Then, today, I took a bottle of soju out of my freezer to find that it was almost completely frozen, even though I've had it stored in the freezer for days and up til now it was completely liquid.

This will be useful for future reference when making up new drinks!

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boulangere
boulangere June 22, 2011

Not many. It has to do with the ratio of alcohol to sugar, sugar being the operative ingredient. Generally, the higher the sugar, the lower the freeze point. The higher the alcohol, the lower. If you don't have a saccharometer, by all means get one: http://www.eckraus.com/HY150.html. Cheap at twice the price. For sorbets and granitas, you are looking for a reading between 12 and 15 degrees. If below 12, add simple syrup. If above 25, add lemon or lime juice. You are looking to adjust the specific gravity of your solution.

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SKK
SKK June 22, 2011

It is not the type of alcohol that freezes, it is the proof that freezesor not. And I don't even begin to understand in a way I can talk about proof. But the good news is that proof is on the bottle.
24 proof liquor freezes at -6.7°C (20°F)
64 proof liquor freezes at -23.33°C (-10°F)
84 proof liquor freezes at -34.44°C (-30°F)

These freezing poings are much colder than my home freezer. And I have had the experience of chilling a bottle of white wine or beer in the freezer and they went from slushy to freezing and then exploding. Sigh.

And having traveled in Russia and the Urkaine have been very happy to know that vodka does not freeze - just gets really, really cold. Oh so good....

Don't know the proof of sake, and it seems that it is higher proof than soju. (Don't know what soju is either, and am happy to learn about it.)


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SKK
SKK June 22, 2011

@boulangere - your answer is the best. Now I am going to get a saccharometer. This is another one of those amazing unexpected lessons on foodpickle, thanks to anitalectric's question and your answer!

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sdebrango
sdebrango June 22, 2011

This is really interesting, must get a saccharometer, had a heck of a time with my lemon lime campari sorbet had to keep adjusting the alcohol so it would freeze. If I had known this and had one of those meter's it would have been easier. I set my freezer at -1 would have to have been much colder to freeze the campari. Thanks this is such a learning experience.

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boulangere
boulangere June 22, 2011

Seriously, my friends, cheap at twice the price. My sister asked me once which was more difficult to make, ice cream or sorbet. Sorbet far and away. One question leads to another and another and . . . . !

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mcd2
mcd2 June 22, 2011

boulangere, you are quite amazing. seems you love and appreciate the science of cooking (and I bet of life, too)! i too love the question leading to the next discovery and the next. bravo!

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boulangere
boulangere June 23, 2011

Gosh, mcd2, great way of reducing cooking and life to their essences. One never finishes learning because one question and answer usually lead to the next . . .

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drbabs
drbabs June 23, 2011

I so love you guys.

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Anitalectric
Anitalectric June 23, 2011

Wow. Thanks for these eye-opening answers. It never crossed my mind that it might have something to do with the sugar content rather than type of drink. I can't wait to experiment with this again!

@boulangere, that link didn't work for me, can you repost? Also, what are some other uses for a saccharometer? Sounds rad.

Hope to post my lemon verbena sake granita recipe soon!

Answer image

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Droplet
Droplet June 23, 2011

Generally, anise liquers form crystals when you put them in the freezer. There are different ones, such as Ouzo, Pernod, Mastika...Their ability to "freeze" is considered one of their sought after characteristic. The one we have at home right now is a european variety and says on the label it has 47% alcohol, I am not sure about it's proof. Other than that, beer freezes, and so does wine.

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sdebrango
sdebrango June 23, 2011

Oh Anita just checked out your website, I am just right down the street from you on Washington Ave. Must check you out, your creations are wonderful

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boulangere
boulangere June 23, 2011
http://www.eckraus.com/HY150.html


There you go! These little things are indispensable. Hope it helps you.
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Anitalectric
Anitalectric June 23, 2011

Thanks, boulangere! Do you have one of these at home and if so what else can you do with it?

@sdebrango- I used to deliver to Washington Ave all the time...Fresh Fanatic and Love Coffee Bites. You should come check out my booth at the Smorgasburg market this weekend! It is on the Williamsburg waterfront between N6th and 7th Sts. xo

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