/ Food & Drink

How do you keep your drinks chilled?

Do you have any tips for keeping your drinks nice and cold in the summer? We recently tried eight popular chilling methods and revealed which was best.

Now different parts of the UK are starting to see the easing of lockdown restrictions, including groups of six being allowed to meet in outside spaces, there’s a good chance many of us will be enjoying a good cold beer or soft drink in a garden this weekend.

Personally I’m looking forward to relaxing with a drink while watching the Premier League, which is back in action after three long months!

There’s little more disappointing than a warm lager or a room-temperature prosecco – so one of our, rather enthusiastic, researchers recently volunteered to put eight common chilling methods to the test.

How did we find the best chilling method?

At Which? we don’t believe in doing things by halves.

While there’s much less at stake trying to bring a drink to temperature than there is when you’re buying your next big appliance, we still make sure that even our more light-hearted tests are as accurate, repeatable and robust as you’d come to expect.

We used bottled beer for our test, but would imagine that similar results are achievable with other bottled drinks.

Chilling technique Start temperature (°C) End temperature (°C) Temperature change (°C)
Control: Temperature of a bottle of beer just left on the side throughout the experiment. 20.5 21 0.5
8. Three minutes under a cold tap, twisting the bottle. 20.5 18 -2.5
7. Bucket of cold tap water. 20.5 18 -2.5
6. Bowl of cold water, covered over with a wet flannel, leave in a breezy location. 20.5 17.2 -3.3
5. Bottom shelf of the fridge. 20.5 16.9 -3.6
4. Cover bottle with wet tissue paper and put in the middle of a freezer. 20.5 8.9 -11.6
3. Bottle in the middle shelf of a freezer. 20.5 7.8 -12.7
2. 1kg of ice and a bucket of cold water. 20.5 3.9 -16.6
1. 1kg of ice, bucket of cold water, 100g of salt. 20.5 1.6 -18.9

*Room temperature during the experiment: 22.5°C.

** Not a drop of beer was wasted during testing.

How do you chill your own drinks?

How do you chill your beer?
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Are there any innovative chilling solutions that we missed? Do you have any tips or ‘hacks’ for keeping drinks cool throughout the summer?

I’d love to hear about your methods in the comments below – let me know!

Comments

I keep my beer nice and cold by storing it in the fridge. Isn’t this the main reason for having a fridge in the first place?

I do exactly the same as Derek.

I also keep some beer glasses in the fridge.

For a hot summer’s day a chilled glass of good Riesling with a salad lunch is also very pleasant.

I also recommend a [very short] glass of Limoncello straight out of the fridge later in the afternoon on a really hot day .

Are people still drinking Prosecco? So 2010’s!

Absolutely Derek.

Actually, chilled drinks was always the reason for having a second fridge.

I drink beer because I enjoy the flavour and chilling beer suppresses the flavour. I’m not a CAMRA member but know that they have suggested a dispense temperature of around 12°C for many years. I will go along with that.

I recognise that I’m probably in a minority and I also don’t drink lager.

I was presuming ‘beer’ in the context of this convo includes lager.

I keep a Fino or Manzanilla sherry in the fridge. A small glass is very pleasant. A large glass equally so.

I had also assumed that, in the context here, `beer’ includes lager, see:-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lager

On a warm summer’s day, even real ales will require cooling, if they are to be served at a temperature of around 12°C. Hence I think this Convo is relevant to all beers and other cooled drinks.

For times before the sun is over the yardarm, I also keep bottles of squash and tap water in my fridge.

When extra cooling is needed, I also use a trick I learnt here (from alfa if I remember correctly) where old squash bottles are part filled with tap water and then frozen in the deep freeze. These can then be cycled into the fridge, after the balance of the bottle has been filled with tap water, so that ice cold liquid water is available from the fridge.

The Which? recommended method requires you to have a substantial stock of ice – more than your fridge can produce, so extra cost – and salt, whereas keeping bottles in the fridge gives instant access to a cold drink. Forward planning.

I’m not sure I’d want to drink beer/lager at near 0C, although the quality of many products might mean killing the taste, or lack of it, is a benefit. I believe fizz also detracts from taste, which is no doubt why many seem happy to drink cheap, poor quality, chilled Prosecco, and become happier. Our local brewery produces fizzless beer where the flavour can be savoured. I wouldn’t chill that.

Alfa – I was just giving my personal preference. Beer includes ale, which is top-fermented and lager which is bottom-fermented at a lower temperature.

Good trick that Derek, 🤗

If anyone else tries it, tilt the bottle on its side in the freezer, otherwise the bottle could split when the ice expands.

According to the temperature readings given for the different chilling methods in the article, beer kept on the bottom shelf of the fridge reaches 16.9°C [too warm for CAMRA!] but the data given does not say for how long the beer is in the fridge before serving.

On a hot day, beer does not need to be reduced to arctic temperatures, just enough to give the refreshing and cooling effects without impairing the flavour. Of course, if not consumed quickly the beer will heat up in the glass and spoil.

If left in the fridge for long enough the beer/lager should reach the set fridge temperature. It wasn’t left long enough. Patience and foresight needed.

I have a drawer in the bottom of the fridge with around 12 cans of beer – usually German, Lithuanian or Polish. I also keep a frozen pint glass (with a handle) in the freezer. When I pour the beer from the fridge into the frozen pint glass, the beer has a thin film of ice on top. For me, that’s a perfect pint.

David T says:
20 June 2020

Cooled in an electric cool box to the perfect 12C for Cask beer (from local Micropub) and bottled ale.

I just keep mine in a cool cupboard. I am missing our local micropub their cask beer and interesting discussions with folks from all walks of life.

Hi Matt – The reason why your experiment with 100g salt and 1kg of ice in a bucket of cold water did not achieve significantly better cooling than with ice plus water is does not surprise me. A better approach would be to put the bottle of beer in a slightly larger container packed with ice and salt, omitting the water.