If you’re one for keeping your alcohol in the fridge, then it’s possible that you store your vodka in the freezer compartment. Every so often, to save space, you might place a bottle of vodka in the freezer and forget about it. This is a common practice in many households which has led to the rumor that “vodka simply cannot freeze.”
But is this true? Does that argument hold any water? Well, here’s the lowdown.
The answer is both YES and NO
How so you ask?
The simple reason why vodka is placed in the freezer by many is that it simply cannot freeze at normal temperatures, not in an ordinary commercial freezer anyway. The liquid will only thicken and make for a chilling, slushy-type drink but it won’t turn into complete ice. But that doesn’t mean it won’t freeze at all.
Vodka indeed freezes, however, your regular fridge may not be able to provide low enough temperatures to solidify the liquid. Sometimes though, when the bottle is placed in close proximity to the cooling element then you might notice the formation of some solid chunks after a while.
Now that that’s out of the way, obviously the next question needing answering ought to be what is the freezing point of vodka?
While there’s no simple answer to that because the exact freezing point varies from brand to brand depending on purity levels, here’s a rough overview.
The Freezing Point
The general freezing point of vodka is -114 degrees Celsius or -173 degrees Fahrenheit. That is the temperature required to turn pure ethanol (which is essentially what vodka is made of) into stone. But your ordinary bottle of vodka will never even reach half of that concentration. Typically, ethanol constitutes about 40 % of most vodka, commonly known as “80 proof,” on the market.
The rest of that percentage is occupied by water which we all know freezea at zero degrees Celcius or -32 degrees Fahrenheit. The pairing of both liquids in the aforementioned ratio, however, yields a mixture that freezes anywhere between -22 and -30 degrees Celsius or -7 and -22 degrees Fahrenheit depending, as mentioned, on the vodka variety.
The Science Behind It
The reason why the freezing point of vodka averages about -26 degrees Celsius or -15 degrees Fahrenheit can be narrowed down to one scientific concept known as the freezing point depression.
It simply states that when a foreign compound or liquid is introduced to a solvent whose freezing point is known, then the freezing point of one those compounds lowers (i.e. water in this case), while the other one gets higher i.e. ethanol. Depending on each party’s weight percentage in the mixture, the freezing point will tend to be closer to that of the majority.
Sometimes though, when there are significant levels of impurities, the freezing point of vodka can drop to as low as -17 degrees Celsius or 1 degree Fahrenheit in line with the phenomenon above.
How To Freeze Vodka
Vodka has a great shelf life but if for some reason you want to freeze it, then you could place a sealed bottle in an encasement of dry ice or in a bucket mixture of ice and salt. Your ordinary fridge though, might not be the right man for the job.