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Why Doesn’t Alcohol Freeze?

Close-up view of bottle of vodka with glasses standing on ice.
Tadeusz Wejkszo/Shutterstock.com

By now, we’re probably all aware that placing a bottle of liquor in the freezer doesn’t turn the liquid into a rock-hard ice cube. While it definitely makes for a super frosty cocktail, alcohol doesn’t freeze.

Or does it? Turns out, alcohol does freeze—it just needs a lower temperature than our traditional freezers can provide.

The main components that make up your favorite spirits are ethanol and water. And the freezing point of 100% pure ethanol is shockingly lower than you may expect, going deep below zero. And by deep, we mean -173 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Depending on the amount of ethanol in your liquor, it needs a certain freezing point to fully freeze. Most alcohols are around the 40% range (80 proof), so those need around -16 degrees Fahrenheit to fully affect it.

And the average temperature of a standard freezer is 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, while placing alcohol in your standard freezer may freeze it somewhat, it won’t completely freeze into a solid form.

You could place your vodka in the freezer to keep it chilled or simply add ice to your signature vodka cocktail recipe for a frosty, delicious drink.

Lindsay Ray Lindsay Ray
Lindsay is a lifestyle and beauty writer currently living in Arizona. She has several years of experience as a freelance writer and reporter, with a specialized interest in the beauty and lifestyle space. From beauty hacks to DIY home décor and everything in between -- Lindsay has a passion for crafting stories that entertain, educate, and inspire. Her writing has appeared in Thought Catalog, The List, Drink Me Magazine, the Auburn Examiner, and Litro Magazine in the United Kingdom. Read Full Bio »
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