Given a cold enough location, vodka can freeze. However, your freezer isn’t cold enough to do it. With an alcoholic beverage like vodka, you’d need a freezer that could keep the bottle at temperatures well below freezing.
Does vodka freeze? Yes. Can you do it at your house? No. Not without liquid nitrogen or something similarly impractical.
Liquors with a rating of 80 proof have a freezing point of -17° F (-27° C). Some vodkas with higher proof (there exist some 100-proof vodkas on the market) will have even lower freezing points.
A liquor’s proof is a measurement of the alcoholic content of a given beverage, so the higher the proof, the more alcohol the drink contains. With higher concentrations of alcohol, that liquid’s freezing point drops lower and lower.
As such, beer and wine, which don’t contain nearly as much alcohol as vodka, have higher freezing points. Most of us have left a can of beer in the freezer for too long. For our troubles, we either got a beer slushie or a landscape of frozen beer decorating the inside of the freezer alongside a burst bottle.
Most home freezers hold items at a temperature of about 0° F (-17° C), which is significantly warmer than the -17° F required to freeze vodka.
Since we’ve established that few of us have the equipment or ability to freeze vodka solid, we’ll discuss the effect of cold on the vodka’s flavor.
When you cool down vodka— or any liquor— you dilute the flavors a bit. These flavors don’t stay permanently suppressed, but an ice-cold glass of vodka will taste smoother than a room-temperature one.
That brings up something of a bone of contention among vodka lovers, and there’s no correct answer to this subjective debate:
- Some argue that cold vodka allows the drinker to get a good feel for its syrupy nature.
- Others say that unless the vodka gets stored at room temperature, vodka’s more subtle flavor notes are lost.
- Some vodka-in-the-freezer advocates just want a more pleasant drinking experience, and the cold takes some of the bite out of a shot of liquor.
- Experts say extended exposure to vodka will permanently alter its flavor profile.
A quick internet search reveals websites that say everything from “never, ever put vodka in the refrigerator” to “you should only drink vodka chilled to a syrupy consistency,” with others taking all sorts of positions between those two.
We know for a fact that vodka tastes get subdued by cold. Whether that’s something you want for yourself is up to you.
If you add enough water to your vodka, then, yes, the solution can freeze in your normal freezer. However, we’d have to be talking about more water than vodka in the given container.
Adding water to vodka will raise the freezing point of the entire mixture, but not sufficient to allow it to freeze in a home freezer unit. Of course, the more water you add, the more you raise the freezing point, but again, you’d have to end up with a mixture of more water than vodka to get it to freeze.
At that point, it’s not really vodka that you’re freezing, but rather some water with a little bit of vodka in it.
Related Question: Does Whiskey Freeze?
The same goes for juice, although you will have a harder time freezing vodka with juice. Most juices have lower freezing points than water’s 32° F (0° C). So adding juice to vodka will raise the liquid’s freezing point, but not as much as adding water will.
Freezing vodka with juice presents the same issue as trying to do so with water— only in the case of juice, you’d have to add even more juice than water to get the mixture to freeze.
So for practical purposes, vodka does not freeze mixed with juice.
An unopened bottle of vodka should last a century. Opened, you’ll have to store it correctly to ensure it lasts as long as possible (which can be up to 20 years).
Storing vodka properly entails, as with any 80-proof liquor, keeping it away from light and heat. Ideally, store your vodka between 55° and 60° F (12°-15° C). Room temperature works, though if you’re planning on making the bottle last an entire generation, you’ll want to strive for that 55°-60° mark.
At the cooler temperature, you’ll have less oxidation, as heat accelerates the process. That’s why foods last longer when we refrigerate them.
We mentioned a bottle lasting 100 years if it’s unopened. What happens on January 1 of that 101st year? Nothing drastic. Vodka doesn’t have an expiration date neither does it go bad.
However, oxidation and evaporation will change the flavor and the alcohol content. As oxidation occurs, the alcohol molecules break down into other compounds, so the older a bottle of liquor is, the less alcohol it will contain.
Since no vodka bottle is perfectly sealed, even unopened bottles will have their contents continually exposed to oxygen, allowing oxidation to occur.
You won’t get sick from drinking too-old vodka, but you might not like the taste of a bottle that’s sat for too long. You can extend the life of your vodka— unopened or not— by storing it in a cool, dark place.