With the knowledge that everything eventually freezes, when asking, “Does whiskey freeze?” we have to consider the average refrigerators and freezers people have in their homes.
Whiskey can, in fact, freeze. But your freezer cannot get it cold enough to freeze.
The freezing point of whiskey is about -17° F (-27° C). Since your refrigerator probably sits at about 34° F (1° C), it is therefore not capable of freezing whiskey. Your freezer keeps items at a chilly 0° F (-17° C).
Some deep freeze units can go as low as -10° F (-23° C), but that’s not cold enough. An average bottle of whiskey is 80 proof. The higher the alcohol’s proof or alcohol by volume (ABV), the lower its freezing point.
To get your whiskey to freeze solid, you’d have to wait for a cold winter night, and by “cold,” we mean, like, Canada-in-the-winter cold. You’d need a consistent temperature of -17° F (-27° C). Leave your whiskey in the snow overnight on a night like that, and you’ll have a whiskey pop in the morning.
That isn’t practical, especially for those of us that live in lower parts of North America.
Effect of Freezing on Whiskey Flavor
The colder your whiskey gets, the more diluted the flavor will become. Many people who want their whiskey cold want it that way because it’s a bit easier to drink. Someone put off by the boldness of whiskey’s flavors might be better able to tolerate it when the liquid is cold.
Outside of taste, cold temperatures will also affect the physical properties of whiskey. As it gets colder, whiskey becomes more viscous, so the cooler it is, the more syrupy it will be.
This question’s answer requires some qualification. Since the freezing point of whiskey is lower than that of water, adding water to whiskey will raise the freezing point of the resulting solution.
Unless you’re dealing with mostly water and just a splash of whiskey, the freezing point will remain beyond the capabilities of your home freezer.
- Whiskey with a splash of water won’t freeze in your freezer
- A glass of half whiskey and half water won’t freeze in your freezer
- Three parts water to one part whiskey might start to get a little slushy in your freezer
Related Question: Does Vodka Freeze?
Most juices have a freezing point similar to but a degree or two lower than water. So just like with water, mixing whiskey with it won’t allow it to freeze in the average home freezer unit.
Since juice’s freezing point is lower than water’s, adding juice to whiskey will not raise the solution’s freezing point as much as water would, but it will still not elevate it enough so that your freezer won’t be able to freeze the mixture solid.
If your whiskey is unopened, it will have a nearly unlimited shelf life. Once opened, a whiskey bottle needs to be kept in a cool area. That does not mean in the refrigerator or freezer. And whiskey purists will condemn you for keeping it in the freezer.
Your liquor cabinet is probably fine, especially since it likely has a door that shuts the liquor bottles away.
A cool, dark place is ideal for whiskey storage, as light is a kind of enemy to the elixir. Room temperature will be adequate, though some whiskey experts decree that the best temperature for storage is between 55° and 60° F (12°-15° C).
Does Whiskey Go Bad?
As we’ve mentioned, an unopened bottle of whiskey should last indefinitely. However, once you’ve opened a bottle, the liquid’s shelf life falls dramatically. No longer an immortal concoction, whiskey will last between one and two years in an opened bottle.
If the bottle is less than half full, that shelf life is lower. The culprit is evaporation, and as it happens to the liquid, the flavor takes a hit. An expiring bottle of whiskey has lost some alcohol content and had its flavors knocked out of whack.
Keeping the bottle cold won’t stop that evaporation, though it will slow it. Still, attempting to freeze your whiskey won’t keep it forever young, and, as mentioned above, will dilute the flavor.
If you want cold whiskey, drop a rock or two in it. Otherwise, drink it like a grownup.