A bottle of bubbly represents the perfect way to celebrate a special moment in your life but how do you know it has the right temperature, and can you freeze champagne?
We all have busy lives so waiting for your favorite bottle of champagne to get cold shouldn’t be on your to-do list. Therefore, the most convenient way to enjoy a glass of the delicious liquor is to put the bottle in the freezer just for a couple of minutes. Unfortunately, those few minutes usually turn into hours as you’ll most likely forget all about it.
If you’re lucky enough to only forget about it for a couple of hours, you can still remove the bottle from the freezer easily, without worrying about it breaking there. But what do you do with the content? Can you still open the bottle? Let’s take a closer look at this celebration beverage and see how to properly store it, cool it, and enjoy it.
Can you freeze champagne?
If you haven’t tried this on your own, you’ll have to trust our word – yes, champagne can freeze, just like any other type of wine. However, contrary to popular belief, putting a bottle of wine in the freezer is not the best or the fastest way to drop its temperature and make it more enjoyable.
It is important to note that champagne’s freezing point is slightly lower than water, which means your bottle of bubbles will start freezing once it reaches temperatures between 16 and 23 degrees Fahrenheit. And, since most freezers easily get to temperatures of -9 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s easy to say that you shouldn’t keep your champagne inside the freezer for more than a few minutes.
What happens when a champagne bottle is frozen?
Assuming you forgot all about the bottle you put in the freezer, whatever you do, don’t open it up right away. As with all other liquids, once it is frozen, champagne will expand, which means it becomes a ticking bomb for a bottle that no longer fits its volume. Therefore, opening it right away can turn into a full explosion of bubbles, and you risk getting hurt in the process.
Another thing that can happen to your frozen bottle of champagne is that the cork will be pushed out. This also happens because the volume of the champagne expands once it solidifies, so you should be very careful about the extra pressure the bottle holds.
If the bottle looks intact, you can still enjoy it but only after you keep it at the room temperature for at least a couple of hours, to gradually reach its fluid state again.
Will the champagne’s properties be changed?
Drastically changing the temperature of the champagne will ultimately alter its chemical composition, which means you will notice a different taste if you de-freeze it and open the bottle. Unfortunately, no matter how expensive your choice of champagne is, chances are that the freezing process will destroy almost all its beautiful flavors and aromas.
The fruity aftertaste and characteristics will disappear, completely changing the taste of the beverage, and make it “duller”. Besides, you will also notice a large reduction in the carbonation or, in other words, the beverage will be less fizzy.
Is frozen champagne still good to drink?
Assuming you left your bottle of champagne in the freezer for too long, you don’t have to get rid of it immediately. Yes, you won’t experience the same texture, flavors, taste, and level of fizziness, but this doesn’t mean you’ll get to throw away a few hundred dollars.
Frozen champagne doesn’t go bad and won’t make you sick either. It is still good to drink but you won’t get to fully experience its potential. However, there is a glimmer of hope as not everything is lost. Instead of drinking it as it is, you can use it as a base for other delicious cocktails.
Sangria is a very popular drink made with red wine, sparkling water, fresh fruits, fruit juice, and a pinch of brandy, rum, or moonshine. In a way, sangria is an elevated punch, which means you can bring your contribution to the recipe, according to your tastes.
If you don’t want to drink the frozen champagne as it is, you can incorporate it in your sangria recipe and mix it with sparkling water and some red fizzy wine. And, if you’re a big fan of Mimosas or Bellinis, all you have to do is mix the alcoholic beverage with orange juice or peach puree and enjoy the perfect brunch drink.
Why other alcoholic beverages won’t freeze if you put them in the freezer
Vodka is one of the most popular choices of spirits, and you’ll often see it chilling in the freezer, ready to be consumed as it is, without adding extra ice cubes. But why doesn’t vodka freeze?
The answer has to do with the alcohol content or alcohol by volume (abv). There are two types of alcohol available, but what you’ll find in spirits is ethyl alcohol or ethanol. 100% pure ethyl alcohol freezes at a whopping temperature of -173.2 degrees Fahrenheit (-114 Celsius). At the same time, 100% pure water freezes at a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 Celsius).
Generally speaking, most spirits contain 40% alcohol by volume, which means that their freezing point is around -16.6 degrees Fahrenheit (-27 Celsius). Therefore, it is possible to freeze vodka, but not in your regular cooler or freezer.
As we previously mentioned, most home freezers are set to run at temperatures between -0.4 degrees Fahrenheit and -9.4 F, so you won’t be doing vodka popsicles any time soon.
On the other hand, the alcohol you’ll find in wine (and, by extension, champagne), is less than half of what is found in most spirits, which means that your average bottle of bubbly comes in at around 12%-14% abv.
Therefore, the freezing point of champagne is much higher, which means wine and champagne will easily freeze if kept in the freezer for long. The same goes for beer which has an even lower alcohol concentration, of around 4%-7%.
What’s the best way to cool down champagne?
Believe it or not, putting your alcoholic beverage inside the freezer is not the fastest and best way to bring it down to the perfect serving temperature. Given that we are talking about an expensive drink, you should take into consideration several factors, if you want to maintain champagne’s taste, scent, flavor, and carbonation.
Similar to most white and rose wines, champagnes should be served at a temperature up to 10 degrees smaller than the average room temperature. If you want to make the most of your money or if you’re a wine enthusiast, consider investing in a wine cooler.
These small and portable devices resemble mini-fridges and are specifically designed to store wine and champagne at optimum temperatures. Unlike regular fridges that are set on temperatures of around 40-46 degrees Fahrenheit, the perfect temperature for storing white and rose wine is around 55 degrees, and this also goes for vintage champagne.
A wine cooler also uses a more silent motor and different technologies that reduce or eliminate vibrations, allowing natural sediments to deposit on the bottom of the bottle, and, therefore, make the most of your wine.
If you don’t want to invest in such a device, the best way to cool down your champagne is to submerge it in ice with salt. So, you probably wonder what’s the difference between putting the champagne in the freezer and submerging it in ice. And, what’s the deal with salt? By adding salt on ice, you will bring the temperature lower than -4 degrees F, which is colder than a regular freezer.
This is also the main form of presentation for champagne wherever you go out, be it restaurants or fancy clubs. Therefore, keeping the bottle of champagne in a bucket full of ice and salt will maintain the spirits’ perfect serving temperature for longer, so you can enjoy all its flavors and subtleties.
How long until you reach the perfect serving temperature?
Assuming you’re trying to chill champagne that was previously kept at room temperature, 15-20 minutes into an ice bucket should suffice to bring it to the perfect serving temperature. Remember that you’re trying to avoid freezing the bottle content, so we don’t advise you to keep it for more than 30 minutes.
Champagne won’t freeze in such a short amount of time but it might be too cold to serve and enjoy its nuances or flavor. Unfortunately, most Americans prefer drinking their white wines and sparkling wines at extremely low temperatures, denying themselves the authentic experience of tasting the subtle fruit notes.
To sum up, freezing your champagne is not the best option to serve it cold as you’ll probably forget all about it and end up with a frozen bottle. In the long term, consider investing in a wine cooler or, if you lack the funds, place the champagne in a bucket of ice with salt.