The Ideal Temperature Range For Your Home Bar's Freezer

Your home bar is stocked with Amari and a clear-ice mold. You've got your Hawthrone strainer. You know when to shake and when to stir. But, at what temperature should your home bar freezer be to best serve your carefully curated setup? Versed cocktail fans know that temperature is one of the key ingredients to achieving a successful drink. After all, ice size, shape, and clarity can make or break a cocktail. 

In the same way, bar freezer temperature is super important for keeping batched cocktails in good condition, as it directly affects texture. Batching keeps cocktails on standby for quick pouring and effortless entertaining. When girls' night rolls around, you're ready with an abundant spigot of Mezcal Margaritas. Every Friday night hockey game, those batched Palomas are waiting in your freezer. According to Adam Teeter, co-founder of VinePair, any full-proof spirit (40% ABV or higher) can be kept in the freezer without freezing through. 

But, that said, it's a good idea to avoid storing your top-shelf whiskey or ultra-delicate Hendrick's Neptuna gin in the freezer, as it can muddle those nuanced flavor notes that drew you to splurge on the bottle in the first place. On the flip side, a freezer residency can actually benefit most vodkas by bulking up the viscosity and killing that "paint-thinner" quality for a sip that goes down a little easier. But, nothing is benefitting from a stay in the freezer unless your home bar freezer is rockin' the right temperature.

How low can you go?

Buckle in, we're taking a walk on the science side. According to Brooklyn-based bar director William Elliott via Punch, the ideal temperature range for a home bar is between 10 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Most home freezers sit between -9 and 0 degrees Fahrenheit, which is cold enough to chill full-proof spirits, but that's slightly too cold to safely store a lower ABV liqueur. As a rule, it's never a good idea to put any alcohol in the freezer that's liable to explode. 

The freezing point of pure ethanol alcohol is -173 degrees Fahrenheit, so we feel pretty confident saying those spirits will be safe in your home bar freezer. But, if you want to keep your batched cocktails and assorted spirits bottles as cold as possible without detonating, the 10 to 14 degrees zone is the sweet spot. Nobody wants to clean a vermouth eruption out of their freezer. To that effect, spirit-forward cocktails hold up best in the freezer for batching, and there's a scientific reason why. 

The high ABV prevents the drink from solidly freezing through into a booze block. In other words, the alcohol keeps it slushy. Think Negroni, Manhattans, and Sazeracs. For your next dinner party or movie night, whip up a batch of elevated frozen jungle juice, aka French 75 punch. If your freezer doesn't have a built-in thermometer, you can pop a classic handheld outdoor thermometer in there and get a reading that way.