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The Fastest Way to Chill a Bottle of Wine (for Celebratory Emergencies!)

June 13, 2014

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we’re sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: How to chill a bottle of wine so quickly, your guests won’t even notice their glasses are empty.

How to Chill Wine
How to Chill Wine

You can prepare all you want for a party — make lists, buy bags of ice, chill your wine, make everything in advance — and still find yourself, a little after 10 PM, with a room full of thirsty people and a fridge that’s been raided of all its chilly Grüner or Prosecco. Here is how you fix that problem:

To chill a bottle of wine in a jiffy, you just need an ice bucket — or a less classy but equally large receptacle — plus some ice, water, and lots of salt.

How to Chill Ice Quickly on Food52
How to Chill Ice Quickly on Food52

First, toss your ice with a handful or two of salt, and distribute it evenly. Place your bottle in whatever vessel you’re using, then dump the ice over it. (If you’ve been drinking, you will spill some ice. Accept this.) Pouring ice over a bottle is much easier than trying to shove a wide bottle butt into a bucket of ice.

Then fill your bucket with cold water, as high as the neck of the bottle, so that it is surrounded by a mixture of salty, ice-filled water. 

How to Chill Ice Quickly
How to Chill Ice Quickly

Why does this work? In order for your wine to cool, heat (energy) needs to move out of the bottle and into its surroundings — which is why you surround it with cold things. Liquid transfers heat more quickly than the pockets of air that sit between ice cubes, which is why water is key here. The salt helps to lower the freezing point of your ice-water mixture — in the same way that you salt your driveway in winter. This way, there’s more ice melting in the mixture; melting requires energy, and the closest place to find that energy is your bottle. Energy leaving your wine more quickly means chilled wine, tout de suite.

Your wine will be cool in roughly 10 minutes. In the meantime, distract your guests with charades.

How to Chill Ice Faster
How to Chill Ice Faster

Once your Prosecco is chilled, turn it into this amaro-based cocktail:

Safe Passage

Serves 1 

ounce Amaro Nardini
1/4 ounce Aperol
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 ounce brine from Castelvetrano olives
2 1/2 ounces Prosecco, or other sparkling wine
Castelvetrano olives, for garnish

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the Amaro Nardini, Aperol, lemon juice, and olive brine. Add ice, and shake vigorously for five seconds. Strain into a coupe or flute; then add the prosecco. Garnish with two olives.

Save and print the recipe on Food52

Photos by James Ransom

This article originally appeared on Food52.com: How to Chill a Bottle of Wine Faster