Should you keep your gin in the freezer?

Should you keep your gin in the freezer?

As soon as a bottle of spirits is opened, the content reacts with oxygen. The oxidation process doesn’t so much affect the alcohol content, but rather the taste. Warm temperatures can accelerate this process, i.e. the contents of the bottle react more quickly with oxygen at a higher temperature. So you might think that storing gin in a cool place is good idea.

The reality, however, is that what we are discussing is more of a theoretical problem; it takes months or even years until an opened bottle of spirits will change its taste. That being said, storing gin in the freezer is much more detrimental to the enjoyment of the product. High-quality gin is a complex, flavour-balanced spirit with fine aromatic nuances that can no longer be detected if it is served too cold.

Temperature vs. taste

In general, the overall impression of food results from information that is delivered to the brain via receptors on the tongue as well as our sense of smell. Our tongues are able to recognise at least five different flavour qualities (bitter, sweet, sour, salty, umami) that are perceived differently at different temperatures. Bitter substances, for example, are more readily perceived at cooler temperatures, while acidity influences flavour perception more at warmer temperatures. Temperature also influences our sense of smell. The warmer a liquid is, the more volatile the ingredients are thus the more strongly we perceive its smell. The same applies, of course, to pure alcohol itself. For good spirits such as high-quality gin, we recommend storing the bottles upright and tightly screwed closed at room temperature. This not only preserves the aromatic subtleties of the drink, but it also counteracts evaporation processes and flavour changes. On a personal note, we find the best way to prevent these problems is quick consumption ;)

At what temperature do different spirits freeze?

Another problem with storing spirits in the freezer is the danger of the bottles freezing and bursting. If and when a drink containing alcohol freezes is determined by the ratio of water to ethanol it contains. Your average freezer cools down to about -18 degrees Celsius. Pure ethanol has a freezing point of -114 degrees Celsius. But spirits are water-ethanol mixtures, and we all know that water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius. The freezing point of spirits is therefore determined by the ratio of the two: The higher the ethanol content, the lower the freezing point of the liquid. The higher the proportion of water in the drink, the higher the freezing point. This ratio is expressed as a percentage by volume and can serve as an orientation for the respective freezing point. Pretty easy.

Freezing Point
of the mixture
Alcohol in g on 100g Water
of the spirit
– 0,5° 1,32 1,6
– 1,0 2,65 3,2
– 1,5 3,97 4,8
– 2,0 5,50 6,3
– 2,5 6,62 7,8
– 3,0 7,95 9,2
– 3,5 9,27 10,6
– 4,0 10,60 11,8
– 4,5 11,90 13,1
– 5,0 13,00 14,2
– 6,0 15,30 16,4
– 7,0 17,80 18,7
– 8,0 19,80 20,4
– 9° 21,9 21,9
– 10 23,6 23,3
– 12 27,6 26,4
– 14 31,3 29,1
– 16 35,1 31,3
– 18 39,0 33,8
– 20 42,8 36,1
– 22 46,6 38,3
– 24 50,6 40,0
– 26 54,8 41,6
– 28 59,2 43,7
– 30 64,6 46,2
– 32 70,0 47,9.

After F. M. Raoult (Comptes rendus, 1880 Bd. 90 S. 865)

So, what happens when you but a bottle of spirits in the freezer? Well, the water in the mixture expands during the freezing process, taking up more and more space and potentially causing the bottle to burst. But don’t worry: our Siegfried has a freezing point of -25 degrees Celsius, so there really shouldn’t be any risk of having to gather up the shards of a burst gin dream. But caution is advised when it comes to other, industrial gins: many have an alcohol content of only 37.5% vol. (= legal minimum) and are therefore much more likely to cause a freezer Armageddon.

It all comes down to this: at what temperature you store your spirits is really up to personal preference. When it comes to gin, our motto is: as you like it ;)