Does Brandy Freeze?


Like other alcoholic beverages, brandy freezes. However, it only does so at a much colder temperature than most home freezers can attain. It won't freeze above minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit. To freeze brandy at home, you need a way to bring the liquor down below this temperature. Unless you intend to freeze straight brandy frequently enough to justify the cost of specialized equipment, the best move is to freeze your entire cocktail.

Brandy 101

  • Brandy is a distilled spirit made from any fermented fruit, grape juice, mashed grapes or wine. The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau maintains brandy must contain at least 40 percent alcohol by volume, or 80 proof. You can drink brandy mixed into cocktails or unaccompanied at room temperature. Blended iced brandy cocktails and brandy ice cubes are staples of some commercial bar menus.

Brandy Chemistry

  • The higher the ABV, the lower the freezing point. This means that brandy, unlike water, does not freeze at 32 F. Substances freeze when their molecules become "stuck" or suspended in a solid matrix. Water's two molecules, hydrogen and oxygen, are readily attracted to each other, and they begin sticking together when temperatures drop. Alcohol molecules are like water but have the additional compound carbon that bonds to oxygen. These molecules are not as attracted to one another and require longer, colder temperatures before they begin to stick.

Forms of Brandy

  • Fruit brandies are distinguished by how they're made, primarily by distilling the fermented juice of any fruit other than grapes. These are not fruit liqueurs, which are typically artificial fruit flavors added to a grape brandy. French fruit brandy is called eau-de-vie; framboise, made from raspberries, is one variation. Other fruit brandies abound throughout Europe, including Hungarian palinka, often made from plums. Then there is Cognac, a grape brandy originating from France. All Cognacs are grape brandies, but not all brandies are Cognacs.

Advice for Freezing Brandy

  • Aside from purchasing a special liquor freezer or setting a bottle of brandy in the snow during the middle of a supercold winter, there's little you can do at home to freeze pure brandy. However, if you intend to use brandy in cocktails, especially those with fruit juices, mix and then freeze the whole cocktail batch in a freezer bag. The dilution raises the overall freezing temperature needed for the concoction, and you'll have a slushy brandy-based cocktail within hours.

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