Dry ice is made of compressed carbon dioxide gas, which is generally used to keep food cold, fresh and preserved. However, dry ice also makes for great party effects such as fog or smoky-looking drinks. Using dry ice in drinks is especially fun to use for Halloween-themed parties. When using dry ice around food such as punches, it is important to use only food-grade dry ice.
Things You'll Need
Newspaper or insulated storage wrapping
Purchase food-grade dry ice right before the party or event during which you are planning to use it. Dry ice breaks down quickly and will not keep for more than eight full hours, even when stored in the refrigerator. Wrap the dry ice with several layers of newspaper or keep it in the store wrapping to better preserve it. Only buy as much dry ice as you need because extra dry ice will not keep. Buy about two to four lbs of dry ice per one to two gallons of drink.
Make the drink to which you plan to add the dry ice. Use warm ingredients to make the drink and do not add regular ice or store the drink in a cool place. Dry ice will cool the drink very quickly and will smoke better when put in warm rather than cool liquids.
Do not add dry ice to the drink ahead of time. Instead, wait until the majority of your guests have arrived. Dry ice in drinks has a short initial effect so if you want to make the biggest impression, add the ice when everyone can view it.
Break up the dry ice into small chunks, if necessary, right before adding the dry ice to the drinks. Breaking up the dry ice beforehand will degrade the dry ice more quickly.
Add small chunks of ice to the bowl holding the drink. The ice will stop smoking once the drink around the ice chunks has frozen. Using one bigger chunk in the middle of the liquid will smoke only for a short time; the drink around it will freeze more quickly because the ice is so cold.
Ladle out the drink while it's smoking. Be careful to avoid giving anyone a large chunk of dry ice in the cup.
Swallowing large chunks of dry ice can cause health issues. Never handle dry ice with bare hands; doing so will result in freezer burns and frostbite. Use insulated gloves to handle ice. Do not store any dry ice in an airtight container as it will cause the container to expand and break or explode.