How To Chill Drinks Fast (& Keep Them Cold) This Weekend

updated May 20, 2019
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With Memorial Day on the horizon, you may have plans to dust off the cooler and pick up a few bags of ice. There are cookouts and pool parties and beach days to be had — all of which require icy-cold drinks. However, if you forgot to toss the beer in the fridge the night before and don’t have time to grab that bag of ice, you’re not out of luck. There are plenty of ways to chill drinks quickly — and keep them cold — all of which are especially useful to know as we settle into summer. Here are our favorite hacks.

1. Reach for paper towels.

If you’re trying to cool down bottles of soda, seltzer, beer, or wine, wrap them individually in damp paper towels and place them in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the bottle. The moisture in the paper towel will quickly evaporate and freeze to cool the liquid in the bottle faster than the air in the freezer.

Credit: Kelli Foster

2. Freeze a bunch of grapes.

While we personally have no qualms against dropping a few ice cubes into a glass of wine that’s not cold enough on a hot day, it does dilute it. If your wine is too nice to be a little watered-down, reach for frozen grapes. Really any frozen fruit will do, but grapes are a favorite because their size is just right, and they have a layer of skin around them that keeps their flavor sealed instead of leaching into the wine.

3. Just add salt.

You can boost the power of your ice-filled cooler with salt. Any salt will do — although we wouldn’t waste fancy finishing salt on this. Add a few generous handfuls to the ice and stir to combine. The salt helps lower the freezing point of the ice, which melts it a little and helps mold it to the bottles better, chilling everything faster.

4. Keep things cold with water bottles.

Once you’ve got your drinks cold, keep them that way with water bottles. Frozen water bottles can be used in place of bagged ice in a cooler to keep things cold without the melty mess. Plus, once the water bottles start to thaw, you’ll have a feel extra chilled drinks on hand.