For The Best Cocktail Experience, Give Your Glass A Chill

Have you ever ordered an expensive cocktail from a bar or restaurant only to be underwhelmed by the drinking experience? The nice thing about mixing your cocktails at home is how much control you have in making sure your drink is exactly how you want it; the bad thing is there are many ways you could ruin a cocktail, even when you think you're doing everything right. You may not be fussed about things like not having the perfect glassware or being unable to create a superfluous smokey effect, but something as small as temperature control can make or break a good cocktail. That goes for the glass as much as it does for the drink.

A chilled glass is perfect for slowing heat transfer into your cocktail. If you're drinking something containing ice, it's a race against time to enjoy your drink at maximum flavor before it gets diluted. If you're drinking your cocktail neat and it was merely chilled with ice while mixing, it will warm up quickly as it sits in a room-temperature glass, which can negatively impact its flavor. Chilled glassware is one of the simplest antidotes to these problems, and the easiest way to achieve this is by putting your glass in the fridge or freezer (depending on how frosty you want it) at least 30 minutes — but preferably an hour or more — beforehand and taking it out when you're ready to pour your drink.

Other ways to ensure perfectly chilled drinks

While the trick of chilling your glassware is simple, everyone makes mistakes, and you're bound to forget to prechill your glassware before one of your cocktail parties. Thankfully, some workarounds can save you in a pinch. If you want to chill room-temperature glasses rapidly, you can use a common bartender trick — simply fill the glass with ice water and let it sit off to the side while you construct your drinks. Similarly, if you have a small portable cooler, you can fill it with water and ice to place your glasses top-down for rapid chilling. These methods are less effective for achieving frosty-looking glasses, but they work in emergencies for getting your glasses to the perfect temperature.

Another thing you can do to ensure a perfectly cold cocktail is store your often-used spirits in the freezer. You don't have to worry about reaching in for one of your mixing spirits only to pull out a bottle that's frozen solid since spirits at least 80 proof (or 40% ABV) will retain their liquid form in household freezers. Of course, there are plenty of alcohols you should never put in the freezer, but the low-to-mid-tier variety of spirits like vodka, gin, and rum will be just fine. When your ingredients are already tempered in this way, it gives you one more natural buffer against warming that can occur if your glasses aren't chilled.